~*~ 1 AUGUST 2000:

~*~ 1 AUGUST 2000:

Ugh, I must write this journal for my stupid creative writing! "It helps you explore your personal characteristics," Kelly Long (An American nonetheless!) the C.W. professor claims. "It will help your writing!" Bah! I've been writing prose, poetry, and nonfiction since I was about seven! That's ten years! TEN YEARS! Errrrr... This is going to be the worst assignment I turn in this year! At least I get to use my ultra cute stationary! "Start with explaining a bit about yourself," Kelly says. Okay. I can do that. So, here we go!

My name is Julie Demodova, and I currently reside in St. Petersburg, Russia. I was born on 6 January 1983, and am seventeen years old. I was born in Volgograd Russia, That is the former Stalingrad, located in the southwestern part of the country. My best friend, Evgeny Plushenko was also born there, and we've known each other since before I can remember. Our families shared an apartment for a while. Anyway...

So, I live in a large apartment complex, with about a million flats on it! I live on the thirteenth floor in flat 1313. Some might say that's an unlucky thing, but I really don't mind. My sister lived there before I did, and nothing too terrible happened to her. So, go figure. I moved in with my sister when I was ten, because the skating rink were I was training was closing, due to the Soviet collapse. Sophie was twenty at the time, and in medical school. She's lived there up until this year, when I graduated from high school and got ready for college. She picked up her practice and moved it to a Spanish town on the Mediterranean. She always loved the Mediterranean, and this was the perfect opportunity for her. So now, I have the WHOLE flat to myself, and let me tell you, it isn't a shabby little flat! Ev lives a couple blocks down.

I attend the art literature academy here in Petersburg and am majoring in God only knows what! Basically, what I want to do is write books for a living. So, I'm taking classes in literature, grammar, English, Russian, prose, poetry, nonfiction, and creative writing. Ev, on the other hand is at the "Academy of Physical Culture." Which is apparently so hoity-toity school that is really prestigious. But when I asked him what he does there, he carefully eluded the question. I still don't know what on earth "Physical Culture" is. I think maybe the culture of possessions? I'll never know.

So, about me. Well, uh, I have blonde hair, that is – unlike most female skaters – worn long. (My idol is Marina Anassina) The cut keeps it out of my way, and is very convenient. I have green eyes, which I have inherited from my father. I'm about 172.72 cm tall, which is five foot eight inches in the crazy, messed up American system. I weigh 54.4704 kilograms, which is 120 pounds. I love to read and write, which would explain my school choice, I'm very interested in American musicals, and have seen quite a few on trips to the USA. I live in the USA for a year, with my aunt Olga (who is a blast!) because of affairs, which I don't remember at the moment in Russia. I learned a lot in that year, which is invaluable knowledge! I am also an Ice Skater, and this year I will go to senior competitions. I'm very excited about that!

Errr... I've hit a dead end... Nothing to say.

~*~ 3 AUGUST 2000:

Got a note from Sophie and Co. in Spain. They're going to Egypt in a week and have invited me to accompany them! I agreed right way, and am very excited about this all. I've never been to Egypt, and I'll be happy to get out of school for a couple days! Woo Hoo! Won't have to write in this journal for a week! Yay! Must go ring up Ev.

4:57 p.m.:

DAMN! Have been informed that I must take my journal with me to Egypt in order to make up for any work I miss! I have to drag this thing all over now. Errr... maybe I should have gone to the "Academy of Physical Culture," like Ev wanted me to. Oh, have discovered that Ev is doing anatomy at the AOPC. Finally, I think I sorta understand this. Oh, wait. My moment of epiphany has vanished. I was considering going into medicine for a long time, then I had to dissect cats in Biology. I got sick the very first day, and that crushed ant hopes of being a doctor. I was going to be a lawyer after that, but I wasn't smart enough. So, since I've always loved writing, I decided to become an author. Ohhh! ER reruns are on now!

~*~ 10 AUGUST 2000:

On the plane now. It's very early, and the person who was supposed to hold the seat next to me must have slept in, because they just missed the plane (we're on the runway.) Not that I know them, it's just an observation, which is a miracle, because I'm not very observant. I guess that's an added bonus for smart people. I'm reminded of a movie I saw while I was in the USA: "The Pirates of the Silicon Valley." Bill Gates got the TWA people to turn around the plane (it was on the runway too) and go back to the terminal. I really have to do something about my runaway mind. It's quite a problem now. Oh...Carter from ER was in that movie. I love Carter. *Sigh*

Great, now I have to explain all this... Well, when I was living in the USA, my cousin Katryna got me hooked on this American television show: ER. It's about an emergency room in Chicago. I see reruns from like season 4 here in Russia, and all are horrible dubbed, but I digress. There's this one guy on there named John Carter. He's very, very, very (thirty-nine verys later) CUTE! Oh... better not let Dima read this!

