Tag Archives: snow

Dog Sledding

10 Mar

Please excuse me while I get this out of the way:  OH.MY.GOD.I.WENT.DOG.SLEDDING!!!

So, yeah, last weekend I went to the town of Dmitrov where I went dog sledding in the forest.  I was pulled by seven adorable, eager-to-run huskies (Siberian and Japanese!) on a fifteen minute ride.  Despite my nervousness, I managed to stay on the sled and enjoyed the ride thoroughly.  I also learned that when huskies want to run, they make sounds like I have never heard before.

Here is a video of the start of my ride (thanks, Heath!!!).  You can hear the dogs crying while waiting for me to step off the brake.

And, finally, some photos of the dogs, me on the sled, and some shots of the forest and fire where we waited while the others had their adventures.

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!

Not Ready

25 Oct

So, I drafted a post with a brief catch up since daily life has been so busy that I have not posted in awhile.  Before I had a chance to publish it, though, this happened:

Do you see that four-letter word between rain and wind?  Not only does it appear in tomorrow’s forecast, but Ben and a couple of friends have actually seen snowflakes in the past two days.  This was not supposed to happen yet!  It was another two weeks before I reported snow last year.

I have certainly learned that complaining does not change the weather, but I cannot help it.  Once it starts, we are talking six months of snow boots and layers and freezing faces.

The good news is that next week I get to take a vacation/conference trip to a place where the forecast for tomorrow is 13 degrees C (55.4 degrees F) and sunny.

If Moscow is bumping up its timeline, then so am I.  I am taking this as a sign that I should watch Love Actually while drinking tea, curled up on the couch this weekend.  It’s the little things that get us through the long Russian winter.

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!

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

до свидания!


Baby, It’s Cold Outside

23 Jan

“So, how cold is it today?”

“Right now: -18… But that’s if you’re in a corner, away from the wind. With the wind, who knows?”

That was part of a conversation that took place this afternoon after I spent 25 minutes outside supervising recess. For those of you keeping track in Fahrenheit, that would be -0.4 degrees. We have yet to reach the too-cold-for-outside-time temperature, though.

I am pretty surprised how quickly I have adjusted to the snow, though. It is EVERYWHERE and most of the time I don’t even stop to think about it now. Fortunately, I still can appreciate how beautiful it is when it is falling in big, fluffy snowflakes. I have managed to stay on my feet after my first fall, but have had a few little slides making me extra cautious.

I can also now truly appreciate warm-clothing. In addition to the standard items (down jacket, gloves/mittens, scarves, and hats), I have discovered the need for tights, leggings,  legwarmers, and boot socks. These are no longer simply fun parts of my wardrobe, they are worn daily since I cannot wear jeans to work and end up wearing a lot of skirts and dresses. Even with jeans or pants something must be worn under them and sometimes long johns won’t fit. A couple layers of tights and leggings, combined with boot socks really helps. Do I sometimes look silly walking around with socks pulled up over my knees? Yes. However, if my knees are a little warmer then it is worth the silliness.

I am trying not to over-post about the cold, but there are some days when it really is a major factor in our everyday life here and I think it’s worth mentioning. The good news is that this post was typed in our warm apartment, so at the end of the day we have a great place to relax and thaw out.

до свидания!

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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