Friday, March 19, 2010

As if in a dream

After class, I went to the visa department at the university to see if they cared that I was leaving the country.

I approached the same old dormitory reception area which I now knew led to the administrative offices. I took out my student ID and prepared to pass through the turnstile.

The man on duty shook his head and pointed to a sign: UMC (or some other combination of letters) dept, 2nd floor of dormitory. Like that was supposed to help me!

Um, and the second floor is...where? He gestured.

I walked to the end of the reception area and went through a different turnstile. Spotting an elevator, I entered and pushed “2.” I wondered how I was going to end up in an office and not someone’s living area .read more/-

I came out of the elevator. No one was in sight. I chose a direction and saw a sign which read “____ department, temporary passageway. “ Okay. I headed down a deserted, windowless corridor with a row of closed doors, and it hit me…how was I going to find my way back out? What if there were an emergency and I were trapped?

Another sign with an arrow. Okay, keep walking down the corridor. Hopefully I wouldn’t have to shrink or grow in order to make it to my destination.

The signs stopped. Now what? A door seemed to be unlocked, did I dare open it?

Woosh. The door opened in my face and I gasped. It was a fellow I had seen over at the Russian department. We both laughed and continued in our respective directions.

Okay, he must have come from where I was going. Now I was in a stairwell. I went down some stairs, but had I reached the first floor or in-between floors? I went down some more and approached a landing that looked familiar.

Yes, I had arrived, just from a different direction.

The woman in the visa department had me fill out a form stating the dates of my departure and arrival. I will have to register as soon as I return.

Then I headed back to the labyrinth. I could not find the door, the one through which that guy had materialized. There were several landings and corridors, but they were all sealed by a piece of white tape. Not a soul was around.

It had to be on the second level. I tried one more door and looked closely at the piece of tape. It had been severed…

Yes, it opened. I retraced my steps, following the arrows backward to the elevator, then down through the main entrance. Whew.


  1. I think these are my favorite posts! These adventures you have! Just love it!

  2. Hi Elizabeth. I just found your site and it is wonderful. I often feel like the only westerner in my city in Russia, trying to fit into a very strange culture.

    Best wishes with your studies and work.


Note: Comments aren't proofread, but I will delete them if they seem inappropriate.

You’re welcome to leave a link to your own blog here if it's relevant to this blog.

Please make sure that your comments are 1) relevant and 2) respectful (i.e. no cuss words, attacks on individuals).