I've been in Moscow for nearly 3 days, now. Perhaps the jet lag hasn't hit me yet, or maybe I've acclamated to criss-crossing my way across this good green earth, because I've been downright perky ever since I bounced off the airplane. I was immediately installed in my cozy new apartment. It's a 12th floor cell in the "Mezhdunarodnaya (International) Hotel" - the same building that houses the Moscow World Trade Center. You'd think that my digs would therefore be rather swanky, but on the contrary, they're satisfyingly spartan. My hotel room is rather analagous to a studio apartment with a small kitchenette, bathroom, and walk-in closet. I wouldn't have enjoyed a big fancy room with the attendant 5-star hotel accoutrements, and this sparsely furnished room is just perfect. It does have maid service. Which is even perfecter.
I don't really have much to say about my job since I haven't started it yet. It appears that I'll mainly be working with investigating applicants for refugee status in the United States. These include mainly persecuted ethnic and religious minorities. I obviously can't talk about details of cases, but I get the feeling that there will be many interesting issues to discuss regarding refugees' experiences in the former Soviet Union. Unfortunately, I will be unable to continue my smart-aleck commentary on political affairs in Russia. As a US Embassy employee, I have to avoid political pontificating. I figure that this is no one's loss but my own. Hopefully my blogs won't be too bland and unenlightening. If they are, may I recommend Ann Coulter. She's still unenlightening (perhaps even more so), but far from bland.