First Days in Russia

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We are in Belgorod.  We arrived in a light snow but Sunday and today, Monday, the weather was partly sunny and temperatures in the 40s.  The few inches of snow on the ground are slowly melting.

The first two days have been devoted to orientation.  I have a “Keeper” who speaks decent English and who has toured the city and university with us.  Together with a law professor, we have met the dean, some faculty, the administration.

I write this blog entry from a Cafe one block from the faculty dormitory in which Laura, my son Matthew and I share two rooms; one shower, one bath, five beds, a small kitchenette.  We eat our meals outside except for breakfast, for which we have purchased eggs, cereal and, while we are at it, a couple of pots (of which there were none).

The people are very attentive and things have been going well on all important fronts.  I start to teach tomorrow: about 100 students who are required to attend my classes.  I am teaching, as I had blogged earlier, elements of US business law and I am now told that my 8 lectures must cover 14 sessions of 105 minutes.  I think I will have to improvise.

But that should not be hard.

For example, I have a lecture on real estate and mortgages.  And foreclosures.  But I now learn that in Russia there is no mortgage industry.  If someone wants to buy a house, they must save up all the money first.  So before I launch into the issues of mortgages, I am going to go back to square one and explain what the hell a mortgage is!  Wow.

I will report after a few classes, when I suspect that the information I will have to impart will be more substantive and less personal.  But this is a fascinating place and experience and I look forward to more reports when the bureaucracy finally figures out how to get me directly on line so I do not have to sit here in a cafe getting half drunk in order  to be able to post a blog.

Plus, I have no idea what I ordered for dinner….

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