Skip to main content

Out for a Stroll

When asking Russian students what they like to do in their free time, you get some general responses, watch movies, listen to music, hang out with friends, but also, walking.  Walking? There are Russian verbs ходить or идти which connote a certain direction or goal in traveling by foot, but there is also a Russian verb, гулять, which means simply to take a walk – without a certain direction or goal, but just to promenade, to go for a stroll, generally with the company of friends or family. In fact, kids here don't come over and ask if their friends can come out and play, they ask if their friends can come out for a walk. It took me a while to get used to гулятьing. Hiking in Colorado, even though I go for the company and experience, often my companions and I have some sort of goal: get to the top of such and such a mountain, see a particular waterfall or other beautiful sight, get to the end of a certain trail. When my friend, Masha, called and invited me to go for a walk, I asked, “where to?” “No, Rachel,” she said, “just to go for a walk!” The “where to” is not important – the important thing is simply to walk together, to enjoy time together, to be outside on the streets of the city, to take in the sights, but more simply, to talk and enjoy one another. Russians can walk for hours at a time, with stamina for the physical endeavor but also the deep conversation and connection throughout the walk. I have to admit for all of my running and love of sports, I lack endurance in walking. I find myself anticipating some sort of reward for the walk – Coffee? Chocolate? Sitting? - rather than recognizing that the walk in and of itself is the reward. Exploring with friends, talking deeply, and in a sense, awakening new friendships and strengthening old ones seems reward in and of itself. Walking lies at the heart of true Russian friendships. There were years where talking inside may have restricted one's freedom to communicate what he/she may have been truly thinking. Deeper, freer, truer conversations took place outside. The real issues emerge and dreams and hearts are shown for what they are.  Now that temperatures are warming up (slowly but surely,) the walking season begins again.  See you out there!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Maple Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Don't like brussel sprouts? No worries, these don't taste a thing like them! Our children asked for second (and third) helpings and as Dan remarked, they easily outshone everything else on the table. We took them to our Thanksgiving dinner as well as a Christmas party as they travel and reheat surprisingly well and complemented those more traditional dishes.

Ingredients:
2 slices bacon
1 lb. brussel sprouts (thawed if frozen) sliced in half
1/2 an onion sliced into thin loops
Salt and pepper to season
3 TB maple syrup 3 TB apple cider vinegar *optional
1/4 cup raisins *optional

Directions:
If using raisins, put them in a cup with the apple cider vinegar and set aside. (Raisins can soak over night for brighter flavor.)

In a cast iron skillet, cook 2 slices of bacon over medium heat. Remove bacon from pan to crumble once cool.

Using the hot bacon grease, add brussel sprouts and onion slices to the skillet and immediately season with salt and pepper. Adjust heat to medium low if…

Great-Pa

At the time, it tasted like the perfect combination of spicy salsa over scrambled eggs, just the way I liked it.
But now, I can see, it's not only enduring 8 ruckus cousins piled on the floor for the summer,  but making their favorite breakfasts for them each day.
At the time, it was glimmer of the holiday decorations around the house;  the lantern and lights were always bright, inviting, always welcoming to me.
But now, it's a man who fought for the right to celebrate holidays in this country  whatever way we please, and embraces that right.
At the time, it was the delight of finding the extra few treats on  Halloween that appeared in my pumpkin and seeing the hand which slipped them in.
But now, it's a man who is generous and kind to his children's children.
At the time, it was the joy of walking from Holly Hills to have candy with Grandpa after school instead of going home to carrots and apples.
But now, it's a man who enjoys life and enjoys making life more enjoyable.
At the…

Зарядки

Зарядки or “morning exercises” were a part of every good Soviet's morning routine. It's a tradition that continues to live on in most Russians' ideal schedule, particularly when traveling or vacationing in a new place. Hotels, camps, resorts all offer their vacationers morning exercise before breakfast each day. I decided that this would be a fun “optional” activity for our summer project, and apparently so did several other Summer Project participants - I was shocked when nearly 15 people showed up on our first morning! Every morning at 7:30, the brave fitness gurus and I would run together to the rocky shores of the sea for a 30 minute exercise routine I'd planned out the night before. We did just about every exercise I could think of, including, but not limited to the following: stretching, running, skipping, jumping, lunging, balancing, squating, push-ups, tricep raises, calf raises, holding a plank, leg extensions, wall sits, obstacle courses, and just about anyth…