Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wait, what? I'm In Russia? Yes, yes you are.

Guess it's time for another update; it's only been like... oh, three weeks.  Wow, sorry about that I didn't realize it had been so long.  But, here it comes so grab onto your britches it's gonna be a bumpy ride. ;)

So, I went on a four day trip to Moscow with the teachers about two weeks ago and that was A-maz-ing!  I can't believe I'm actually in Russia, it keeps hitting me.  What kinda moments make that fact stand out in my mind?  Let's see... 
~When I found myself at five o'clock in the morning in a cold, gray, cigarette and sweat stenched train station full of men holding flowers of every color waitin for their special woman to arrive on Woman's Day. That was pretty neat. ~When I found myself paying 20 rubles to squat over a hole in the ground in time of dire need to relieve myself of the 3 bottles of water I drank during an 8 hour, overnight bus ride. (I can't get over the fact that I had to pay to squat over a hole!)
~When I was walking through the underground metro station with marble floors, and statues of past presidents and rulers, surrounded by walls painted in the 1700's, illuminated by gold and crystal chandeliers. 
~I noticed I was in Russia when the servers at McD's went around telling people to leave so new customers could have a seat. (Crowded would be more than an understatement, and the fact that they have cheese sauce with their fries instead of ketchup... gross.)
~When I found myself buying a 30 cent candle to light and offer with the hundreds of other flickering prayers.
~I knew I was in Russia when I realized that I had seen over one hundred cathedrals in 3 days.  Needless to say, cathedrals are more prevalent than fire hydrants in the U.S..

Three Cathedrals and me :)

How many Cathedrals do you see in this one?  I spot 4.

~I realized I was in Russia when we got breakfast at Cinnabon and they started playing thriller, of all songs :) over the speakers because they knew we were American.
~When a man in a street market started throwing fur Ushonka after Ushonka on my head telling me they were real fur, offering me a price, telling me I look beautiful, tearing it off and putting on another one that makes me look "even more beautiful", offering a cheaper price, and lowering it again, and again after every attempt at me saying, "I don't want it, I don't want it."  (Sometimes you have to bargain reeeeal hard with these people, and sometimes they'll do all the bargaining for you!)  P.S. Ushonka's are the traditional Russian fur hats that have flaps to cover your ears.
~I knew I was in Russia when I lost interest in looking at Russian Nesting Dolls haha (Which when I was a kid were extremely fascinating).

The group of teachers from Moscow we toured Vladimir, and Suzdal with!

Blini For Breakfast! With Sour Cream and Home Made Plum Jam :)

~I knew I was in Russia when I found myself running up hills of snow to slide down them on my behind in attempt to warm up from a full day of walking, only to find that that makes your bum a lot more cold. Definitely still worth it though :)
~I realized I was in Russia when I had pancakes for dinner with sour cream on them :) which actually tastes really good!
~When I was walking through Christ the Savior Cathedral looking at immaculate baroque carvings, paintings and statues of gold.  When I found myself surrounded by religious people grasping the cross that hung from their neck, crying and kissing pictures of Jesus.

All of us Teachers Jumpin for joy :)  in front of Christ the Savior Cathedral.

Awesome/random ice sculpture we found.
We had SO MUCH fun at this park!! :)  Got hot enough playing that I took my coat off.  You have NO idea how nice it was to take that thing off while I was outside.  I pretty much live in it.

 ~ I also realized I was in Russia when I visited the WWII Museum and found a Long hall of Chains hanging from the ceiling leading to a huge room with more hanging chains.  Each one represents ten Russian Lives lost during the war.  I can't explain the feelings that overwhelmed me when I saw this.
Deaths: 130,000,000 Soviet Union.  420,000 American.

~And I knew I was in Russia when I was walking through St. Basil's Cathedral (The one that looks like a bunch of colorful upside down onions) and the ethereal sound of a choir of men filled the towers and spun around me.  I found myself scurrying around through hallways only to realize that the source of the perfectly beautiful harmony was Only three men-exemplifying the marvelous acoustics of the towers.

... And SO many other things.  I could go on, and on, and on..... and on!

You would think that with all of these constant reminders my head would know I was in Russia by now but still everyday it hits me just like the first.


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