30 June 2009


So friday was a fun filled day.

first we went to the Faberge egg exhibit which has some of the coolest most amazing looking eggs ever. they were made by this one guy...faberge for the royal family during easter. they have gold, and diamonds and all sorts of expensive things on them. we couldn't take pictures so you definitely need to look them up online to see what i am talking about. there were also a bunch of other artifacts from the royal family that were really cool and very expensive looking.

after the museum we went to lunch and got cheburechni...which are basically fried pastries with stuff in them. basically pastries of death. very unhealthy but delicious. i got one with cheese and one with potatoes. After lunch we met up with some more people and went inside St Basil's cathedral. it was pretty cool. we were supposed to pay to take pictures but i have corrupted linsey into sneaking them. plus no one asks or looks for the picture permit. anyway i need to get the pics from linsey. after st. basil's we went to a mall for a bit but i headed home early because i still needed to pack and eat dinner before i left for st. pete's. we were on the night train which is not as cool as it sounds.

after dinner, i headed to the train station super excited for Pete's. once on the train the excitement of the night train wore off. i was on a small bed which is expected but it wasn't even long enough for me. plus i was right next to the bathroom and we didn't have a door to our little room so we heard people passing back and forth. then it was kinda funny the train turned off the lights at a certain time so you couldn't even read if you wanted to. i managed to finally fall asleep just in time to roll into st. pete's and wake up to russian wake up and get off our train music. total eclipse of the heart was in there and consequently stuck in my head all day long.

thursday..of last week

this day our lab class was at our teacher's. we made lunch using our amazing cooking vocab.

we made pelmeni from scratch with was delicious. they are the ravioli things. we had ours with meat. yummy. we even made the dough.

we also made borscht which was also delicious. it had more veggies in it than i usually have. i also tried kvas. which is fermented bread...drink. it is like a non alcoholic beer. and it is disgusting. it tasted like soy sauce that was carbonated...apparently it is popular. i didn't enjoy it.

i remembered most of the recipes so y'all have something to look forward to when i get home.

29 June 2009

busy busy dizzy

ok. i know y'all hate me, but i will have to live with that.

i am going to go through last week up until i left for St. Petersburg. Then i will probably do a couple of blogs for St. Petes.

so last sunday i didn't go to church but i went to a russian dacha (countryside home). It was actually the dacha of our russian program director at ANE (my university). We took a train out to the country side, our stop was New Jerusalem. funny i didn't know it was in Russia. Then our director met us there and he along with 2 taxises drove us to the dacha. the country side is really beautiful and also very green. i decided that i think i would live in my dacha rather than in the city. Oh. people only visit their dachas on the weekend. it is just a small getaway that has their garden. most dachas are really quite small and only have enough room to sleep really. Our director's dacha was actually pretty big compared to what other people in our group have experienced. It was like a nice little log cabin. it was great. once there we met Sasha's (our director) wife. and their 2 dogs which were so adorable. one was a black russian terrier and one was just a terrier. the black one was huge and only 6 months old. i didn't get a picture but you will have to look them up online. then we at dinner which was fantastic and pretty sure all of us ate too much. Then we went on a walk around his dacha looking at all the different plants and other dachas. it was really pretty. then we came back inside and had dessert and tea. i am becoming such a fan of tea here ..the herbal kind. especially on wet rainy days which have been happening pretty much everyday for the past 2 weeks. after dinner we just talked alot. and by we i mean the other people in our group. i was just fine listening and petting the dog. After that we went back to the train station and headed home. However, we hit sunday traffic of everyone going back to the city and stood for most of the hour and a half. it wasn't tooo bad actually.

21 June 2009

the week.

So the picture to the right is the view out my kitchen window at night. It is my one love of Moscow. It is just gorgeous and unlike most of Moscow.

the week again wasn't too exciting. Linsey, Ashley and I worked on our homework on the river bank of the Moskva River, on Tuesday. There were lots of people there. It is kinda like a make shift beach and some people definitely thought they were at the beach. yikes. We all got a little red but it was nice to be out in the sun rather than inside. I'm glad we did it because the rest of the week has been rainy and cold.

Friday we were super busy. The group planned a trip to the Trinity Monastery which is about an hour and a half out side of Moscow. It was really pretty but a lot of things were closed for reconstruction. That was kinda disappointing. We also couldn't go into a lot of the churches which made me kinda sad, but it was still cool and nice to kinda get out of Moscow for a bit.

