Tag Archives: out-and-about

El Ten Eleven in Moscow

12 Nov

Music is pretty important to Ben and me, both individually and as a couple.  It even played a big role in how we first met many years ago.  We still listen to music at home all of the time, but we don’t go out to see live shows like we used to.

When I found out that El Ten Eleven were going to be finishing up their European tour in Moscow, I knew that we had to be there.  We saw them play many, many times in California, but never expected to see them over here.  Their music is fantastic recorded, but it is beyond amazing to see it created live.

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The venue, Masterskaya, was a very small bar/cafe/club that was located on the second floor of a building very close to Red Square.  The building contains quite the collection of establishments: first floor has a cafe that apparently turns into a dance club late at night, third floor has a hotel, and fourth floor yet another club.

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It was so nice to get out there and enjoy something that used to be such a big part of our lives.  I don’t know how often we’ll go see live music while we are here, but I do hope that it can be at least an occasional occurrence.

See below for a mini-gallery of El Ten Eleven rocking out and then go check out their music.

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Are You Ready for Some Football?

29 Sep

Disclaimer: while “football” typically refers to soccer in European countries, in this case I do mean American football.

Ben and I aren’t exactly what you would call football fans, but the further away we are from the sport the more appealing it seems.  When we lived in Gainesville, it was impossible to avoid all-things-Gators, but in California it was less common and pretty fun to occasionally see a blue-and-orange sticker or t-shirt.  Here in Moscow, though, running into fellow Gators is pretty exciting.  And it does happen: at my school alone I have a co-worker, two parents, and two older siblings of current students who all went to UF.

So, two weeks ago Ben and I decided we were in the mood for some college football.  A little searching turned up that there was not one, but two bars in the city that were advertising the Gators vs. Hurricanes game.  We rounded up a small group of friends and enjoyed a little bit of American-culture here in Russia.

Apparently this intrigued one of our Russian friends enough that he went out and discovered that Moscow has an American football league.  This league means business: they offered Tim Tebow $1 million to come play two games, but he turned down the offer.

Naturally, we had to see what this was all about.  So, yesterday, we bundled up (it is COLD out!) and went to Torpedo stadium to see Black Storm take on the Moscow Patriots in a semifinals match.  It. Was. AWESOME.

American Football in Moscow

Pyrotechnics During Introductions

They weren’t necessarily the most skilled players, with few successful passes and players slipping in the mud before they could even be tackled sometimes, but the basics were all there.  I have never seen so many yellow flags thrown, sometimes they were even tossed when NO ONE WAS MOVING.  Ben mentioned that usually in Moscow we are in situations in which we have no idea what is happening, but this time we totally knew the rules.

American Football in Moscow

In Action

Not knowing anything about the teams, we all went in without allegiances.  Ben decided early on to support the Patriots because he liked their use of orange smoke in their intro.  I held off until halfway through the first quarter, eventually settling on Black Storm because they seemed more capable of catching the ball.  Plus, they have a total superhero name.  In the end, Black Storm was victorious and will advance to the finals.  I hope we are there to cheer them on to championship!

Go Black Storm!

Go Black Storm!

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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.


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.


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.

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16 Apr

Springtime in Moscow

It’s been just over two weeks since our last snowfall and it is FINALLY feeling like spring outside.  I am on spring break this week and it could not have come at a better time.  I am thoroughly enjoying the blue skies and sunshine and can already feel a difference in my overall attitude.  I cannot describe how amazing it feels to leave the house without having to put on boots and a puffy jacket.

This photo was taken this afternoon in a park a few blocks from home.  I had already run my errands for the day, but figured if I was going to spend some time reading I really should take advantage of the weather.  There were so many people out, some with baby strollers, others with friends or significant others, and a few out alone like me.  It really is incredible to see the difference in the neighborhood so quickly.

In case the weather was not enough, another reason to feel confident that it’s finally spring is that the city has started painting!  This morning I noticed the smell of paint coming in through the window and, sure enough, when I left home they had started repainting all of the gates and curbs outside my building.  This is an annual event in which bridges, gates, curbs, and statues citywide are given a fresh coat of paint.  It is a major contributor to how beautiful Moscow looks in the spring.  Click here for an example of the freshly painted gates outside my building.

I hope the weather is equally lovely where ever you happen to be reading this. 🙂

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Like Riding a Bicycle

2 Sep

Ben and I went on our first Moscow bike ride this morning!

Our bikes moved across the world with us, but since they were part of the much-delayed shipment we did not receive them until mid-December.  Winter really did not seem like a good time to take them out for a spin and by the time spring rolled around we had a pretty standard routine that did not include bike rides.