Dima is my adorable boyfriend; better know – to some – Dimitri Myikoff. We've been together since we were sophomores in high school. He actually met me at the airport today. Wanted to wish me off. Oh, he's so cute! Ev was there too, but was complaining about Mishan complaining about him being late... (NOTE TO SELF: must refrain from putting little dots at the ends of all my sentences, like this ...)

We're up in the air now. Maybe I'll check e-mail when we get to cruising altitude. Must complete an assignment too.

12:15:

An e-mail from Dima! Says:

Hi baby!

I know we just saw each other, but i wanted to check in an see how you were doing. i hope the flight is going well. enjoy the trip!

Also, don't crash the plane while you're writing back. I don't want half the world upset at me!

Love,

dima.

Isn't he sweet? Wrote back:

Hey Dima!

thank-you for the little note. J I haven't crashed the plane yet, but you never know! How are things holding up in Petersburg? Are you holding down the fort? Tell Ev that I say "Hi."

bye-bye:

Julie.

I love having a boyfriend like Dima!

~*~ 17 AUGUST 2000

I was wondering what they would use this interview for...an airplane magazine! Who would have guessed!

QUESTION: So, Evgeny Plushenko, Julie Demodova, nice to have you here.

PLUSENKO, DEMODOVA: Thanks.

Q: Evgeny, I'll start with you. You had an excellent season last year, but not without its faults. What do you have planned this year?

PLUSHENKO: Well, I've been working on the quad, triple, double combination, and working on my quads.

Q: Are you still worried about Alexi Yagudin, who won worlds last year?

PLUSEHNKO: Yagudin has always been a competent rival, but I'm sure I can beat him. At Worlds last year I was not in good condition.

Q: Is it true you have really learned nothing from training with him?

PLUSHENKO: Yes [Laughs].

Q: Julie, your coach – Lucy Saroff – says it was your choice to stay off the competitive scene until now. Why is that?

DEMODOVA: Mainly, because I wanted to finish up High School. Also, when I came onto the scene, I wanted to come on with a bang!

Q: What do you have planned?

DEMODOVA: I want to be the first woman to land a quad at Worlds. I've been working on it for a long time, and I'd like to show the world I'm capable.

Q: So you are training partners, correct?

DEMODOVA: [Laughs] No. We skate at the same club, and we're close friends, but we aren't training partners. We have two different coaches.

Q: Which competition will we see you two at first?

PLUSHENKO: Both of us will be at the Finlandia Cup.

Q: Good Luck.

PLUSHENKO, DEMODOVA: Thank-you.

Q: When you're not skating, what do you do?

DEMODOVA: Homework. No, actually I spend a lot of time studying World literature, to catch onto the best techniques.

Q: So you're an author?

DEMODOVA: I'd like to be. I also compose music.

Q: Really?

DEMODOVA: Yes, shaves of time over the summer.

Q: Evgeny, what do you do?

PLUSHENKO: Play computer games.

[DEMODOVA laughs]

Q: Well, it was very nice speaking with you. Good luck on your endeavors this year.

PLUSHENKO, DEMODOVA: Thank-you.

Got a kick out of that when I read it! A woman even came up to me and asked me if that was I in the article. Then she asked for my autograph! I feel very famous! I haven't been able to write all week, because Sophie had kept me very busy in Egypt. We were going four cylinders all week! We spent a couple days in Gaza, exploring the pyramids, and that was very interesting. I learned how to read the hieroglyphics – sort of – and got to sample many culinary delights of the country. My niece Lunda, tried to get me to buy a monkey for her, and when I said no, tried to get me to buy one for myself, which she could visit.

"It loves you, Aunt Julie," she explained, shoving the furry creature in my face. "See, it wants you to take it home!"

"How do you figure that?" I asked. Personally, monkeys are cute and all, but they smell enough to wake the dead. Which would be terrible in Egypt. Imagine that, mummies running all over the place.

"It's in her eyes!" Lunda exclaimed again, shoving the fetid monkey in my face. Well, the monkey must not have like me either, for it bit me right on the nose! I still have a very red spot on my nose, from where those jaws of steel locked on. Ev though that little red blemish was very funny, and has been laughing at it for a while now! Well, I'll just say now, that monkey did not come back to Russia with me, and not back to Spain either. Good riddance to bad rubbish!

I'm on my way to Volgograd now – with Ev, who is enjoying my damaged nose far too much – to finish out the week. We're on the train now, and my writing is getting jostled. And it's NOT from the train (Quit looking over my shoulder Ev!). Ev flew into Moscow when I did, from Petersburg, and we're going together. I gave him a copy of the article from the plane, and he said he would frame it! Har, har, sure Ev.

I will! I promise!

You won't! Stop writing on MY journal!

But it's so fun!

I'll poke you on the nose with my pen!

You wouldn't!

I WILL!

