The next day, I again missed the morning shuttle; I thought it finished at 10:30, but no - that was the last departure from the metro. Arg. Lidia and I were going to meet in the evening and join her friends to watch a Russian movie, so I again explored the city during the day. I saw the Circus Maximus, which was filled with lights for some reason - later I found out that there was a, well, wouldn't you know it, "La Notte Bianca" (White Night) festival throughout the city. I also walked through a lot of the nearby ruins before making my way up to a park near Villa Medici and Piazza del Popolo, whereabouts I later met up with Lidia and we walked around a bit, with the festival now in full force. We took the subway (free now) to her friend's flat, where there were three of her friends, one of which was from Ukraine. Who'd have guessed. While Lidia and I walked to the metro we had talked about various things, including 9/11 (that day was the 10th). Thinking back, it was hard to know exactly how we had all found out (a classmate told us while we were in math class, but I don't know how he himself found out; I think he had seen it on TV in the library), but further, it was hard at first to remember whether I had indeed seen the towers fall live, because of the endless replays on the news throughout that day and the following few days. I remember having read Newsday that morning and noting the date was 911, like the emergency number. Hm. How little I knew how the world would change a few hours later?
Right, so we went to her friend's house, where Vladimir and I cast our votes for Операция "Ы" ("Operation "Y") to which I was introduced in the culturology class. Parts of it involve last-minute preparation for exams, about which we later had to write an essay, "От сессия до сессия студенты живут весело" ("Between exams students are carefree"). I agreed with this in my essay, saying that it was universal, or at least that students in the US and Russia were the same in this respect, and now Lidia was providing evidence for it in Italy, having a few hundred pages of text still to read before her test. I really enjoyed the film and thought it was terrific - just purely funny, good-natured humor. I loved it, and look forward to watching other Shurik films (I had earlier seen one thanks to an assignment for Russian class back home, wherein I had to watch a Russian film and talk about it in class; my roommate and I had watched one where Shurik makes a time machine and ends up switching time periods with Ivan the Terrible. I had really enjoyed it but didn't realize there were other Shurik films. I also learned the actor had a sad life, unsuccessfully trying to avoid being typecast, and then becoming an alcoholic and living in poverty after the welfare system disappeared, before dying of a heart attack.) Shortly after the movie we went home, and as I walked back from the metro (this was about a half-hour trip now that I knew where I was going) I saw a fairly suspicious car fire. Hm.