With each visit, I have to say, probably due to combination of getting somewhat "older" (and wiser), and because I took Larry there now some 7 years ago and saw my city with his eyes (it was one of the top bucket lists for me, go figure, before I even married "a foreigner"), I really, really love and enjoy my short yet so profound trips. Between being more tolerant, some kind of renewed relationship with what's left of our Tchernov clan, and absolutely amazing wanderings about the old city's streets, plus a mandatory "culture breath" of a museum (and oftentimes a theater, and/or a symphony) - the 5 days I do spend there go in a fury and full of emotions. God, if only we had all that brain when we are 20!!
Time flew by full of helping mom and sister (Tanya always uses me to move furniture in two of her apartments because it's "her thing" and heavy lifting is "my thing", and mom allows only me to clean her apartment, yep, that happens only every 6-8 months since my dad died), visiting now two cemeteries, and yes, those "random excursions". I adore Moscow. Never thought I'd say that, and having always proudly remarked I am technically not a Moscovite but an unwilling transplant at the age of 12, after reading a couple of huge history books on Russia (written by American authors, mind you!) and exploring the streets full of that very history had made me a hard core Russian, much more than I ever was before (which was mostly Soviet anyway, and yes, there is a difference). And I ALWAYS was a Russian at heart! What a great time to visit - New Year's eve! We surely know how to celebrate it - no surprise Moscow was named this year in top-5 cities for New year. Decorations, people, closed streets with performances, lights, "Christmas" trees, and yes, great weather to help. I loved it! As my friend Ronda pointed out - with age we truly feel our roots better. We want it more, too. It grounds us. Grounding is a good thing. Solid.
|My sister's apartment, and our regular food.|
|One of the streets turned into "walking only" in Moscow center|
|No, we don't have Santa's, we have Ded Moroz! (Grandpa Frosty)|
|View on Red Square on December 30th.|
|Walking another (widest, oldest) Moscow street on December 31st, with dozens of live shows and thousands of people.|
|On January 2nd there was over 200 people at the Pushkin Museum of Impressionists in line for the tickets! Russians, no matter how bad times are, never stop loving culture.|
|Walking towards Kremlin from the "other" end.|
|Wandering on some of the Old Moscow streets, no direction or agenda.|
|Moving some pieces of furniture for my sister from one of her places to another - by human power, on public transportation, commuting for an hour and half. Yep, that's what we do.|
|My crabby night. To think I was so close to one of my best friends living in the area, and yet so tied up with the flights!|
With that (recovering from 60 hrs sleep deprivation and air-living and that cold) my normal routine got pushed by a good 10 days. It was cold here too - which I didn't mind. I bundled up every morning and went on my regular shuffling/walks/whatever, just to get back on the schedule, sick and all!
|This is past the coldest days, and worst health conditions. We did have 16F for a few mornings!|
|A "date lunch" at Whole Foods - whole paycheck, anyone?|
One of the "gifts" was a purchase of a new backpack, slightly bigger (by 5 L) than one I took in my last hiking adventures, as this summer's backpacking craze is going to be longer, colder, and more arduous. Yay for challenges! I am planning to take it for a walk outside tomorrow! Another - a new yoga mat I wanted really badly, but didn't feel the old deserved replacement. Thanks to Mama Belinda, I got both items to spoil myself! And yoga classes continue on weekly.
|3rd version of this pile-up alpaca cardigan.|
|Down of a baby-goat yarn from Russia.|
|Worked on it last year some, but finished recently, finally.|
|Technically, I completed it 4 hrs before the year's turn, but I love this - which was 5 different versions of cardigan before and never satisfied me. Now, though, oh, so wonderful...well worth the works.|