Saturday we went to the Tretyakov Gallery which is kinda like the Louvre of Russia. We had a tour guide so it was cool to hear stories about the paintings that I normally wouldn't have known. We spent about 3 hours there and didn't see everything. It is almost impossible like the Louvre to really see everything well. I might go back so I can wander around by myself and look at things. After that we went to lunch and I had some pelmeni. those things are quite delicious. haha. of course it had dill on it. dill is used all the time here. good thing i have like. i didn't know i would but i do...so everything works out. then we went to mcdonalds for a .30 cent ice cream cone. oh how i love the conversion rate. after ice cream and chatting we made our way to ikea to play games. we don't really have a place big enough for all of us to play games together, so we figured the show rooms at ikea would work splendidly. we didn't even get kicked out, just got weird looks from people. Who plays card games in ikea anyway...Americans apparently. next time we should get a game of sardines or hide and seek going. that could be fun. so yesterday was a pretty long day i was going for about 12 hours. well at of the house for 12 hours. it doesn't seem like we do a lot but with travel time and such things take a while. i will try and get better at writing in this like i was before. haha. but if you crave for more...look at Linsey's blog..A Summer in Moscow. I am always with her and she is much more diligent than me. obviously some things won't apply..but it is nice to get a second account. haha. especially since i am lazy.

15 June 2009


sorry. my plan was to catch everything up yesterday, but of course my internet was out.

so. thursday instead of class we walked around Moscow and with our teacher taking pictures. this is our lab class and we had photography vocabulary. i think i was supposed to be using it on the trip around. we saw some interesting stuff i probably wouldn't have found otherwise. there was a statue thing that was about how the vices of adults effect the lives of children. It was kinda cool but kinda creepy looking too. we also crossed this bridge that had these fake chain type trees on it. on the trees were locks with couples names on it. it was kinda cool. people locking their love forever. ha. we made it back from our little excursion just in time for a guest lecturer from the state dept. who of course talked about how great the foreign service is. it was actually pretty cool, but i don't think i could move every two years. That lecture lasted a bit and afterwards i left and came home early so i could do laundry and such. it was pretty exciting.

Friday was Russia day. it is when russia declared independence from the Soviet Union. Linsey and I hung out all day because most people went on a camping trip. we vetoed that idea for several reasons..mainly it was supposed to rain all weekend. after hearing some stories we are pretty happy with our decision. We went to old arbat street and looked around, it has souvenirs and paintings and such. it is a pretty cool place. then we went to red square to see what going on there for russia day...turned out not a whole lot. well there was a marathon going on. I still don't see the amusement in doing a marathon. I'll stick with my sprint triathlons. thank you very much. then we went to this grocery store to buy water. it is very hot and water is a necessity but we have to buy it because we don't want to die after drinking tap water. we found this really good 1.5 liter water for 7 rubles. that is like 23 cents. so yippee. then we went to this park which we learned today isn't really a park but a boulevard because it is in between two streets. so even though it was green and grassy...not a park. there was supposed to be a free concert there but we couldn't find it. so we just sat and talked. Then linsey came over to my apt to spend the night. my family was out of town, but told me how to make this ravioli stuff which you basically just boil. good thing i can work a stove like no other. just in case Nina showed me how to use the stove. i swear you can't speak a language so you immediately become incompetent in every other aspect of life. anyway. linsey and i enjoyed our ravioli and picked out a movie to watch, the da vinci code. to make ourselves feel better we put on russian subtitles. the only problem is when they spoke french or whatever we had no idea what was going on. because instead of english subtitles there were russian ones. shocker. before the movie we went to my nearest productie, that is what they call little convenience stores. and got some fanta and chips. haha. super healthy i know. then we kinda just chilled and then went to bed. it was a fun girl's night.

Saturday we got up and went to the renick and looked for stuff. we bought some stuff too but i am not telling what. it was fun bargaining and talking. we are getting better. after that we went to the novodivcty convent and cemetery. the cemetery has people like kruschev and yeltsin and checkov buried there. it is a really cool place. the greenery is just kinda let go and grows everywhere. so all different plants are everywhere. they also had free bathrooms which ended up being holes in the ground so linsey and i vetoed that real fast. then we headed up to the monastery which was build for peter the great's wife after he wanted to be free of the marriage. it takes get thee to a nunnery to a whole new level..here honey i built you a convent to live in. apparently she was crazy but still i think that there are more subtle ways to go about things. It was pretty and interesting. there are three churches inside. one is still working so we stayed for mass. it was really interesting and had lovely music. however we had to leave before it was completely over because of the incense plus we had to have our heads covered so i was getting really hot in there. after that we were beat. walking around in very hot weather is somewhat exhausting. i came home and nina had made some yummy chicken. i think it was fried chicken. it was delicious. sometimes ok a lot of times good meat is hard to come by. i think that is why i have become mostly a vegetarian. mainly because that is what i eat. i eat salad every night for dinner. it is kinda funny because nina uses oil and a little balsamic vinegar for dressing. all that oil has really helped out my hair. nice and shiny. plus i haven't blow dried it since i have been here. after dinner i read for a bit and then just crashed i was so tired from the day.

