Tab Cribs: Moscow State Linguistic University

Inspired by last weekend’s international Jailbreak splurge, Tab Cribs sets up shop in Moscow. ?? ??????????? Tab Cribs!

Alex Bower cambridge tab corridor crazy people facilities mad housemates neighbours from hell nightmare appartment russia russian language share room stephen king student accomodation student living student room student russia suicide Tab Cribs tab cribs russia toilet year abroad

The good ship Tab Cribs has docked in Russia, where the temperature is successfully hovering around the -20 degrees mark. Most student accommodation is so far from the centre of Moscow that it makes Homerton look like some kind of annex to Grand Arcade, but I’ve tracked down someone who’s a mere stone’s throw from Red Square and happily nestling in one of Moscow’s most vibrant party districts.

Meet Lily, a 5th year management student at MSLU.

Blissfully unaware of the camera, Lilly tucks into a juicy tome

Alex Bower: So, tell me, how did you land a pad like this in the centre of Moscow?

Lilly: I don’t want to talk about it. We have this massive waiting list – normally you have to be from Chernobyl or have some kind of enormous psychiatric problem or something to get a place in one of these. I had to tell them I was miles below the poverty line and come in to plead every day for a week.

AB: What are your new hostel mates like then? I hope they’re not all nutters. Is it rubbing off on you? You seem to have set fire to that endearingly cute teddy bear at some point.

L: Oh that happened one winter. It wasn’t always a bloody furnace in here. Last winter it was really draughty and cold so to get round this we brought an oven in and turned it on, leaving the door open. The teddy just fell in. Fortunately we woke up in time to stop everything else catching fire.

Two beds yet only one pair of slippers. Who’s getting cold feet?

AB: Oh, that’s fair enough.

L: In terms of my neighbours, I’d say that most of them aren’t so right in the head. I used to be friends with one of the only outwardly normal guys here, but then he tried to commit suicide and went really mad. It was a shame.

AB: So is this standard accommodation, or is it better or worse than this normally? I have to say, while the outside isn’t so great, this is much nicer than I expected.

L: There are much worse, for sure. Having said that, there are some really aggressive, rabid, stray dogs that live in an abandoned building round the corner. They howl at night. Once, I went outside to take out the trash and found some of them waiting for me in a dark corner. Another time, a pack of six stopped me on the way back from a night out. I had to wait and come back later with some other people.

potted plant celebrating the near celestial ceiling heights

AB: Am I in danger then when I leave then? I quite like being alive.

L: Not really – they only go after women. They can smell your fear, I think.

AB: I know some people like that back in Cambridge.

L: Oh yeah, and I also forgot to say that we have a lot of mice. Thank God they’re not rats though. Once, a girl found a mouse in her fridge and panicked loads. It’s funny because we have a joke in Russian that says when you have no food in your fridge a mouse would hang itself. She went to tell the [porters] and they just pissed themselves about it because she thought she’d gone to all this trouble to make this old joke.

AB: That is hilarious on multiple levels. The elephant in the room is the other bed – where’s your room mate?

L: My current one moved out, because she’s from Moscow anyway so she just lives with her mum, occasionally swinging by. She’s a friend though. And as for the old one, she was great. I only really had a problem when she had a boyfriend – the less said about that the better. Normally you’re not allowed guests after 11 but he lived in the same hostel so nobody was to know. Other than that I’ve been pretty lucky, considering how mental most people are.

A clothes rack away from domestic bliss

AB: What are the facilities like? The corridor to the toilet looks like something from a Stephen King novel.

L: Haha – facilities?! We just got a washing machine, which is exciting. Before, I used to take massive bags full of laundry to my cousin’s place or just wash by hand. The toilets are pretty horrible and the only showers are on the ground floor, which is annoying. People often have to queue for a fair while. Also if you think this corridor is scary, you’ll be terrified by some of the other ones.

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Oh my. I don’t think there’s any need to see those – I’m scared enough by the threatening man checking passports at the door because his fist is a fair bit bigger than my entire head. Thanks for your time, Lily. ?? ????????.