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California Adventure

4 Nov

When we realized that the wedding of a very close friend happened to be the first day of my Autumn Break at work, Ben and I made plans to head back to Southern California for a week.  It was the first time that I had been there in over two years, when we returned for another wedding shortly after our move to Moscow.  I cannot explain how amazing it was to be back there.  I feel so lucky to have lived in such an unbelievably beautiful place for seven years.

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The wedding took place at a retreat in Escondido, California.  We only went to Escondido once when we lived in California, to visit the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, so we really didn’t know what to expect.  We arrived very late on Friday night, after dark, so it wasn’t until we woke up the next morning and drove back down the mountain into town that we realized how incredibly gorgeous it was.  We spent the few hours before the wedding catching up with old friends, meeting new people, and walking the grounds.  The wedding was beautiful and perfect.  I am so happy that we were invited to be part of such a special occasion.

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We drove up to Orange County Saturday night, after the wedding.  Two of our best friends were kind enough to let us crash in their guestroom for the rest of our stay.  We spent the next four days enjoying amazing food and good company.  In particular, we ate lots of Mexican food and drank good beer, two of the things that we miss the most.  We also tried a doissant, which is the non-trademarked name of a croissant-doughnut hybrid pastry.  We checked out Muzeo’s exhibit on the leather jacket, visited our storage unit, did some shopping, and caught up with friends.  Overall, it was an amazing trip.

California is somewhere that I think I will always consider to be one of my homes.  I moved there after graduating from college and getting married, joining Ben a year after he moved.  It is where we built our adult lives together and I have so many fond memories from our time there.  I am looking forward to the next time that we have the chance to visit.

до свидания!

 

How I Spent My Summer Vacation: Part One

17 Aug

This summer feels like it just flew by.  It was a bit shorter than last year, but it was also significantly busier.  It was filled with travel and visitors, family and friends.  I have split this post into three parts in order to share photos.  This is the first of the three posts!

Like last year, I started my summer with a trip back to Florida.  It was a great two weeks spent eating, drinking, shopping, and relaxing with family and friends.  When I think about being so far away from my family during the year, I try to remember that being able to dedicate a full two weeks to vacation with them is one of the perks of living over here.

I did change my permanent residency in the States over to Florida during this trip.  I am now a licensed driver by the state of Florida.  Naturally, soon after I had that I signed up for a library card in my old county system.

One thing that my mom and I did this trip was to spend an afternoon at Vino Van Gogh painting owls and sipping wine.  It was so much fun and gave me a chance to paint for the first time in a few years.  Every time I sit down with a canvas I remember how much I love it and how much I have missed it.  I definitely would like to do this again.

It seems that I didn’t get all of the photos from my parents, but I don’t want to put this off any longer, so here are just a few photos from the trip.

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Friendship Is Magic

16 Jun

Ben and I were fortunate enough to have some friends visit Moscow recently.  They are friends that we met when living in Southern California, though they have also found new homes outside of Orange County.  It was so much fun to spend time with them here and to show them the city that we now call home.

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Photo courtesy of Remy and Svetlana

We did some sight-seeing, hitting Red Square (I actually went into St. Basil’s and GUM this time and we saw Lenin!), the Arbat, the Moscow Museum of Modern Art, and the Museum of Soviet Arcade Machines.  Much food was consumed.  Many stories and laughs were shared.

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Horseradish and Honey Vodka!

Between this visit, my sister and brother-in-law’s visit, and my trips to London and St. Louis, year two has offered me the chance to catch up in-person with some really amazing friends and family.  We have definitely made incredible friends here in Moscow, but having time with all of these people has been really important.  During our first year I didn’t leave Russia between October 2011 and June 2012.  It was too much of a separation from life back in the States.  I am certainly anxious to get back to Florida again this summer to see more family and friends, but having time throughout the year to connect with people really has made a difference in my enjoyment of living here.

More photos below!

And, yes, I did reference My Little Pony in the title of this post.

до свидания!