Just A Few Things

The following post was taken from one of our student’s blogs who is currently studying abroad in Russia.  Take a look at his adventures and check out his full blog here!

We’ll be going to the Cosmonaut Museum Saturday and I’ll be flying out Sunday, but other than that I don’t have much left to do in Moscow. I have my final lesson tomorrow morning and in the afternoon a few of us are going to the War of 1812 Museum. Over the last 8 weeks I’ve accumulated a handful of thoughts that haven’t fit with any other posts so I thought I’d share them all in one post:

Food

-Mayonnaise, Dill, and Sour Cream—I have eaten more of these in the last 8 weeks than I ever have in my entire life and more than I probably will for the next 55 years or so.

-We finally got served борщ (borscht) in the dining hall last week. I was nervous about a beet based soup…but I loved it! I’m sad we’ve only gotten it once.

-I’ve actually been pleasantly surprised by having liked every single soup we’ve gotten here. We’ve had Щи (cabbage soup), chicken noodle, pumpkin, rice, and all sorts of various stews combining the ingredients of cabbage, beef, carrots, onions, and potatoes (and of course sour cream and dill) and I’ve loved every single one of them. When people say Russia is famous for its soups it is no joke.

-Georgian Food is also fantastic. We went to a nice Georgian restaurant last week and after being blessed with a picture menu I tried some Хинкали (thick dumplings called Khinkali) with lamb and some strange cheesy rice bread and greatly enjoyed them, as well.

Хинкали. You bite off a bit of the big side and suck out the broth. Then you finish eating the dumpling and meat EXCEPT for the stem at the top since it is uncooked dough. Plus we were told it is how people used to keep on track of how much they ate back in the day in Georgia.

Cheesy Rice Bread

Lifestyle

-One of the most Russian things I’ve discovered here: The word for beard in Russian is бородок and the word for chin is подбородок. Russian uses a prefix system to modify a lot of words and the prefix под- means under-. So the word for chin is literally underbeard. (It also makes me feel better about not shaving for 8 weeks)

-A lot of Russian culture is kind of where I feel American culture was 40 or 50 years ago. It is still very common for women (both old and young) to wear pantyhose on a daily basis, men are expected to be older than their wives (doing an exercise in class where we had to state the ages of people in pictures, our teacher was horrified when a classmate suggested a wife was 42 when her husband was 40. She answered with “Нет! Нет! Нет! Это не может быть!” [No! No! No! That can’t be!]), and it is very common to see married women out pushing strollers who can’t be much older than 19 or 20.

-It is a common practice for younger family members to escort older family members if they are in town. So you will see children with their grandparents on their arm walking them around town. It is very adorable.

-Our lunch ladies are like our own Russian mothers. One day at breakfast they came out and started ordering all of us to finish our каша (porridge) or we wouldn’t grow up big and strong (mind you I’m one of the youngest, many of the other group members are closer to 25). They even went so far as to start patting one of the other guys on the belly as they attempted to convey their message. They also told all of us guys that it was time for us to find girlfriends (as if to give them grandchildren).


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