sunday. i pretty much laid in bed til i had to go to church, my body needed it. church was fine. still didn't understand much. although i did understand when this lady began asking us if we sang or played instruments. i gladly informed her that linsey played piano and ashley sang. i knew what was coming. she asked us to do a musical number. i think i might have to do it but i think i mostly pawned it off onto ashley and linsey. so woohoo there. my internet stopped working sunday so i read pretty much the rest of the day. it was nice relaxing.

today i did not want to get up. i was sleeping so well. plus mondays are usually brutal so i didn't have a lot to look forward too, but classes went surprisingly well. linsey asked our teacher how to say mold because her blind (well maybe) babushka has been giving her mold strawberries. our teacher got really concerned and told linsey that she shouldn't eat moldy things like bread or fruit, again...incompetent in all aspects of life. and she told linsey if she knew what her babushka was putting in her meals. haha. hilarious. anyway i thought it was funny. after class linsey ashley and i went to a children's theater which does ballets and things for kids. but it is supposed to be really cheap. we actually got ticket for 50 rubles which isn't even two bucks and got to watch swam lake. i think it is a cool idea having a place where children can come and watch things so they are disturbing snooty rich people. so it was really good. funny in parts ..of course not purposely but how serious can you take a bad guy when he is wearing tights and leaping about. not very. afterwords i cam home and ate with Nina. I like talking to her a lot plus it helps my russian. the other day she said i was a comfortable person which i forget the russian word but it is in the context of relations. she said she liked eating with me basically. i know cause she translated for me. ha. that pretty much brings me up to now. catching up on my blog.

07 June 2009

The weekend

So oops. hehe

Thursday we finally made it to the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. It is gorgeous and huge. AND new. Stalin destroyed it. shocker, and tried to build something in its place but that didn't work out so he put a swimming pool there instead. After the fall, they Orthodox church got permission to rebuild it, so the built it like it was before and finished it in like 2000 or something. Anyway. It was way cool and amazing on the inside but unfortunately pictures weren't allowed.

Friday we went to an ex-Soviet park. It is funny to me when things are described like this because technically everything is ex-soviet. Anyway, this park had buildings for each Soviet Republic. And apparently they had festivals and such. I don't know too much about it one of our friends was telling us about it and another was translating...and they got stopped by the police. I think they said Stalin too loud. look out. After wondering around the park for a while we went across town where I made my debut on TV as an audience member of the Russian version of dancing with the stars. I know right? it was kinda hilarious and uncomfortable. we were sitting on the floor and the speaker was right in our ear. I don't know if that ear will ever be the same.

(thanks to linsey for stealing a pic, and letting me steal it from her)

Saturday we went to Tsaritsyno
This was a summer get away for Catherine the Great...that she never used.
It is a massive park and castle with several huge buildings.
She had it built to celebrate her (Russia's) victory over the Turks. It took ten years to build, she came by didn't like it and had it torn down and told them to try again. The next one also took ten years to build and was finished the year she died. The tsar after her didn't like it so they didn't even finish the interior and just let it rot. However, in 2005 they decided to fix it up and now it is super cool and has a 21st century interior..modeled after Catherine the Great's time period of course. haha. it was pretty cool. The gardens and parks are amazing. Apparently Russians think so too because there were at least 30 brides taking pictures there on Saturday. Apparently it is normal...or ridiculous. Linsey and I lost count. After the park we went over to our program director's house to have a party and get together. It was really fun and nice to just relax for a bit.

03 June 2009

The Circus!!

So today was a challenge getting out of bed. My fold-out chair is actually kinda comfortable...thinner than a twin bed but you know. It works.

