Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thanksgiving & Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day! Didn't know it was Mother's Day? It is in Russia! We didn't know it until we got to church this morning (the Nazarene Church across the street), and at the end of the service they had all the mothers stand up, and they gave us all chocolate. We had a good week, and enjoyed spending Thanksgiving with friends here. We had turkey and all the other traditional goodies. I made the pumpkin pies, and I even used real pumpkin. The canned stuff is hard or impossible to find here. The pies actually turned out to be really good! Here are a couple of pictures from Thanksgiving:
Lydia enjoyed lots of attention and playing with the other kids.

On Friday, we had a training session in the morning, and in the afternoon we went to the Russian Museum. It is a museum devoted to Russian art, and it was very interesting. Lydia spent the day with her nanny. Here is a picture of the Russian Museum, which was once a palace. Many of the rooms are very ornate. You can see the top of the Church on Spilled Blood in the background.
Yesterday (Saturday), we took a little trip by electric train to the town of Pushkin (also called Tsarskoe Selo), which is basically a suburb of St. Petersburg. Some people were having kind of a yard sale, which we wanted to check out, and we took the opportunity to check out the Catherine's Palace while we were there. Althought we've heard the inside is beautiful, we decided to save that for another day and enjoy the rare sunshine outside. The palace is surounded by a gorgeous park and gardens, with ponds, streams, bridges, and little islands. My toes were froze by the end the day, but it was a nice walk. Since the sun is always so low in the sky now, it made for some neat lighting in some of the pictures. As you can see in the following slide show, Lydia slept through most of the walk.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

New Link

I have added a link to our You Tube page, where you can watch some cute videos (all of Lydia of course). The newest one is of Lydia counting. It usually goes, "two, tee, two, tee..." Although sometimes, she does include four after three, and if I'm counting with her, she knows that nine comes after eight. I'm not sure where "one" is; everything starts with two! Of course, it's always better to have TWO cookies, or TWO books, isn't it? Maybe that's why she now insists on sleeping with her baby and her monkey (whom she calls "aa-aa.")

Lydia started coming down with a cold again yesterday. It doesn't seem too bad so far. She was coughing today, but didn't seem to be feeling too bad. We put her to bed a little earlier than usual because she seemed tired, but now (9:25 pm) I hear her in her crib talking and singing. At least she's happy.

When Lydia has a cold we get all kinds of Russian advice on what is good for her- warm clothes, especially around her chest and neck, and make sure her feet are warm; honey; absolutely no cold drinks- her milk and juice should be warm; and lots of vitamin C. I guess it makes sense!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Slide Show from Oct. 20

Here is another slide show from October 20, when we took a long walk around some of the historical sites of the city. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Smolny Cathedral Slide Show

I figured out how to include a slide show! This one is of the Smolny Cathedral, which is very close to where we live. The pictures are from September 30, and it was a beautiful, unusually sunny, day. (We now realize how unusual a sunny day is!) The fall leaves were very pretty!

Friday, November 9, 2007


Here is the view from our living room window two days ago, and it still looks much the same! It snowed a little on Sunday, but this was the first snow to stick around. Yesterday there was a nice light snow falling all day. We felt like we were having the real Russian experience, walking down the street in the afternoon with the snow falling. The snow quickly melted and turned to slush on the streets and sidewalks, but the trees and parks looked pretty. Our cultural training session for the afternoon was cancelled, so we visited the Kazan Cathedral on Nevsky Prospect. It is still a working orthodox church (so it was free to get in!). There was no service going on at the time, but there were many people lighting candles in front of the icons, or praying and kissing them. This was a new thing for me to see! It was beautiful inside- unfortunately you are not allowed to take pictures. I didn't have my camera anyway, so it was just as well. If you want to see a picture of it and read some information, you can go to .

I had another new experience on the metro ride home. It was rush hour, the most crowded time to be on the metro. We waited with the horde for the train to come and the doors to open, and as soon as the last person exiting the train stepped off, we all pushed and squeezed onto the train to fill every possible space with people. Aaron and I got separated and I was smooshed up against someone sitting on the opposite side of the car (I had a hard time keeping my bags from hitting the lady in the face.) This was a bad situation, since we were getting off at the next stop, and I had several layers of people to get through to make my way out the train doors. When we stopped, Aaron was able to slip out, but I couldn't get through! I tried hard to push people out of the way, and say, "izvenitya!" (excuse me), and I finally got to the open doors. Unfortunately, this was at the exact moment that the next flood of people started streaming into the train car, and I had to back up or risk being trampled. So, I yelled out to Aaron that I would be back, and I had to get out at the next station and then take the opposite train back. Not really a big deal, just an interesting situation. I need to learn how to say, "I'm getting off at the next stop," so that I can get reshuffled and closer to the doors when I'm in a big crush like that. The most interesting thing is that with all the pushing and shoving, no one gets upset or starts swearing at each other. Everyone just keeps a straight face and acts like nobody else is around, even though their body may be in contact with 5 other bodies at one time. It is just accepted as normal, because it is. It works the same way squeezing onto the escalators. If you can get past any notions of personal space, it's not too bad.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Here are some more pictures! First, one of the views up and down our street, and what our stairway looks like inside. On the outside entrance to our building, you punch in a code for our apartment, and it rings our "domaphone." We can then pick up the domaphone, ask who is there, and push a button to open the door. Then you would come up the stairs to our apartment.

Next, some pictures of the park near our apartment. Lydia loves the sliding board. You can also see her see-sawing with her friend Abby. The last picture in the collage is of the main park entrance.

And finally, some street views near the park entrance. There is amazing architecture all around the city.