Friday, March 1, 2013

Fast-Forward February

I never believe that February is the shortest month of the year until it's over. And this year has been no exception. The 28 days of this month seem to move at the speed of a hibernating bear. If I could fast-forward February every year, perhaps pausing only for a little mid-month lovin', I would. Who's with me?

But why exactly? It's hard to pin down. I would say that by this point in winter, it's been a little to cold for a little too long. Spring still seems to be only a twinkle in Mother Nature's eye...or maybe in Father Time's?...and we'd all prefer some action to the twinkling! Christmas joys are long past and the only reminder of the holiday season is the extra bit of weight that unfortunately was not shed as quickly as the New Year's resolutions. And somewhere in the midst of grey, you're expected to be a functional, stable, hard-working individual, when your soul is pleading with you to hemisphere-hop for some sunshine and joy.

But this year, just when I was convinced that February might get the best of me, Russia handed me a surprise. It's March 1st. And in this country, that's called SPRING!!!!!

I had to do a quick google search to confirm, but it's official: Russians are OPTIMISTS! It might be buried deep, deep, down on a day-to-day basis, but when it comes to important matters, such as declaring Spring (20 days earlier than expected!) and in turn joy to mankind, they're ON it! I knew I loved this country for a reason.

Now, despite my rantings against February, this month has had it's ups along with the downs:

  • Moscow Mondays! 3 out of the 4 Mondays this month, I actually made it out and did some Moscow sight-seeing. While an official Moscow Monday update is in order, here's a snapshot from this week's: 

  • Fun with food: This may have been my month of eating happiness. I ventured out to a couple new restaurants (and returned to some old favorites!) and often did so just for the dessert! This cafe, visited once previously, is a favorite. It might be one of the few places in Moscow that has a true non-smoking section and it comes with enough color and greenery to fend off any February feelings.

  • SUNSHINE!!! This girl is Vitamin D dependent as it turns out. And after forgetting when I last saw sun and sky, I was overjoyed when they made a few February outings! Not only that, but the days are once again lengthening, and hints of daylight are occasionally evident before I make it inside for the day!

  • Running: It's happening again my friends. While it's been 5K's on the treadmill most of the month...I really can't bring myself to do anything longer on those awful machines!...I ran my first 10K of the year this week in the beautiful outdoors! It was exhilarating. With sunshine, breathable temperatures, and fabulous company, not even the ice and sea-sized puddles could remind me that it was February. 
  •  St. Petersburg, Valentine's Day, my first public speaking in the Russian language (aside from my opera classes), the start of the new semester...when the month feels like an eternity, might as well fit in an equal amount of activity!
  • And last, but not least: I WON!!! Alright...not really. But I'm #51! Despite my poor advertising, Stephanie Says still made the list of the "Top 100 International Exchange and Experience Blogs" which you can verify here! For the record, I did not provide the brilliant description of "American girl in Russia." Thank you to all who took the time to vote!
February was full. And I suppose in fast-forwarding it, I would have missed a lot of the fulfilling ups that made the downs doable. But regardless...I'm beyond thrilled to move on. It's SPRING in Moscow after all!


  1. Hi Stephanie,

    you are so right about the month of February! I was so happy when I woke up this morning and my first thought was 'yay - it is March now- the months of the beginning of spring'. That is very interesting that the Russians declare March first the beginning of spring (Highlight of my day so far). Did you know that in ancient times March 21 / was new year? I came across it the other day, when I researched something about Persia, and over there they still celebrate that date as new year (in that sense October = Octa = 8 makes also sense again.. I loved that).

    Great that you could run outside again !! Isn't it so much better than the treadmill? This year I managed to run through the winter (though, our peak temps here were minus 10 degrees C or so) Wow, 10K is brilliant!! And I so adore you for holding a public speech in the Russian language!!

    Congrats on your place 51! That is not bad at all!!

    Have a lovely sunny day!

  2. So happy to read your post today. Moscow looks lovely at night and the restaurant looks warm, cozy and inviting. Running outdoors for 10K- Wow, I aspire to that. That sounds fun and must feel really good afterwards. Lastly, congrats to the blog place and recognition..and public speaking in a foreign language must have been an adrenalin rush. Have a great weekend Stephanie :)

  3. Hi- I am an Operatic Basso with a DMA, and my wife (an El. Ed. teacher) are looking at expat living, with our teenage children. What possibilities for an approaching sixty y.o. Voice/Choral/Performer & former ESL teacher, with an American El. Ed. teacher and artistic children might there be in Moscow for Americans who want OUT?

    Please email. Thanks



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