24 March 2014

Moscow Nights: A Walk in Gorky Park

For the second installment in our date series, my friend Sam and I decided on day dates. Check out her post on going to the farmer's market!

So sometime last week, when winter looked like it was over (it wasn't), Ben and I put on our hiking shoes and went over to Gorky Park. 

We'd been a couple weeks ago with our friends in a failed attempt to go ice skating (lines too long=went drinking instead), but the sun was out and we had that spring-time energy so we ventured back to the popular park. 

To be honest, I'm not much for a park-walker and Gorky is really only fun in the summer time when it's green and lush and there are hundreds of bean bag chairs and Russians on roller blades. The first time we went was in the spring time too and it was just kinda eh (but maybe most parks filled with hunched-over naked trees and cigarette butts popping out from snow banks are kinda eh?). It's really big and all the restaurants are over priced, but I guess that'd typical for city parks. It was still really nice to be out in the sun and Ben and I sat listening to tone deaf-grunge-inspired teenagers belt out ballad after ballad and letting the sun burn our cheekbones. 

She is there all the time.

This is my neighborhood.

He's also there all the time. Is it weird I recognize all the beggars? 

These girls were truly awful singers and they wouldn't stop playing music for the entire time we sat at the park. People always accuse Russians of being intolerant, but I can't imagine anyone this tone-deaf getting away with playing music for that long in Chicago. Just say-in.

This little nugget was running around, speaking Chinese, and drinking milk and it was just the cutest thing ever.


But life has been pretty good. The winter here in Moscow was nothing compared to our old homes of the Midwest and Northeast. I tried to explain to my students a hashtag I saw going around called #chiberia, but they didn't get it. 

I've been really enjoying my work of working with toddlers and have found it to be both challenging and frustrating, but also really rewarding and interesting. I haven't spent time with any toddlers since I guess I was a toddler, so this was all pretty new to me. But their brains are like sponges. I'd been working with one student for about two months when the other day he picked up one of his toy figurines and said, "Excuse me, could you tell me where my friend the mouse is?" Then he picked up some toy ducks, counted them in English and told me they weren't the mouse and we needed to find him. 

Maybe that doesn't sound all that exciting, but it really felt like all my hard work had paid off and he was starting to get it. 

Ben and I are also getting excited for our Italy trip (which is officially less than a month away)! I've been to Italy once before, but I was so unbearably fifteen and hung out with an equally unbearably fifteen year old girl and we just stomped around Rome talking about being fifteen and our boyfriends who we were convinced were our soul mates that I didn't really take it all in and realize what a great place I was in. So, needless to say I'm excited to go back with a boyfriend who isn't cheating on me with someone he met on MySpace and spend time examining the ancient architecture instead of the split ends of my hair. 

Also, the wine. I can drink wine now. 

Aaaaand a big thanks to everyone who wrote to me about Seattle! It was really helpful and informative. Ben and I have also been throwing around going over to Taiwan and continuing to teach English for just a bit longer, but everything is still in the google search stages. It's an exciting time, but of course a little worrisome. I'm sure all of you are aware of the conflicts surrounding this country, which is something Ben and I need to consider (but we don't feel like we are in any immediate danger, so no worries there). Just life. I'm sure everything will seem small when we look back on it. 

For any of you who have been to Italy recently and have some off-the-beaten path reccomendations, let me know! And everyone check out Sam's blog for her outdoor date post!

09 March 2014


1. My favorite kind of snack: a loaf of french bread from the bakery down the street, matured cheddar cheese, Lindt Dark Sea Salt chocolate and a glass of red wine.
2. The view from our living room. We live in (by far) the ugliest building on the block, which is actually kind of awesome because all we see are beautiful apartments all around us.
3 & 4. Apple crepes.
5. Listening to 1Q84 on my audible app. I don't even know where to begin explaining this epic of a book. My blog friend Savannah and I have been tossing around the idea of doing a book club/series/recommendations, so maybe I might just take a post to explain this book and how I feel about it. But, for now, it takes place in Tokyo in a 1984 and follows two different characters as they go about leading two totally different lives--lives that seem almost ordinary until the book begins to unfold and everything just gets whirled together in a magical pot of good writing and fiction. It's really meta, y'all.
6. Takin' bubble baths and watching Twin Peaks agaaaain.
7. White roses from Ben because Saturday was Women's Day. And Women's Day is big here. I would say besides the New Year holidays, Women's Day is preeetty, preetty the most important. Everyone, everyone had flowers yesterday and men actually--gasp--gave women their seat on the train! It was a pretty nice break from the usual bleakness of the Moscow Metro.
Do any of you remember what Ben and I did last year for Women's Day? We went "camping" with our friends outside of Moscow. I can't believe how much snow was on the ground then! This year has been one of the mildest winters of my life (but my sweet home of the Midwest has not had it as easy...oddly...). It's strange to look at pictures of us tromping through the snow because today I could probably get away with my spring jacket and a pair of tights. Oh, the weather.
Anyway, last Women's Day I had been feeling a lot of anxiety in my relationship with Ben and when we went on that camping trip it totally changed us. I felt like it gave us a second to take a step back and realize that we (I) were creating problems that weren't there and we (I) would be a lot happier if I just learned to let things go.
8. Tea light candles, every night.
9. My Popcorn lip scrub from LUSH. But isn't the cyrillic so easy to read?!
10. Spontaneously made cream cheese muffins which we ate while watching "Hall Pass" which I do not recommend for anyone older than like, twelve. I do however recommend, "Her" which we watched recently. That movie is beautiful. "Hall Pass" is not.

Not Pictured
1. Did you guys check out Sam's Valentine's Day post? We have another post coming up after next weekend, so get ready!
2. Ben and I have been talking recently about possibly moving to Seattle when our lease here is up. We've been prowling around the internet reading blogs and articles about life there, but if any of you have ever been there or lived there, let me know!
3. Been listening to this song after my friend showed it to me at a party at 5 a.m. and we listened to it talking about exes or something.
4. The finale of "True Detective" is tonight!! Have you all placed your bets on how it's going to end?!
5. In addition to 1Q84, I'm also reading The Time Traveller's Wife per Ben's suggestion. It's definitely not something I'd usually pick, but I thought I'd give it a go to break up some of the intensity that is 1Q84. So far it just seems like a love story which I'm just supposed to believe in without any sort of examples as to why they're so in love and with main characters falling over themselves to make references to Chicago at every possible chance. But I'll keep ya updated.

Anyway, happy "True Detective" finale tonight and I hope all you ladies out there had a lovely Women's Day! Cheers!
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