Tag Archives: holidays

Hello, 2014!

1 Jan

С Новым Годом! Happy New Year!

NYE Shoes

See those sneakers? And the lack of snow on the ground? That was NYE day in Moscow this year. Very strange.

Without a doubt, 2013 was an amazing year.  I am giving in and posting a little round up of some of the highlights shared here on the blog.

I didn’t keep up my blog-related resolution for 2013 to post more frequently and regularly, but that isn’t going to stop me from trying again this year.  If all goes according to plan, 2014 should bring many more posts here on Ivanna the Terriblog.  It’s too easy to get caught up in life and forget that I am living in an incredible city with unbelievably beautiful sites and amazing things happening every day.  The more I post the more I take the time to appreciate these moments.

I hope you all had a wonderful New Year’s Eve and that 2014 is great year.  Thanks for reading and sharing this adventure.

до свидания!

Victory Day

11 May

This past Thursday, the 9th of May, was Victory Day here in Russia, a day that commemorates the capitulation of Nazi Germany to the Soviet Union in 1945.  This is a major holiday here, like a whole-city-shuts-down, parades-with-tanks sort of holiday.

Since we live about a block and a half from the parade route, Ben and I walked out to see it as it passed our neighborhood. We managed to get a great spot right along the railing and only had to wait a few minutes before the first set of helicopters flew over head.  They were followed by some jets and planes, all heading towards Red Square.  This must have marked the end of the ceremony that occurred there.  Within a few minutes after the last set of planes flew overhead, the parade started rolling past us, headed away from the Red Square ceremony.

Here’s a brief video I shot:

I’ll let the photos below do most of the explaining, but the short summary is: WOW.  I asked Ben afterwards if this is just Russia’s way of saying, “Don’t eff with us – this is only what we bring out for parades.”  We could feel some of these vehicles before they even passed our line of site.  It was worth watching at least once while we are here.

до свидания!

Moscow with H&K: Part One

6 Feb

So. Many. Photos.   While this is definitely a good thing, it also means that it is going to take some time to sort through it all.  I have decided to share photos and stories from our vacation in pieces.  Hope you enjoy!

As much fun as it was to explore St. Petersburg, I was so excited to show Heather and Kevin where we live.

These photos are from the first part of our time in Moscow, from 30 December to 2 January.  We spent our time exploring, eating, and lounging; finding plenty of time for all three.  Some of the highlights from these days were dinners at Taras Bulba and Khachapuri, drinks at Help Bar and Dolka Bar, a metro tour (this will have its own post), taking a midnight stroll on New Year’s Eve, and visiting the main collection at the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts.

This post is overdue, so here are the photos!

Reminder: the photos are a mix of all of our photos, so big thanks to Ben, Heather, and Kevin for their contributions.  See below for the gallery!

до свидания!

St. Petersburg: Part One

11 Jan

So. Many. Photos.   While this is definitely a good thing, it also means that it is going to take some time to sort through them all.  I have decided to share photos and stories from our vacation in pieces.  Hope you enjoy!

Ben and I took a late afternoon train to St. Petersburg on Christmas Eve.  Trains leave from Moscow for St. Petersburg, and vice-versa, close to every few minutes.  The specific length of time varies, but most are approximately four or eight hours.  We selected one of the four hour departures that would arrive after Heather and Kevin, giving them a chance to settle everything with the rental flat and rest a bit.  After we got in, we chatted and enjoyed a nice holiday toast of Havana Club rum.  Why not celebrate being out of the States with something you cannot have in the States?

On the train to St. Petersburg

On the train to St. Petersburg

Christmas day was spent at the Hermitage.  We visited the collection housed in the Winter Palace, which is part of Palace Square.  We spent probably five hours there and still only saw about one-third of the collection.  Ben and I have been saving many of these museums and sites, anticipating having family and friends visit.  The Hermitage is one that we can easily visit again and not feel like we are seeing the same thing over and over.  Not only was the artwork itself amazing, but since it is housed in the Winter Palace, the rooms themselves are artwork, rich in history.

Inside the courtyard of the Winter Palace

Inside the courtyard of the Winter Palace

We were all pretty exhausted by the end of the day and decided to find dinner on the walk back.  We ended up at Gogol and I don’t think we could have planned a better first dinner out in Russia.  Excellent food and atmosphere, with an English-friendly staff and menu.  Designed to be the flat of a writer in the 19th century, each room is themed.  We were seated in the Reception room.  We all enjoyed our soups and main courses, but the highlight was the vodka.  Heather tried to order the homemade spicy horseradish vodka only to be told it was not available.  A short time later another server came out to let her know that it was now available if she still wanted some.  At that point, we all ended up ordering it and not one of us regretted it.  Not my first horseradish vodka, and not even the only one of the vacation, but definitely the best I’ve had.

