Yes, you read that right.
No, it is NOT what you are thinking!
This goes back to 2014.
I had been working with AIESEC, the world’s largest student run organisation for almost a year then, sending several students to countries abroad-unheard of, unexplored of. Before my final year began, I decided to go on one myself. Yes, with such great conviction I would sell these internships of creating a social impact abroad when I had never gone for one! So my prospects conversion rate would not be high as in the last minute when they would ask me,”Have you ever gone for it?”, I would politely say,”No” but with great pride in my eyes I would talk of stories that my friends had experienced during their internships.
That is when I decided to go for one,unaware of the herculean task to convince my parents to send their beloved daughter to a country unknown, where we have no far-off or distant relatives(No, not even my aunt’s son-in-law’s daughter’s only child), a language that I have never mastered nor even with an understanding of their culture. The first time they heard Russia, my mom said there are Mafia’s there and we do not know anyone from the Armed forces there who can protect you (Yes, the D background parents are way more overprotective than the others!). Somehow after some arguments,exchange of letters(yeah, we did not want to talk to each other because it went upto that EXTENT),emotional scenes, I managed to convince them to let me live the experience of a lifetime.
And Russia was nowhere close to my list. I was focusing on Europe- a complete backpacking trip. but because I did not want my parents to change their mind, I decided to go wherever I got my first match. And Russia it was, a project called FLY-Finance Literacy for Youth. And I grabbed it. The process of getting my Invitation letter and Visa is another story in itself. I’m just glad it all worked out EXACTLY the way I wanted to otherwise I would have done some Bharat darshan trip with ze famjam!
^The Project managers, and I just thought to myself that it couldn’t get any better!
The family’s first one to go International. That too, ALONE! *wootwoot*
So coming back to the men in my room.
I had a long flight and I was fortunate that my trainee buddy was there to pick me up and help me get to my hostel where I stayed in for a month. So Moscow is quite a crazy city with a spider web kind of a train route, it is quite well connected to all its sub-cities. oh their metro systems! The architecture, the surroundings, the busy lush life, the people, the hygiene. Oh wait! Their escalators can be almost 2km long!! There are different floors to get through different lines. Like how Mumbai has Western, Central and Harbor lines, that city has EIGHT lines which are all connected at the same place!! So yeah, it was almost a 2-3 hour journey on my way back. And as it was my first time, I obviously did not know how to travel light. With 3 ENORMOUS bags, we changed stations, walked, ran,fell, got yelled at, got help and finally reached my hostel. I informed my lifelines about my arrival and crashed.
The best trainee Buddy one can ever find, presenting to you all Olgaaaaa!
Without lunch and dinner, I woke up the next day surrounded by 3 men in my huge room with bunk beds.
Yes, they were almost half naked as I could see their skin while they were asleep.
Me slyly trying to show my friends back home to what I was going through.
But IMAGINE. Coming to a completely new country, crashing because no energy left and waking up to see them! Like a typical Indian girl, I checked my sheets to make sure all was cool (YES,I WAS SCARED,OK?). And it was,indeed!
Later on, I got to know it is a co-ed hostel which was my first culture shock as hey, we know how it is back home so don’t raise your eyebrows when you read this on your screen.
So yeah, This is just one of the many CRAZYMAD things that happened to me.
Stay tuned for more!