All talk, no action!

There! Damn, the pen is getting stuck...

Ha, Ha!

My blue ink looks better than yours!

You're such a child!

Look who's talking!

Hey! You're turning this in aren't you?

Oh, my God, I am! Eeeeeeek! Stop writing now!

~*~ 19 AUGUST 2000: Volgograd

My stupid red pen ran out, so now I have to write this in blue. I won't get another red pen until I get back to St. Petersburg. Stupid Ev! If I could just get my hands on him... Ugh! Anyway, on to happier subjects.

Mum and Grandma are doing well, and Miki is here this weekend too, so it's like a big family reunion for me. Ev's sister – Elena – is also in two. We're all having a good time! Miki – indecently my brother – could easily pass for Ev's brother if he tried. Both seem to thrive on mocking me, and Miki is twenty! He should know better! The first thing Miki says when he see me is:

"Julie, I think you got skin cancer while you were in Egypt!"

Of course mum has to blow it WAY out of proportion: "What?! Julie, let me get a good look at you! Helga, fire up the car, we need to take Julie to the doctor immediately!"

Grandma walks in. "Oh, no Ana, that's just a monkey bite." Ev and Miki double up w/laughter, complete w/high fives and "Good goings"

Really though, Miki and Ev have been terrorizing the animals of the neighborhood and alarming the old people since they could walk. I can still remember them trying to beat a squirrel w/a stick to serve to Grandma's friend Ethel. Ev's father gave them both a thrashing when he found out. Mr. Plushenko was an adoptive father for the Demodova kids. My own father ran out on Mum when I was born. No-one knows why, but Mum's never forgiven him. No-one knows where he went either. The rumblings suggest that he went to America and changed his name so Mum couldn't find him. I don't really care. God Damn him to hell for all I care.

It's been nice to visit w/Ev's family too. We haven't seen each other much either, and we're making plans to get together during the Cup of Russia. Miki also says he'll be playing a concert in Moscow while we're at the Russia Nationals. Ev and I are planning to attend that while we're in there. Miki asked me to write a piece for the concert. That's quite an honor! I mean, usually I just write for fun, I've never written for a concert! Ev says if my piece is a hit he'll want me to write one for his long program next year. I told him I'd think about it. I guess I could use the practice. I'll need some way to support myself after I retire, and writing might get old. But I can only write for piano and violin. Really only piano, I don't know the violin very well. It's an interesting thought. Miki's planted a seed.

~*~ 21 AUGUST 2000

Couldn't find any red pens, I'll have to go pick some up later this week. This pen is one of the "gel pens" from Japan; Tasha gave it to me for my birthday as part of a stationary set. Actually, the same one this paper is from. Anyway, it writes bold like this, and is a tiny bit annoying, and incongruent with the rest of this journal. Oh well. It will be okay, I guess.

Got back late last night. After one! V. sleepy right now! Almost feel asleep during many classes, and took a nap during the day, after practice. Been v. busy since I got back. Had to show the journal during C.W. and I guess Kelly L. liked it, she laughed very hard. Told me to "keep up the good work." Ah, well we'll see.

Tasha's birthday is coming up! Must thing of something to get her. Oh, right! I got her "Bridget Jones's Diary" when I was in the USA last. One thing less to worry about.

~*~ 27 AUGUST 2000

Found a red pen... Dima has yet to call or e-mail, or anything! I've been home for about a week. I hope everything's all right!

~*~ 30 AUGUST 2000

Ever so sore from practice. Every since I got back, Lucy has really been pushing me. "You had a break, which was good, but you need to get back in shape." Been falling on quads a lot, and no-one's happy about that. Ev says to keep trying at it, and I'll get it soon, but I don't believe him! I'm soooooo tired of this damned quad. I know I shouldn't have been off for two weeks, but I'm naughty.

My short program is "Symphony number five," by Beethoven. The one that always sounds foreboding. My Long program is the soundtrack from "The Prince of Egypt." That's an American movie, which I have yet to see. But the music is very nice, and composed by the same guy who did "Gladiator." Incidentally, the piece that Alexi Yagudin is doing. Speaking of Yags, I got a call from his choreographer, and he (Yags) wants me to perform Chopin's Revolution piece, I don't recall the REAL name for HIS short. I said I might. I would love the opportunity, but I'd feel like a traitor to Ev. Ev said he really wouldn't mind if I did, but still. One has to wonder where loyalties would lie.

Lucy wants me to get a new pair of skates. "Your boots are looking a bit shabby," was her exact comment.

"Maybe, if I can get some prize money," I said. I'm hoping I can make some money this year, to further my education. We heard the purse for Worlds was tremendous. Let's hope I can make it! Slutskia is looking very good this year, and M. Kwan wants a fourth world title. S. Hughes isn't looking too bad either. Ev and Lucy say I'll do great this year. I hope...