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Showing posts from 2011

A Day in the Life: Shopping

For those of you who have always wondered what our day-to-day life looks like here in Moscow, I'm happy to present a series entitled "A Day in the Life."  For the first installment, I'll show you what a big grocery store run looks like.  As I've learned, this approach to shopping is a bit counter-cultural as most Russians make a quick stop into a local store to pick up what's needed on a daily basis.  Day-to-day shopping and eating makes a lot of sense here, especially without a car, and I'll often pick up a few last minute items in this fashion on my way home from the metro.  Moscow is peppered with grocery stores, convenience stores, kiosks, and fruit/vege stands appropriate for this kind of life-style, but most of these places don't mind charging a little extra for the convenience.  When keeping a tight food budget, I try to stock up on staples and big price items (meat, cheese, milk, etc.) at our nearest warehouse-type-super-market (a mix between…

While we were away...

Tens of thousands of people stood in this line.

For this.


Apparently, we've missed quite a bit.  We're still catching up.


While on our visa foray to Budapest, we allowed our hosts a brief rest (from us) by taking a day trip to Austria, Dan's homeland! The train ride was about 2 hours - a rather smooth trip to Vienna. Dad looks a little tired here, but Anna, as always, is wide-eyed and curious about everything. She made several friends on the train ride there - her German being much better than ours.

Our first stop was, of course, a cafe to enjoy a hot cup of Austria's specialty coffee: melange. The coffee roast is a bit lighter and it's served up with extra creamy milk for a flavor that's just heavenly no matter how delicate your coffee palate. This picture encapsulates three of Nana's favorites (in no particular order): melange, Dan and baby A.

We then ventured to the Christkindlmarkt, one of Vienna's finest Christmas markets. We ventured from stall to stall, surveying the beautiful woodwork and other Christmas gifts.

We tried gluhwein (mulled wine) - the perfect thing to …

Dancing Queen

Yes, we've become those people. Those people who blog about their children. Those people who talk about their children excessively. Those people who seem to have no other life. These posts are for you, grandparents and others who enjoy seeing excessive amounts of new baby Anna. And for the rest of you... we promise we'll find other things to blog about... at some point.
In the meantime, enjoy this video of Anna dancing at our friends' wedding in July. What a gem!

Welcome Anna Sophia!

She's here!

She's beautiful.

And every chiche we'd heard about parenthood has never been more true.

Happy April 12th!

For those of you who don't typically celebrate the 12th of April, or are even, dare I say it, ignorant to the nature of the holiday, let me be the first to congratulate you with a happy 50 year anniversary of "The Day of the First Man in Space!"
Billboards like these have been up for weeks in our neighborhood:
(April 12th: World-wide Day of Aviation and Astronautics - Congratulations)
At many of the universities where we work, students are quick to ask us who we think was the first person in space - a Russian or an American. You can probably guess the answer just by the way the question is asked... But just as Neil Armstrong's first step onto lunar territory, as well as his epic words on that occasion have formed a critical part of the American identity, so it is with Yuri Gagarin, the USSR's national hero, the very first man to burst into the unknown showing definitively that the sky was no longer the limit to human progress. April 12th marks a pivotal moment n…

The Way Things Work...

We recently started teaching English at Moscow's Sports' University on the far north side of the city (just under an hour and a half commute from where we live.) Our first week there, we were given a tour of their enormous facility, complete with separate gyms and equipment for over 40 different types of sports for students there. While we work primarily with students in the volleyball department (yes, that's right, you can declare “Volleyball” as your major at this university,) I believe many of Russia's future professional athletes study here now. Most students dream to go on to the professional sport world, while others will become future coaches or trainers. I am still a bit curious what kinds of classes are offered for students here, however, 5 years of volleyball seems like a substantial amount of time in class... Their chalkboards are field diagrams with magnets for different players and positions. I'd like to take an exam here just to see what it'…
Every time I think I have Russia figured out it surprises me. I've asked students about the complexities of the Russian psyche, seen the variations in the Russian landscape, and attempted all sorts of ways of collecting a package at the Russian post office. One of the best windows into understanding Russia itself has been by looking at their history. Each day I walk outside my apartment I'm reminded, just by the architecture, of all the faces that Russia has had in the last hundred years. Here's a picture that I took in downtown Moscow.
The contrast of the Russian orthodox church, the European-style apartments in the foreground, the large Stalinesque monstrosity, the concrete condos, and the newly constructed western skyscrapers in the background remind me that Russia is changing all the time and her people are running to keep up.

Liquid Milky Way

Are you tired of chewing your candy bars?
Do the layers of chocolate and caramel being broken down by your bicuspids take time and energy away from your enjoyment of your treat of choice?
Don't you hate how chewing your candy bar annoyingly negates the calorie intake for consuming it in the first place?
Do you ever wish you could just sip on your candy bar at your leisure rather than chewing precious minutes of your day away?
We have the product for you: Drinkable Mars bar!
That's right, available now in your grocer's refrigerated section: Drinkable Mars bar. The perfect pick for anyone who's ready for the easiest possible way to enjoy fine Mars products.

I'll drink to that!