Monday, November 19, 2012

Moscow Mondays

Monday. To most of of you this word means work. Shackles. The end of peaceful weekend reverie. Real life and Karen Carpenter.

But here in Moscow, Mondays are my "day off." What that means in Moscow-English is that I attend 6 hours of Russian class, but come 2 o'clock...the day and this city are mine! When I first got here, I made Monday my designated "Moscow" day, picking an item off my bucketlist and making an afternoon of it. Then life and work happened, as they often do, and my afternoon of freedom became the time to clean, grocery shop, regroup and reorganize. And now the time has come to mesh these versions of Monday, in the pursuit of that unattainable ideal of balance.

While today is not yet over (there is homework waiting to be done!), I'm going to coin it a complete success. Why? Get ready for it...

I. Bought. A. TURKEY! Those of you in the USA are at this point offering a pathetic, slow clap, if even that. Turkeys are, after all, literally almost a dime a dozen. And if they're not that cheap today, they will be come Friday. BUT, here in Moscow it's another story. You can come by turkey bits quite easily, and rumor has it that you can even request a whole turkey at the market. It might still come live with feathers, but since I haven't tried that, I can't testify one way or another. I decided to try the route where I pop my head into every upper-tier grocery store I passed over the past week. (Someday it might be worth outlining the grocery gradations in Moscow...that day has not come.) Today, my efforts were rewarded. I purchased my beautiful little bird and took it to class with me. I don't have children or pets to show off, but I was thrilled to put my turkey baby on exhibition.

I had arranged to do some sight-seeing post-lessons and considered taking Indyeka out on the town as well. But like any good parent, I decided it was best to let her nap at home. By herself. In the freezer. Please take notes if this is the first time you've been introduced to this parenting style.

I headed back to the metro to meet up with one of my Russian friends/tour guide. Friendship is awesome. Tour guide and simultaneous language practice just makes the relationship that more rewarding. Not sure how much I bring to the table yet in these relationships, but I sure make a great listener!

First stop, Park Pobedy, via the famed Парк Победы metro: it's the deepest in Moscow and the 3rd deepest in the world when calculated by mean depth, at 97 meters/275.591 ft. and the deepest in the world when calculated by maximum depth. (Stephanie's Scientific Measurements are sponsored today by Wikipedia.) And the escalators are the longest in takes around 3 minutes to surface from the underground. I fell in love with this metro station today. Yes, you read correctly. A metro station. Maybe it was the turkey bliss exuding from my being, but I think it also had something to do with the shocking lack of people and the fascinating design.

The amazing visual spiral that the reflections and patterns create is completely fascinating. It probably brings to mind all those artistic metro stations in NYC. Or maybe DC? False...the Russians win this contest hands down!

Eventually I decided to surface and see what the outer world had to offer. It's offering was cold. But I snapped a few quick shots of Park Pobedy and the Triumphal Arch before diving inside to grab some hot chocolate. And take a phone call saying that I was now to meet my Russian friend on the other side of town.

Still exuberant over my turkey child and my newfound romance with the metro, I braved the masses at peak hour and made it to Chistye Prudy. It turned out to be worth the effort.

Good company, good conversation (despite the fact that I could not remember the word for raccoon for the life of me! Critical to any conversation...) and a great city. And let us not forget: the turkey.

A Moscow Monday for the books!

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