Reception Room at Gogol
(Photo from Restaurant’s Website)

We don’t have too many photos from these two days, but this is a pretty good place to stop for now.  The photos are a mix of all of our photos, so big thanks to Ben, Heather, and Kevin for their contributions.  See below for the gallery!

до свидания!

Happy New Year!

6 Jan

Midnight Kiss

С Новым Годом!

Happy New Year!

This is a week late since I spent the past two weeks enjoying a wonderful vacation with my sister and brother-in-law.  We tackled St. Petersburg and Moscow with many museums visited, sites seen, drinks drank, and food eaten.  Heather and Kevin left in the wee-hours of the morning today and they are already missed greatly.

I will soon begin sorting through the hundreds of photos we managed to take between the four of us and sharing our adventures over a series of posts.

I hope that the new year is off to a great start for all of you!

до свидания!

Super Excited Post

17 Dec

This is pretty much just to share how excited I am that a week from today I will get to see my sister and brother-in-law in RUSSIA!  They are going to be our first guests and I cannot wait.  We will get to spend the holidays together and I expect to see more of Moscow while they are here than I have in the year and a half that we’ve lived here.  Plus, we are spending part of their visit in St. Peterburg and I have not been there yet.

We have talked about this trip since Ben accepted his job offer, but it’s hard to believe it is finally happening.  I am really looking forward to sharing this part of our lives with them.  I am also glad that they are crazy enough to visit during winter.  Last year I posted about how I expected the holidays to be very different, and they certainly were.  This year will be different also, but I am looking forward to having two more family members with us to celebrate.

If I haven’t mentioned it before, I love my family.  They are super supportive and loving and they go out of their way to do things for us.  For example, I can send an e-mail to my sister and my mom letting them know that if a peanut butter banana or smokehouse BBQ potato chip chocolate bar made it to Russia I wouldn’t complain and not only do they not make fun of me, but they actually check multiple stores for them!

So, except updates again soon with photos from our adventures.

Oh, and, in case you were wondering dear sister and brother-in-law, this morning was -19 degrees C (-2 degrees F) with a real-feel of -24 degrees C (-11 degrees F).  See you next week!

до свидания!

Winter is Coming

30 Nov

So, I began drafting this post a few days ago.  At that time, my “winter is coming” reference* was totally appropriate.  However, it appears that winter has now arrived.  This Washington Post article from yesterday details the snow storm that has left our city covered in snow and ice.  In one day, we had over half the snowfall of a typical November!

Needless to day, my puffy jacket and snow boots are back in the game.

Before all of this craziness began, we celebrated American Thanksgiving last week with some friends.  We have gone for fairly non-traditional meals the past two years.  Last year we went to a North Korean restaurant and this year we went to a Georgian restaurant.  If I’m not having stuffing and gravy, I might as well be having khachapuri.

Signs of the upcoming holiday season are all over now, too.  New Year’s trees and decorations are everywhere, which is always an amusing mix of Russian and western-influenced details.  We don’t have too many decorations with us, but the few that are here are up now, too.  I am extra excited about the holidays this year since we will get to spend them with two of my favorite people: my sister and brother-in-law!

X-mas Sock Monkey

до свидания!

* As some of you may have gathered from the subject, Ben and I have been watching “Game of Thrones” and we just finished watching the second season last weekend.  SO. GOOD.  I sure hope that our version of winter does not include any White Walkers!

Christmas in Moscow

25 Dec

Today Ben and I celebrated Christmas in Moscow, or they call it in Russia – Sunday. It was very strange to think that such a special day for us was not noteworthy to the rest of the city. The part that made it more odd than being here during Thanksgiving is the fact that we are surrounded by familiar holiday decorations, but they are all New Year’s decorations, including the New Year’s trees and images of Father Frost. We’ll get the full holiday experience a week from now, I guess.

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Here Come the Holidays

22 Nov

We are entering what is, hands down, my favorite time of the year.

In the past, I would have celebrated Thanksgiving with loved ones and then taken my x-mas tree out of the closet and spent Friday decorating it. I would have searched the Internet, malls, and various shops for the perfect gifts to wrap and place under the tree or mail out across the country. Pumpkin Spice Lattes would be consumed with a dear friend while wearing scarves and hand-warmers in the brisk Southern California winter.

This year is different, though. 

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