Thursday, February 24, 2011

Defender of the Fatherland Day (and other sundries)

This was a holiday we had on Wednesday, February 23rd. I sort of just love the name, it's a mouthful. Anyway, it started off as a day to commemorate the start of the draft (wooo!) by the Russian army in 1918, changed names a bunch of times, and now it's known more casually as Men's Day and is the counterpart to the public holiday of Women's Day (which is a way less cool name for a holiday. Typical!) on March 8th.

I get inordinately excited for random days off (even though I usually don't do much), so it was a good day for me. I spent the better part of it baking-- an apple coffee cake with crumble topping and I FINALLY make the sauerkraut rye bread I'd been dreaming about. When I made the buttermilk rye bread a few weeks back, I had originally set out to make this sauerkraut bread, but when I went for the sauerkraut, I realized I had thrown it out! (A student had given me some months back, and I guess I assumed it had gone bad [is that possible?] and tossed it at some point. I vaguely remember this). Strangely enough, the day after this failed attempt with the sauerkraut, a student (from the same class! a morning group of housewives) came to class bearing some as a gift!! So anyway, the sauerkraut rye bread came out amazing, as did the cake ('cause, yaknow, it's cake)! Then I went in to Moscow with some Russian (and one Irish--ok, my roommate) boys and celebrated "Men's Day" with them by eating a platter of sausages (their choice) and drinking beer. It all felt very manly. In any case, it was an appreciated change to my usual Wednesday afternoons of teaching for 5 hours straight.

I guess I haven't posted enough for this to get mentioned, but I ended up with a 3-day weekend last weekend (another time where I was disproportionately excited for an unexpected day off!). This weekend ended up being similarly (though not quite as) sweet, in that my lessons that cause me to get home at 21:30 were cancelled on Thursday, and since I have Fridays off it meant my "weekend" was extended a little. In actuality, I did not have Friday off, as there was a mandatory workshop I had to attend at the central school in Moscow (where I had to go every day in August. Oy). It wasn't bad, and at one point I got the ball rolling on some Donner party jokes after the topic of the Oregon Trail came up, which had most of the Americans in the room laughing and everyone else (the British and one Australian) confused, probably. One American, between laughs, tried to explain to the person next to him, but it just came out as "They ate each other!!!" followed by more laughter. Crazy Americans...

I thought having to go to the workshop would be an excuse to do something in Moscow. So afterward I moseyed to a giant bookstore (Biblio-Globus) that is rumored to have a decent English-Language selection. I never made it to the English section, as I was distracted by all of the other books I was passing to get there, and also by the crazy Russian system of organization that made no sense. All I am certain of is that it was NOT alphabetical by author's last name. I did pick up a two-way Russian-English dictionary, though, so worth the trip I suppose. Anyway, it's been just barely too cold to enjoy walking around outdoors (-13C with occasional, biting winds), and for some reason I was crazy tired (probably from the madness of the bookstore, which was crazy busy), so I just went home and downloaded a copy of the Oregon Trail and relived my childhood for awhile. I went to bed around 10 and slept 11 hours, which was amazing. And my Saturdays have also opened up a little, and I only have the two lessons in the afternoon (with brother and sister Sasha and Masha. awwwwwwww!) and nothing in the morning anymore.

That's enough for this long and rambly post. This story was not about a tomato the whole time:

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