30 August 2013

10: Taste

Wanna know what's awesome? Bruschetta. Bruschetta is awesome. 
Bruschetta chicken is awesome, bruschetta on bread is awesome, and tonight I will be making bruschetta chicken sandwiches for dinner (and cucumber gin and tonics). 

And it's so simple to make! Here's my recipe (though it's nothing special- I'm sure some googling could lead you to an actual recipe by someone who can actually cut a tomato without spraying half the kitchen with tomato juice):

1. Cut up some tomatoes (you can dice them, or you can get crazy and slice them the long way and sprinkle all of the following ingredients on top). Put them in a bowl. 

2. Throw some salt n' peppa in there.

3. Chop up some parsley and/or sprinkle on oregano.

4. And 2-3 of cloves of garlic. Because you should never make anything without garlic.  

5. Grate up a little parmesan (I think you're supposed to use mozzarella or something, but that cannot be found here, so I substituted for what I believe might be parmesan) and sprinkle it into the bowl. 

6. Finally mix all your ingredients with a couple spoonfuls of olive oil (not too much) and then throw it all into the oven for 10-15 minutes. 

*Make sure you toast the bread for a couple minutes at some point. Add some balsamic if you like after they've been assembled. 

I usually serve these alongside a plate of sauteed broccoli (which I weirdly love) so as not to feel bad about the chocolate and nacho chips I have inevitably been eating in bed all day. 


29 August 2013

9: A Selfie

I'm still following this photography challenge, though slightly out of order. I've never been very good about following creative assignments. In college, I thought it was sooo cool to perform my own "interpretations" of creative writing or photography assignments and turn in whatever I had wanted to anyway. Not that much has changed. 

Anyway, "selfies" are such odd things. Even the term- selfie. Like, how old am I? What am I doing standing in front of a mirror, taking a picture of myself, and adding an -ie to the end of the finished result? And mine never turn out right: like oh, here I am on my way to my Russian lesson, never mind the gross finger prints on the glass or the hair spray bottle in the foreground. But alas, I tried. 

It kind of reminds me how when I was in college and having a good hair day, I'd stand outside my dorm, smoking cigarettes and tossing my hair around, hoping everyone I knew would just walk by and see me. I even remember one of my college girl friends Eve storming into my room on a Saturday night declaring we needed to go out to a party we had already decided wouldn't be worth the walk because she had been sitting in her room for hours eating powdered donuts and watching smoky eye makeup tutorials and had finally mastered the "sultry evening look" and wanted to show it off. 

Maybe if we'd just had instagram then, I would never have needed to end my "Gilmore Girls" marathon to drink keg beer at an oddly nicknamed house. Sigh. 

26 August 2013

8: Play

As our two-year anniversary approaches, I've been buying up presents like a storm, and subsequently feeling totally tormented about waiting half a month to give them to Ben. I even locked them in my school locker, not because Ben will go looking for them, but because I will inevitably have a meltdown and try to give them to him and if they're an hour away, I'm less likely to follow through. 

But! I did find these Uno cards, and while they were intended for an anniversary extra, I cracked and broke them out during our staycation. The awesomeness of Uno just could not wait. 

OK, maybe the first time we played was after our Mexican fiesta and I wasn't in my brightest of minds, but after a couple of nights of hardcore Uno playing, I can safely safe I had no effing idea Ben was a secret Uno master. I mean seriously! This kid was ditching his deck like he was doing it his whole life. Every. Time. 

So then I started to get competitive. Thinking a few moves a head. Stra-te-gizzzzing. 
No. Out of like, 60 games, I won twice. Twice! This must be turned around. 

Would it be totally ridiculous and pathetic if I googled "strategies to winning Uno"? 
I won't. 
But I might. 

Ben drunkenly declared that he was the "green king" and I thought it was so funny and awesome, I took this picture to remind myself.

25 August 2013

7: Red

You guys! Look! Mexican food!

Margaritas! With big-kid booze in them (have I mentioned that in Moscow, drinks are around $10 a pop, but rarely have any semblance of liquor in them? Not these babies!)!

A Cuban mariachi band! They were super friendly (and couldn't speak English, couldn't speak Russian, so we had to speak Spanish!) and sang us looove songs.

