Dear Loyal Blog Readers,
I apologize that I haven’t posted for over a month. I have been settling into my new life in Moscow. Here are some details about the past couple months in bullet points!
- Michael and I visited St. Petersburg over the Russian ten-day New Year holiday. We saw an opera, ballet, and many palaces. It is a calmer city than Moscow and very beautiful!
- I completed my six week Russian language program and have a certificate to prove it. I am now confident to order food in a restaurant and get around the city. I am going to continue with a private tutor twice a week. The school was a good introduction into the way things work in Russia. Once I showed up to find out that class was cancelled because most of the teachers were out with the flu–thanks for the phone call! Overall, it was a good experience though and I now have a very basic ability to speak Russian.
- For the most part, grocery stores in Russia make Manhattan grocery stores seem like huge suburban supermarkets. You can find some products one day, but they aren’t there the next and the selection of produce is very limited. You can find tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, potatoes, and apples all the time. Other times you can find a bigger selection, but the price is very expensive. That is, until I discovered Ashan! It is about the size of Costco and is like shopping in a Super Target. The top floor has all sorts of housewares, and the bottom floor is a grocery store. First, the selection of produce was amazing. They tell you where the produce was grown, and I was so excited to see they sold avocados and persimmons from Israel. See the picture below. Their prices are also very affordable. The next best thing about the grocery store is they have at least three aisles full of candy. One sells mini candy bars and other confections that are sold in bulk and you weigh them yourselves. Another aisle sells candy bars ranging from Russian candy with pictures of bears on the front to Mars bars. The third candy aisle sells sugar candy, such as gummy bears. In addition, the grocery store has beer taps where you can buy growlers of beer to take home. I did not see anyone drinking in the store. Sadly, the store accepts only cash–a lesson I learned the hard way and which required a second trip!
- This past weekend Michael and I visited provincial towns outside Moscow. Zvenigorod once competed with Moscow to be the Russian capital and we saw fourteenth and fifteenth century masterpieces such as the Assumption Cathedral and Savva’s Monastery. In addition, we went to Zakharovo, which was the childhood estate of Aleksander Pushkin, Russia’s most famous author. These towns were just outside of Moscow, and the only restrooms were holes in the ground. Most people in these towns live in wooden houses and still use outhouses. It made me feel very fortunate to have running water and electricity.
From Russia with Love,