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Two Years!

27 Aug

Ben and I have now been living in Moscow for two years.

A year ago, I posted about my hopes that year two would be easier than year one.  I can say without a doubt that this was true.  There were only a handful of things that we had to do for the first time and we were able to really enjoy life here without as much stress as we experienced during the first year.

During year two we took our bikes out, I started getting my haircut at a salon, Ben found a place to workout, we traveled so much that I became a frequent flyer, we had more visitors than I can possibly link to, I went DOG SLEDDING, we visited two of the three Baltic states, we saw tanks and various other military vehicles roll down the street on Victory Day, we survived ten days without any hot water, and so much more.  Basically, we really had the chance to fall in love with Moscow.

We don’t know what year three will be like.  That’s kind of the thing about Moscow: you never know what to expect.  I am, of course, hopeful that the trend continues and we will enjoy living here even more this year.  I am looking forward to sharing another year’s worth of adventures and anecdotes.

до свидания!

Catching Up

3 Apr

So, March came and went.  Since it was a busy month, I thought I would catch up on some noteworthy parts.

I spent my first nights alone in Moscow last month.  Ben had a conference that brought him back to Southern California, so Nebbie and I held down the fort here.  It was definitely lonely, but between work, school, and friends we kept busy and made it through.  Unfortunately, it won’t be the last time.  We’ve both taken work and family trips alone since we’ve been married, but now that we are “international” they seem to be a bit longer.

While he was in California, I was invited to join a group from the school on an excursion to Sergiyev Posad, which is located outside Moscow, about an hour and a half trip from where I live.  I previously traveled to Sergiyev Posad to visit Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, the spiritual center of the Russian Orthodox church, but this trip was quite different.  Once we arrived we had a blini breakfast before heading out for a troika (horse drawn sleigh) ride into the forest.  There, we were greeted with a bonfire, snacks, drinks, and sledding.  This was a big day for me: I went sledding for the first time.  It was awesome.  The photos below capture both my first and second sledding experiences (sledding photos courtesy of Jacqulyn).  After a lovely afternoon outdoors, we went to a small banya which consisted of alternating between a ridiculously hot sauna and either rolling around in the snow in only a bathing suit or taking a dip in the freezing cold pool.  I have to admit, after the heat of the sauna, it felt pretty nice to roll around in that snow, but couldn’t bring myself to go any further than waist-deep into the pool.  We ate a delicious home-cooked Russian dinner and headed back to Moscow.  I’m looking forward to going again next year and bringing Ben along.


We ended the month by gathering a few friends and going bowling last Saturday.  Last summer we looked into the bowling scene in Moscow and read that there was a surge in interest after “The Big Lebowski” was released.  Having lived here for a little while now this does not surprise me.  The bowling alley looked exactly like night-bowling at any American bowling alley with black lights and neon colors.  All of the balls were American (weight in lbs) and they used Brunswick software and fixtures.  Add the mostly-American-pop-music soundtrack and for an hour it was easy to forget where we were.  Interestingly, “where we were” was on the third floor of the Metropolis shopping center across from a 13 screen movie theater.  We will be figuring out movie-going this summer: “The Dark Knight Rises” demands it.


And since I always end up discussing the weather, I will conclude with a brief update.  “Spring” officially began here March 1st, but has not really shown itself in the weather.  The past week has brought more sun and a general thawing of the snow build up.  It is unreliable, though (today was quite cold!), but we are headed in the right direction.  The good news is that we aren’t going to see -37 degrees C (-34.6 degrees F) again this season, so we survived our first Russian winter!

And now, on with April…

до свидания!

Six Months!

27 Feb

Dear Moscow,

Happy Anniversary!

Six months ago today, we met.  I remember looking out the window of the airplane and thinking, “Oh. My. God. I am in RUSSIA.”  And now, half a year has past and I still find myself thinking, “Oh. My. God. I am in RUSSIA.”

Over the past six months you have provided a home, great friends, an amazing job, incredible public transportation, tasty food, and random bits of culture and history around every corner.

It hasn’t always been perfect, I know. We have fought and you have made me cry. You can be confusing, overwhelming, and frustrating. It is more than fair to say that most days it feels like we don’t speak the same language and you have literally left me out in the cold on more than one occasion.

We always seem to make it through these tough times, though, and I am looking forward to what the next six months have in store for us.

And while you didn’t have to get me anything, I definitely appreciate the delivery slip from Почта России alerting me that the package my parents sent almost two months ago finally arrived. That was a great gift and I’m so glad that you didn’t go overboard and also deliver the package that my friend sent over two months ago. That would have been too much.

With Love,  Jessica.

One Month

27 Sep

Today marks one month since Ben and I arrived in Moscow.  It’s been a busy month of finding an apartment, starting work, and figuring out how to live here.  We had a huge learning curve when we arrived – everything from navigating the metro system to simply learning how to buy groceries.  By now we have settled  into a daily routine and are using our weekends to relax and explore a little.  We’ve made some friends (including a few with knowledge of the city!) and have been enjoying a bit of social time, as well.   Continue reading