Their summer menu. The C's are pronounced like S's, and the m's are t's. Can you find the "Salad" section?

Oh, what a delicious little find. I'm not gonna lie here, eating out in Moscow is a  n i g h t m a r e. The drinks are weak. The service is so terrible, it'd make your average American midwesterner's blood boil. Literally boil. The food is mediocre at best. And it's always going to be the most expensive dinner you've ever had (for example, our little date night raked in a bill in over $100). But, I've gotten much more savvy dealing with Moscow's night life. 

I started really paying attention to the expat papers and insisting Ben and I take them up on their suggestions. I found this little gem tucked away at the bottom of the Food & Entertainment section of The Moscow Times and on Friday night, Ben and I traveled through the city and arrived at this little joint. 

It really was a pleasure. Our waiter could speak English (what???) and insisted on speaking English- it was so weird. But the drinks were nice and strong, the atmosphere was really fun (though I'll give Moscow that-usually good drinking atmospheres everywhere) and enjoyable live music. Ben and I had a good time hanging out and our friends met up with us afterwards. 

It was a very much needed date night (we hadn't been out anywhere really since Munich) and I highly recommend Navarro's to anyone living in Moscow, looking for some yummy Mexican food (they had other stuff on their menu as well, but my eyes saw fajitas and nothing else). If any of my Muscovite readers go, let me know what you think! Cheers!

23 August 2013

6: Diagonals on Date Night

Lounging in bed before date night. 
I found a Latin-American/Mediterranean restaurant in the expat paper a couple days ago and asked Ben out on a date. 
This summer has been an odd one; full of MCAT studies and then inconvenient work schedules. I really took last summer for granted: we spent our days floating in the river, building fires in Ben's parent's backyard with our friends, and spending our nights driving up the mountain to work together at a fancy restaurant. 
But winter is coming and in a week we will be travelling back from the city center to our small school and resume our old schedules. Though I'll miss my co-workers and being in the center so often, I feel like what I've learned the most about myself living here in Moscow is that I enjoy a slower-paced life and it will be a relief to return to such. 

Anyway, I hope you have someone to go out on a date with tonight and if you don't, just take a chance ask out someone rand-o. Ya neeever knoooowwww....

20 August 2013

5: Close Up

Blueberries from the Uzbek stand down the street. 

19 August 2013

4: Love

I guess Ben did have the last entry dedicated to him, but since he always bakes cookies when I ask and never thinks I spend too much money on lip gloss, he gets another one. 

Okay. So this guy shows up after work with some version of the toilet paper I asked for. 
"What the hell is this?"
"It's toilet paper."
"Yeah... but it's yellow and scented toilet paper."
"What's wrong with that?"
"Are you serious? Have we ever used yellow toilet paper before?"
"You didn't tell me not to buy yellow scented toilet paper!"

I can't even get mad at him (though I try). Everything he does is so weird and funny. He is my love.

Attention: So, I've been getting quite a few questions over the past few months ranging from expat life to stuff we eat to more personal questions about my relationship with Ben, but it's been kind of difficult getting back to everyone because of work and general summer laziness. Therefore! If you have a question or something, why don't you ask it here (so you can be anonymous if you'd like) and I'll answer them all at once with a witty video or maybe just a regular post. Cheers!

14 August 2013

3: Yellow

Moscow is so hot in the summer. Like in the winter, the weather here seems to reach into you and pull you apart. It can't be so, but it feels even more intense than the summers I spent in hot Chicago apartments, drinking tequila, and spraying my skin with water bottles hoping just for seconds of relief. Despite my desperation for independence, all too often I found myself on the train back to my parents beautifully air-conditioned house, curled up in my old bedroom, or out by their pool playing volleyball with my brother. Oh, those days. 

Now Ben and I sit by our window and wait for the forever-sun to set, our glasses of wine clutched, our bellies full with grapes and cheese. As soon as the sky darkens, we rush to the porch, suddenly awake. 

I love these nights at home where we sit with our feet up against the window, waiting for breezy winds, drinking, skyping, discussing, wondering. 

