Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Moscow 5K

On Saturday the 16th, I dragged Dan out into a mid-40 degree morning to a Moscow 5K Road Race hosted by the Marines stationed at the Embassy here in Moscow.  It was a fundraiser for the U.S. Wounded Warrior Project, to aid and help veterans injured during their times of service.  The race course wound along the Moscow River, really a beautiful area, and hosted about 80 participants from around the city.  We really had a lot of fun, and did the Culbertson name proud:  Rachel placed second overall with a time of 21:24 and Dan came in fourth overall with a time of 22:11.  The unexpected prize commodity of the race?  Safety pins.  We each got one safety pin a piece to attach our race bibs to our shirts.  Safety pins are apparently not easy to come by here, and thanks to a seamstress participant who supplied the entire race with pins, we didn't have to carry our bibs while running.  In general, good times were had by all. 

Also, while racing we stumbled across Moscow's bike lane.  Dan's anxious to peddle on over and see where it goes!


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Stroller Bandits

Today, as Chris and I were walking back from the office we came across an overturned stroller on the side of the path.  All the wheels had been stripped off and we have to assume they took the sound system too since we couldn't find it.  The moral of the story is: Don't let your stroller break down in the wrong part of town.



Victory Day!

May 9th is victory day in Russia commemorating the end of WWII.  Veterans on the streets are given flowers by passers by, patriotic slogans and posters are all over the city, and heavy armor rolls down the streets.  Since it's always been a life goal of mine to see ICBMs driving through Moscow, I thought I'd share a video in case someone else out there has the same goal but is forced to live vicariously through me.


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Let's Go Fly a Kite!

Beautiful day for a picnic!  On Friday evening, our team ventured to a beautiful city overlook to picnic on the Moscow State University grounds.  The last time I'd been to this same location was the winter of 2004 - barely recognizable as the same place on a bright Spring day!  We enjoyed all kinds of fun activities like kite flying, football, frisbee, racing scooters, a game of tag, and snacking with our current team of ten.  

Dan (bottom left) acted as general jungle gym for Emma (middle,) Joel (bottom right,) and Nadya (top,) the children of our city directors, Keith and Lori.  The kids keep us adequately entertained here, such fun personalities, and even humbled with their incredible Russian language acquisition!  Plus, they make a pretty good pyramid, don't you think?

We happened to be out and about May 1st, May Day, a national holiday here in Russia.  Although traffic throughout usually busy streets was minimal, lots of people were out enjoying the beautiful day with us.  Of course, that means the vendors were out in force offering everything from traditional nesting dolls (Матрёшки,) to dried calamari...  Not too many takers from our group.Moscow State, impressive in its sheer size alone, is home to one of Stalin's Seven Sisters.  I don't mean actual relatives of Stalin, but skyscrapers in the city designed and built during Stalin's later years.  Moscow State is visible from certain vantage points throughout the city, as are the other sisters, and serves constantly to remind it's onlookers of Russia's looming and impressive position on the world scene.  Imagine, we know a student who lives in a dorm room on the 23rd floor of this gigantic building, and goes to class on the 16th.  What history must be contained within the walls of this monster of a building!