A little of THIS and a little of THAT

Initially I started this blog as a way of sharing my experiences overseas with those that were interested...however so much has happened over the last two years, including more travelling to foreign destinations, revelations of some kind or other, and experiences I thought others could learn from that I decided to mix it all up.

I hope that somewhere you'll find something that interests you and that you'll be able to learn from.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Russia Update 2

Russia –An update, Part 2

As with all adventures, Russia has come with its good and bad. I have been in Moscow for five months now, just under six and a lot has happened.
Last I updated, it was just after Rome, Halloween, and Remembrance Day (or lack thereof). I can say that Russia was very easy to settle into. I quickly became friends with one of our neighbours and over Christmas I got to know one of our other Canadian families quite well, true colours starting showing quickly after “the new person”, myself had worn out her welcome, and I choose wisely who my friends are here.

I am slowly learning the language; the Cyrillic is almost down, although sometimes letters are seen differently and can throw me for a loop. I can count to 7 which is good for ordering the maximum 5 pieces of chicken I usually get, and the 7 articles of clothing I brought into the dressing room a couple weeks ago, and when we head to McDonalds I can order what I need in Russian, ok so it’s almost pretty much English with the exception of a few items, , but still without the English tourist sheet, and can relay “Savoy” (excuse if the spelling is improper), which is take out or to go.

I also know the Moscow METRO system like the back of my hand, but that in itself is another story.

I know that I am painting a rosey picture but my settling in hasn’t come without its struggles; I am instead choosing to focus on the positive points of my process. Believe me when I say that there are some days when I was fed up and wished I was back home with the harshness of some here, but just as quickly, the rare friendly smiles that come my way make it worthwhile and quickly change my mood.

In December we learned that we were pregnant, but a couple weeks later there were complications and just days before Christmas it was confirmed that we had lost the baby. Christmas in Moscow was quite busy, we had six parties to be present at, most of them were must attend, and it was with a heavy heart that we were present at each with a smile on our face. Grieving didn’t come till after the New Year.

Temperatures in Moscow still weren’t reaching under -12, snow still not amounting to much, it was funny to speak to friends and family who were back home cold and buried under snow banks. The kids had three weeks off for break, and we stayed home most of the time. We did enjoy some quality time sledding on the hill just feet from our house, and skating with our new skates in the compound, always followed by a warm fire back home and a cup of hot chocolate. The break also included another visit to Red Square to see the lights and the inside of the “onion” with friends.

The Russians really love to celebrate the New Year, the 31st of December was a huge spectacle with fireworks in the park right outside our back door, and everywhere else, they could be heard over the river just seconds from our house till as early as 4:00 in the morning. The kids played with colourful Russian sparklers and managed to stay up well past midnight.

February is a very busy month and it comes with a whole new chapter. Two days into the new month as a way to distract me and keep me busy, I missed having the kids with me and quite frankly staying home all day was just beginning to get boring and monotonous, the boundaries of the compound are seclusive, and confining.

I started a new job at the Embassy. My new job is long and complicated to list out what has to be done, but I can say that there is a lot of responsibility, it’s my show, and I don’t have to report to anyone daily as long as I’m getting things done, which I have. In my first couple weeks I have already made a lot of progress and am almost finished preparing and organizing the first part of my job.

I work four days a week; Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Fridays, I leave home after the boys have gone to school, getting into work around 09:15, and I’m home by the time the kids get home after their after school programs. Wednesdays I take off as it’s a late start, it’s a free day to do shopping, and spend time with the boys. Wednesdays in our house is either the school late start, or breakfast at the school cafeteria. After school I pick Anthony up and we go to the cafeteria to have a snack or a treat. The very little time we get to spend with each other outside of the house as getting around is still proving to be difficult as I haven’t started driving the busy Moscow streets.

Being super mom is exhausting as any working mom will know, I get up early to get ready, get the kids ready in the morning, going to work all day and coming home to deal with cleaning, cooking dinner, more cleaning, and homework. Only two weeks into my job I am on my first vacation from it, a much needed one as working again is proving to be stressful and tiring.

I miss things back home, things you can’t get here. I miss chicken noodle soup, Campbell’s, and Kraft cheese slices for a proper grilled cheese, and with summer fast approaching I have an order in with my mom for salted sunflower seeds. It is when we go out to eat that I miss NO SMOKING in restaurants. I miss going out and about whenever I want, and taking the kids places without worrying about a language barrier. At the same time though I am growing from the experience, my resume will have grown after my time here, and my cooking is growing as well.

As with all experiences I take everything in stride, and learn from it, awaiting the next opportunity to arise.

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