I know this isn't a glamourous picture, but it's just actually what my life looks like and I like the dirty corners and the sheets over the window to keep the pigeons out, and my goofy boyfriend and his bright mind. So, this is my yellow. 

12 August 2013

2: Circles

I made this for my big eyed younger brother who is living in New Zealand, climbing mountains with the Māori, and learning the age old technique of being able to tell the difference between good wine and $6 wine apart. 


09 August 2013

1: Breakfast

After a night out of dancing at a patio club in Gorky Park, paying $15 for drinks, and fighting off Russian guys the way you fight off the gypsies outside of the Metro, it's nice to stumble back home in your 4-inch velvet platforms and make your sorry self some good ol' fashioned eggs. 

05 August 2013

Watch: 10 Trips to Take


Gosh, I'm so obsessed with this video. I watched it 20 times before we left for Germany, then downloaded the song and listened to it on repeat as our plane touched down and then when our train soared towards the German alps. Ever since I've moved to Russia, the world has felt so small and conquerable. I just have this new belief in myself, this newborn bravery. If I can live in Russia, I can go anywhere. And suddenly, I just want to go everywhere. I need to. The world fascinates me, all it's corners, it's shiny bright cities, it's broken castles, it's floating islands. 

And here are some sad, yet hopeful, photographs of a fight that is very much a reality in Russia. It's very difficult to live in this country sometimes and hear students you like repeat such vicious sentiments, but this is a reality of the world and one that I would not have been able to understand had I not looked it in the face. I may not like everything I find here, but I just keep hoping knowing all this will make me a better writer one day, a better person. 

Also, I think I'd like to (at my own pace) participate in this photography challenge. I think it'd be nice to put some purpose behind my photography and I sure have been missing the structure of college lately. So, I'm going to try my crookedy photography eye at that. 

Happy Monday, explorers. 

04 August 2013

Munich pt. 3

And our third installment! Oh, just looking at these pictures brings back feelings of warm sun, clean air and friendly people. Really, we couldn't have asked for a better vacation. Before we got on the plane to Munich, I was literally pushing gypsies off of me, and when we got off the plane in Munich, people were pulling over their bicycles to ask us if we needed directions. Amazing. Amazing!

So on our last day we had been debating whether or not to take a train to Salzburg, Austria and do a little sightseeing over there. Ben really wanted to go because some of our colleagues had recommended it, but it didn't feel right to me. Since the day before had been spent out in the country, I really wanted to keep exploring the city and do some sight seeing before we crawled back to Moscow. After a few missed trains down in Fussen, however, I was able to convince Ben that our last day should be spent filling our bellies with beers and we decided to just rent some bikes and cruise around the city. Which we did and it was amazing! I love the bike riding in Europe and I really wish America (and Russia for that matter) would get it together and put in some bike lanes (these lanes were located on the sidewalk, but they were their own separate path. I felt very safe riding, not only from the cars, but people as well). It's such a great way to travel. 

Enjoy the pictures!

We like breakfast, in case you haven't figured that out yet.

The English Garden was really one of the highlights of the trip. With endless forests and lazy rivers and beer gardens hidden in between, we had a blast riding around in the heat, jumping into the river to cool off, and stopping at beer gardens for mozzarella and tomato sandwiches with liters of beer. 

This is the Eisbach where people come from all over the world to surf. The current is crazy fast and after the bridge it forms a sort of surfing ramp. We stood and watched people balance on the ripping waves for about half an hour.

The lazier side of the river.

We debated going to the world famous Hofbrauhaus for a bit. We had heard from friends that it was the place to go, but from our German co-workers that it was overpriced and touristy. We stumbled on it, however, right after dinner when we didn't really know where else to go. We decided to go in just to say we did. 

And oh man, did we "do" Hofbrauhaus!

So good.

Aaaaand then shit got real. We met some bros, who after a couple beers were quite entertaining, and our night ended at 3 a.m. with no trains left and a taxi ride where Ben could suddenly speak German. 

So that was our trip to Germany! I absolutely loved Munich and I recommend it to anyone, anywhere. It's a lovely, idyllic place and I can't wait to go back (which may be sooner than later because my obsession-prone boyfriend has been looking into med schools in Germany...). Thank you to everyone who sent us well wishes and recommendations! Prost! 

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