We took advantage of the break in the rainy weather to get in a ride today.  Thanks to a broken refrigerator, we were a bit delayed in our departure, but still managed to avoid too many crowds as we rode the sidewalks literally around Moscow’s center.  This is the path that we took, except we entered the ring from a different location (we actually live very close to the ring, so it’s quite convenient).

There are a number of things that I have witnessed as a pedestrian that I did not fully consider when planning a bike ride here.  First, Moscow does not really smooth down the curbs as crossings, so it was a rather bumpy ride.  Second, when crossing many major roads, there are underground walkways to avoid putting in crosswalks/lights.  These are very nice as a pedestrian.  However, I am not particularly good at carrying my bike up and down stairs and there were A LOT of these crossings.  Finally, it can be ridiculously confusing trying to stay on one street in Moscow.  Streets change names here a lot and there are also many streets with almost the exact same name in neighborhoods.  There were times during our ride when we had to stop and think about which of probably ten different streets would keep us on the ring.

Despite the fact that I expect my muscles to hate me tomorrow, I am looking forward to doing this ride again.

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Moscow Moviegoing

10 Jul

Sunday was an exciting day: we went to the movies.

This has been on the “To Figure Out” list for awhile, but apparently all we needed was for Wes Anderson to release a new movie.

The Moscow Times lists current showings along with the language format on their website. While big Hollywood blockbusters tend to be dubbed in Russian only, some movies can be found in their original language with Russian subtitles or, as in the case of one theater, dubbed in Russian through special headsets. Moonrise Kingdom fell into the original-language-with-subtitles category. Admittedly, there was still a concerned whisper of, “Ben, what do we do if it is in Russian?” right before the movie began. Fortunately, it all worked out since Ben’s response was a sighed, “I don’t know.”

The movie was FANTASTIC and the overall experience was great. We went to the Novokuznetskaya location of пять звезд (Five Stars) theater. We found it with little difficulty and managed to buy tickets and figure out the seating/theater arrangement easily enough. I don’t expect it to be an every day activity, but it was certainly a nice way to spend the afternoon.

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Out for a Walk

27 May

With no destination in mind, Ben and I went for a walk yesterday afternoon to enjoy the beautiful weather. I think I have mentioned this before, but we love our neighborhood. We haven’t taken nearly enough time to explore, though, and hope to remedy that this summer. All of these photos were taken along our walk and the furthest we went was about 2 km/1.25 miles towards city center. 

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Novodevichy Cemetery, Convent, and Pond

20 May

Today was spent at the Novodevichy Cemetery, Convent, and Pond. The weather was warm, but beautiful and made for an enjoyable excursion. I decided that the only way this blog would be posted tonight was if I made it light on words, but heavy on photos, so if you would like more information about the cemetery or convent use the links above.

The tombs below include Nikita Khrushchev, Alexander Lebed, Raisa Gorbachova, Sergei Eisenstein, Peter Kropotkin, Anton Chekhov, Nikolai Gogol, Constantin Stanislavski, and Boris Yeltsin.

Here are the photos!

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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…

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Moscow Fun

22 Feb


Just a post to share some of the things that we have been up to lately.


A couple weeks ago we met some friends for a trip to a Moscow Market and a forest walk through Kuzminky Park to dinner.  Despite the very cold temperature, it was a nice change of pace to be in the forest.  Being surrounded by so many trees made it easy to forget the bustling city around us.  This picture was taken just before we left the park.  You cannot see it very well, but there is a significant gathering of ice in Ben’s mustache and beard here.

Photo by Ryan Burg

Last weekend Ben proved how insane brave he is by taking a dip into a lake… in Moscow… in February.  Our friend received an invitation to go with someone who swims twice a week and invited Ben along.  Never one to turn down a challenge or new experience, Ben packed his bag and headed off.  Fortunately he had someone to tell him an appropriate length of time to stay in the water, so he survived with only positive things to say about the experience.  We are used to calling individuals who do this Polar Bears, but in Russia they are Walruses, or Penguins if they are particularly thin.  I believe that this makes him just a little bit more Russian.

Photo by Imanni Wilkes-Burg

This week I am on break from school and enjoying the down time.  Today I had an appointment next door to Katie O’Shea’s, so Ben and I had lunch and drinks there.  Since I have been sick for about a week and lost my voice yesterday, I went with a couple glasses of hot mulled wines instead of beer.  I definitely left feeling better than when I arrived.  This was our second time to the pub and we will definitely be back.

Hot Mulled Wine

Classy Signage

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