Monday, October 19, 2009
Sveta, or full name, Svetlana, was born and raised in Baku, Azerbaijan. She looks back on her youth in the Caucasus as some of the best years of her life. Like many Russians of her generation, Sveta looks back fondly on her years as a child in the Soviet Union, agreeing that "life was better then." She misses these old days, and is never pressed for a story about life back in the good ol' days. This makes for continually interesting conversation, but an even more mysterious, and surprising woman. For a few weeks, I lived life by her side, understanding more fully her values, her priorities, her goals, her dreams. What a wonderful example and friend. Thank you, Sveta.
October 9th was a big night at 173 Bolshaya Cherkizovskaya. The little apartment rang with good conversation, games, and a thundering round of Happy Birthday, half in English, half in Russian. Birthdays are a big deal in Russian culture: one spends all day preparing food and desserts for all of your guests to enjoy, cleaning the apartment, and thinking up toasts and happy wishes for all invited. We were no exception! I started preparations at 10:00 am, and finished up as guests started arriving at 7:00 pm! But the caviar and crackers, chicken fajitas with homemade tortillas, fresh salsa of all natural ingredients, sliced $6 avacado (a rare find here, but worth every rouble!), pan seared Kubanski peppers and onions, hot tea with sugar, lots of local cookies and treats, and a double decker chocolate chip cookie cake (courtesy of our teammate Kim,) made the day very memorable for all.
Here are some moments from the evening. I hope you enjoy them as much as we did!
The boys (from left to right Egor, Chris, Dan, Yan)... and Dahsa enjoy the appetizers and some Pepsi.
Dan and Robi dig into some black caviar, a tasty treat served at most big occasions.
Yan built this delicious fortress out of the cookies and treats available. He's in a prep school to become an engineer and constructor one day. Off to a good start!
Our teammate Kim and her oh-so-fabulous-cake, complete with icing spelling С Днем Рождения Данил! (Happy Birthday Daniel!)
Dan managed to blow out almost all of his imaginary candles. He missed two. Better luck next year.
Our happy crew enjoying tea and cake after a round of pictionary.
Happy Birthday, Dan. And many more.