Thursday, October 18, 2012

Tver, and my fatal flaw

Anyone who knows me knows that I have, in fact, managed to get lost going in a straight line. Maps are my lifeline and I use landmarks to advantage.

My host family - a woman and her uncle who share a home - live in this area of a jumble of apartment buildings off anything you'd call an actual road.

When I arrived in Tver, the director of my program met me at the train station and drove my to my host family. I remembered a gate I had to lift my suitcase over and the front door wasn't far from there. I didn't remember anything else about the building, the "street" or the route. Knowing my weakness, I asked the uncle, my first night, to point out on the map where we were. He put a dot in a part of this (on the map) random open area without any streets. I didn't think to ask for the address.

The next morning, my host mother walked me to the building where I had my classes. She was running late and rushed. We also took a shortcut through the random building-filled area rather than walk along the street. I didn't think to pay attention to where we were until about 2 minutes into our walk. Doesn't sound like much does it? Well ...

On the way home everything went just fine at first. I made my way without hitch to a location that was about 2 minutes' walk from the apartment. Then everything went to hell. I kept trying to find a building that had a gate like I remembered. Then I went to the closest approximation to the spot my host uncle drew on the map and didn't see anything familiar. The short story is I was lost for about 30 minutes, then I called the director of the program and she told me the address and gave me some directions that were useless because it had a different starting point from where I thought she was talking about. I spent another 50 minutes being lost and towards the end really fighting off the strong desire to start bawling like a baby. I called the director again, this time I was on a main street so I gave her my address and she picked me up. When she dropped me off I realized I had stood in front of that very building at least a dozen times while lost.

There were several downsides to this experience.
1. My mood was 100% foul
2. I lost 1.5 hours of study and review time that I really needed
3. I got massive blisters on each pinky toe, even though the boots I was wearing are ones I have travelled all around the world with and they have often been my only footwear for several days of touristing without any trouble.

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