I went to class feeling pretty good about myself because I had done all my homework. Class was better today. Our teacher (the one who annoys me) got really upset because we didn't use the right amount of grams or kilograms for things we were saying we bought at the market. We told her we didn't know grams, and that we used pounds at home. She got really upset saying..what are we going to do? i don't know, I don't know how to use pounds. Ha. It is really funny because the homework was a grammar exercise. We told her it didn't matter if we said the right amount or not as long as the grammar is right. She was still really worried because what if we have to buy meat. I said I won't buy meat here, and if we do we can actually see the amount. She finally agreed but laughed every time we said something wrong. It was fantastic. Also earlier she asked why we looked so sad. And to really avoid the question I just said I learned not to smile in the metro. She laughed and explained why people don't smile in the metro and why it is important that we don't smile. Then she said but it was ok to smile in her class. I said I forgot. She laughed again.

After our two classes we got bad news that our last lecture class was cancelled. We were devastated. After class we just killed time until we had to meet for the circus! haha.

The circus was actually pretty fun. AND hilarious. Though I don't think they meant it to be. There were the usual acts, spinney people on ropes, a magician, and then gold. An act that started out with the Matrix theme song and green lasers, AND a man and a women in sunglasses with trench coats. FANTASTIC, the man started juggling briefcases, but wait there is more-- he took things out of the brief cases (obviously this part was set to mission impossible music, he took of the trench), He then started juggling the things out of the brief cases...of course set to the James Bond theme song. At least he felt cool.

THEN. there were these acrobats that jump on see-saw things and fly onto peoples shoulders or launch people in the air which was generally pretty cool. BUT there were dancers who just danced around the acrobats...in 70's fake fros, and sunglasses with neon outfits on. ALSO the music...techno abba. I really don't know how you can beat that. Sometimes all of the acrobats and dancers would dance together...YES..using old records as props. Did I mention the techno Abba? HILarious.

There were also the real cool acts with people bending in ways they shouldn't and flipping through the air. and tigers. and lions. but no bears...or elephants. It is ok. I'll take the disco-acrobats.

Also on the way home, as soon as I got out of the metro it started raining....in a terenchal downpour sort of way. Needless to say, after my mile walk home I was/am soaked. I looked like I had just jumped in the river. It actually was kinda refreshing. Luckily Nina didn't see me come in. I think she would have worried and then told me about how it is bad to walk in the rain. eh. Although it was kinda funny seeing all the Russian's who had enough sense to get out of the rain faces as I walked/sloshed by. I pretty sure I walked through some mini-rivers.

02 June 2009

two in one

So I am combining Monday and Tuesday

We of course had classes and it was trying of course. It wouldn't be class with out some difficulties. ha. After class, I stayed around and worked on some homework. Then I went to get dinner with a couple of friends at a Russian restaurant. It was really good even though I just got a salad. Normally I eat at home with Nina, but tonight was different because we had somewhere to be at 7 that I could not miss...President Uchtdorf and Elder Anderson were coming to speak. So we definitely all went to that. The talks were amazing. Both Sister Uchtdorf and Anderson spoke. Sister Anderson spoke in Russian and it was really amazing how much effort she put into that talk and how nervous she must have been. I can relate. Sister Uchtdorf was a very happy person. She was just very spunky. haha. I know that sounds weird but it is true. She spoke and English and had a translator like Elder Anderson and President Uchtdorf. The talks were amazing and so helpful. Since I don't understand church it has been hard to get spiritually uplifted. This was just what I needed. Afterwards I was able to shake President Uchtdorf's hand. He is such an amazing man, and you could definitely feel the love he has for the people of the church. AMAZING. Also it was so nice to see the love between President Uchtdorf and Sister Uchtdorf. You can see how much they love each other.
After the conference, we went to McDonald's for ice cream. you can get a cake cone for 10 rubles...that is about 30 cents. ps. Again, I probably would have been better off not knowing that. I finally got home around 12, completely beat. (that is why I did not post yesterday, извините)

Today I class. One of my teachers really really frustrates me. and everyone in my class. oh well. It also probably didn't help that we were all exhausted from the night before. After class, Linsey and I worked on homework for awhile. a long while. It is ok. whatever. ahaha. After that a bunch of us girls had a nice vent session. It was fantastic, apparently a lot of us feel the same about a lot of different things. It was nice hearing that I am not crazy for feeling the way I do sometimes. I know this is ultra vague. I intended it to be. After that we left to go to an international movie (code for a movie in English) a library was showing. However some people got there before us and texted us to let us know the movie...a documentary on the electric chair. As fun as that sounded, we decided not to go. We just hung out instead. But all of us were still so tired that we left early to go home. I came home and had dinner. They had a liver something spread that you put on bread. I avoided that like the plague and stuck with my salad and chicken noodle soup.
note. i did not have ice cream today. be proud.