Never take a shortcut if you're in Russia

We learned that lesson the hard way today.

This morning at breakfast, our group split into two different sections. While Prof. Leckie, Meredith, Aaron and Ashley headed into the mountains to interview Kentucky bobsledder Dallas Robinson, Madison, Alex, Cassie and I went to the Olympic Park with Mrs. Owens and Sarah Owens to finish interviewing Morgan Irish, an Asbury student working at the Olympics.

For those of you back home, the Olympic Park is approximately a mile and a half from our hotel; in addition to that, we walked about another half mile in the park in order to meet Morgan. After the 10 miles we walked yesterday, these two miles left me with aching feet and an intense desire to sit down and never stand up again.

Karis torch

After a quick interview with Morgan, Cassie and I headed to the ice hockey venue to watch a women's Germany vs. Sweden hockey game, where we met up with Alex and Madison, who had left to pursue another storyline a few hours earlier. 

On our way, we obviously had to stop to snap a few pics with the Olympic torch.

Now, I'd already been to a hockey game; I watched the Monday night women's Canada vs. Finland game--watching my people play the game of my people.

Combine that with my exhaustion, and I was a little less than focused on the game at hand. We ended up leaving early, too, in order to watch a live shoot of The Today Show, where we took a picture with Al Roker.

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After all this excitement, we were more than a little exhausted. In an attempt to shortcut the two-mile walk back to the hotel, we had the brilliant idea of taking a bus. Bad idea. Very bad idea. We boarded a random bus (B6...the number I will forever behold in terror) that someone told us would take us to Adler, the region we're staying in, and crossed our fingers that it would either turn right or go straight at the stoplight; both options would take us to our hotel.

The bus turned left.

Some friendly New Yorkers informed us that it was the bus into downtown Adler...about thirty minutes away from the ex-swamp lands our hotel was in just a few months ago. After several minutes of freak-outs, half the bus emptied and we were able to get seats, at which points most of my fears and worries were assuaged because hey, at least my feet were comfortable.

After making it to the train station, which we had been told would be a faster way back to the Olympic Park than the bus, we stumbled upon possibly the greatest discovery of the trip: a set of Olympic rings hanging up in front of the Black Sea at sunset.

Obviously, we took plenty of pictures, because when else will you get a picture in front of the Black Sea, under the Olympics Rings, at sunset?

Never, that's when. 


Half an hour later, we were back at the Olympic Park, ready to embark on the two-mile walk, our fear of which had precipitated the entire adventure.

So the moral of the story: don't take shortcuts (especially in Russia); things can always get worse; and sometimes, even the absolute worst moments lead to the most absolutely gorgeous experiences. And next time I'm faced with a potentially disastrous shortcut opportunity, I might take it, just to see what cool treasures I'll find along the way...unless my feet hurt, at which point I'll probably just go to a corner and cry.

The past two days have been a little crazy, and they're bound to only get crazier, but today's experiences have taught me to look forward to whatever might come because who knows if it won't be the best memory I'll make all week.