Total Pageviews

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

I lost my shoe at Kievskaya

Technically, it wasn't me that lost the shoe, but Q did.

We decided to be adventurous and have a day out in the city, no tour guides, no help from school colleagues, just us, Google Translate and a stroller.

First stop was the U.S. Embassy to check out the commissary and see if any new car ads had been posted. We haven't had luck finding anything yet, and our apartment complex is the furthest outside the city, which makes it a bit harder to do things.  Our commute to school is longer, and we don't have as many shops and restaurants close by. But on the plus side, there's an amazing forest behind our building.  We went to a duck pond with some new friends earlier in the weekend and fed the birds all of our crackers, which the boys thought was amazing!

So, we walked to the metro and traversed stairs and escalators. Q reached out for random strangers and they rushed past us and was occasionally rewarded with a smile. He also tried to share his pretzels with every person who looked at him.

When we arrived at our first stop, we were riding up this enormous escalator that was easily 100 yards long, and about 65 degrees vertical, and at the precise moment we reached the top, Ryan looked down and asked, "Where is his shoe?"

Sure enough, our beautiful boy was kicking his feet happily, sans one very brand new shoe.  We went over to the men that were in charge at the metro ticket counter and had a very strange conversation that involved a lot of me saying Spasiba (pretty much the only word of Russian I remember on a daily basis) in different tones to imply different meanings.

Something like, Spasiba (said like excuse me) point to remaining shoe, then point down the big ass escalator and shrug my shoulders Spasiba (said like pretty please sir?)

I received a very Russian shrug of the shoulders and Da in response as the man pointed me through a side entrance and back down the escalator.

It only hit me later that the one time it was appropriate to use Spasiba (thank you) was completely forgotten as I raced down the escalator.  And I really did race, not full blown boobs bouncing in my face, but I was jogging down those stair, zipping by people who were standing for the ride. I'm not really sure what my hurry was, but I think there must have been subconscious thoughts of the shoe being picked up and stolen in the few minutes it would take me to get back downstairs. I don't know, it was all very frantic.

By the time I got to the bottom and scoped the station out, I couldn't find the missing shoe, and had to ride upstairs empty handed. So, Q lost his shoe on the train from Kievskaya and we shall never see it again. On the plus side, this does give me a good excuse to go buy the kid another pair. Insert evil laugh here.

We then spent the next 45 minutes wandering around the city trying to find the U.S. Embassy.  We had a map, we had an address, Ryan had even been there once before. We stopped several people along the way who all pointed us in a very long/wrong/convoluted/circuitous route that did finally end up at the Embassy, but we're pretty sure it should have only take 15 minutes to get there.

Q did get to hang out with a statue of his "namesake" outside.

By the time we got inside I was super excited to see what the legendary Commissary had to offer.  And in truth it was pretty good.  Hint of lime tortilla chips, brown sugar, cheddar cheese, cans of chile peppers.  The place didn't have everything (Urggg, no French's mustard to be found) but it did feel good to know we can stock up on American staples when we need to.  Even if the import costs make a block of cheese $7.

I've learned in this life abroad you don't sweat the import costs, just buy the damn cheese and enjoy every last bite.

After the embassy, we walked down to Arbat street, which is this super quaint and cute walking street with fun shops, restaurants and vendors.  We had lunch at the Shake Shack, where I had the most amazing burger of my life. It had a fried portabello mushroom stuffed with cheese on top of it.  Enough said.

All in all, it was a great day.  We probably walked about 5 or 6 miles, and we were all exhausted by the time we got home. But it really felt good to get out into the city on our own, to start exploring and to get an idea of what life is like in Moscow.

So far, it's pretty damn good, just a little tiring; even for Superman.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Welcome to Russia

The time has come.  The big move happened, the big blog name change is now official.

I can now be found at A Cushman at the Kremlin.

After a whirlwind summer of travel, Alaskan cruise, family time, more family time, shopping and a few more days spent ill than I would have liked, we are in Moscow, Russia.  Our new home.

We've been here exactly twelve days and there have been some big highs and lows. Our school is awesome, but they throw you into the deep end from day one. Moscow is really beautiful, but it's freaking hot right now and they don't do air conditioner. That's how it goes right.

First of all, let me start with the fact that Moscow is so European.  It doesn't feel or look at all like I thought it would.  The closest comparison I can give to explain how it feels to me is to say that it's a lot like Langon, France where my grandmother is from.  A much bigger city and size than Langon, but the "feeling" is right on in comparison.

We were pleasantly surprised by our three bedroom spacious apartment.

It already looks a lot different than these pictures, I'll post more when our shipment comes in and we finish decorating.  Quincy has his own room and bathroom, and there's even an extra room for future Russian babies (don't worry, we're not planning on snatching them from the street).  So we're feeling very blessed in terms of housing.

In fact, the best part of where we lived was discovered yesterday when some colleagues took us on a long walk through the forest right behind our building.  It leads down to the river and about every 1/4 mile there's a new playground.  Q really enjoyed trying out the slide and swings.  I have so many pictures to take!

But here are the money shots... We went to Red Square last weekend for a new hire photo shoot in front of St. Basil's Cathedral.  It was so easy to get there on the metro and what a beautiful place to go spend the day.  Can't wait for the energy to tackle sight seeing!

The two biggest things on our list when we started looking for a new place to live, were nature and culture opportunities.

I think we're going to be in heaven.  The Bolshoi Theater is a 15 minute train ride from our apartment, so Ryan will be taking me to the ballet regularly, and we've got all the nature we could ask for out our back door.  It's really exciting and I'm feeling very grateful.

There are many more things to say, but our internet isn't that great and it took about 30 min already just to upload all these pictures.  So let me just end with a quick thought.

We're starting to settle into what life is going to be like, and realizing that sadly we're not going to be seeing Q all that much during the week.  The school schedule is pretty rigorous, they have very high expectations of our time. But our nanny has been wonderful so far and we're really happy that they seem to be doing well so far.

He's getting to be such a little person, a little boy. He's talking more and more and using sign language. It's a shock sometimes to look over and see him doing something a little kid would be doing. 

I keep waiting for that moment when I'm going to wake up and this is all a dream.  I spent the whole summer waiting for it to hit that we were moving to a new country and not headed back to Cairo in the fall. It still hasn't happened. Not sure why, but it's weird how long it can take the brain to let go of things.

It's also weird how your experiences change you. I'm loving Moscow, the school, our new apartment and all the wonderful amenities we have. But I'm still filling water bottles and keeping them under the sink just in case our water goes out. We've moved on, the blog name is different, but Cairo just won't let go of us yet.  :)