Today was wonderful. It was warm and sunny outside, Katie and I went for a walk through the park in Mytishchi, we bought a watermelon from an outdoor market, and watched the latest episode of The Jersey Shore. Score!
One fine morning, about a week or two ago, I looked out my kitchen window and had the sudden realization that fall was upon us. This is approximately what I saw (because I didn't take a picture until a day or two later):
The trees are changing colors! I've never experienced a season changing like this. I've seen colorful trees in fall, and I've been in the snow and cold places, but there is something remarkable about feeling the season change.
In the course of two weeks, I watched this tree go from green to orange/yellow/red to bare. It's on my walk through a little field to school.
Another very important thing happened recently: Katie and I made BORSCHT. Last night. I've made it successfully a couple of times back in the states, but it seems more authentic here. Someone asked me recently if there was anything from home that you can't get here, and I think I've figured it out: leafy green veggies (like rainbow chard and spinach) and San Diego style mexican food. What I wouldn't do for a carne asada burrito. God. Otherwise, things are different, but I can deal with it. For instance, I love coffee, and lattes, and those are things I just don't drink here. The most popular thing seems to be instant coffee, and I don't see the point. If I really wanted a latte, I could hunt down a coffee shop, maybe. They definitely exist in Moscow, I'm not so sure about Mytishchi. They definitely don't have cafes here like they do back home.
Here I am, sauteing up some onion and cabbage. Side note: look at that! My hair can finally be gathered in a tiny little ponytail! Katie, on the other hand, has more than enough hair for the both of us...
I'm so jealous! Anyway, here she is, stirring the pot of borscht, or perhaps preparing to climb into it... After letting it simmer for awhile, we had dinner:
Katie and I are going into Moscow tomorrow. There is a Nike-sponsored 5k that she convinced me to run (what is it about me running in races when I'm totally out of shape? This is like a repeat of the Edinburgh 10K in 2008), which is obviously a marketing ploy to convince Muscovites to spend their money on expensive running gear. Adidas really seems to have a hold on the athletic apparel market here, so I'm guessing Nike saw running as an untapped goldmine. I've gotta admit, something about Russia makes me love Adidas tracksuits. But, hey, it's a free t-shirt for me and a jog around Moscow. I'm actually excited about it, and excited about possibly starting to jog again, and having a jogging partner. Actually, I am just thrilled to have Katie as a friend here (or anywhere! I emphasize here because it had the potential of being a lonely and isolating experience, and it definitely will not be like that). Not only is she basically the nicest person in the world, but every time we hang out it seems like we have something else in common. It's a great experience to instantly feel like you've known someone a lifetime.
One big disappointment is that it seems I have missed out on mushroom gathering season. I think the extreme heat and fires fucked it up anyway. My uncle messaged me awhile back, and it turns out that he actually went mushroom gathering in the Czech republic a few weeks back! He doesn't even live in Eastern Europe, and he beat me to it! So I am a little bummed about missing out on this experience, but it actually turns out that you can buy mushrooms in stores...
Random blurry night shot from my kitchen.