Sunday, August 28, 2016

Dorm life in Russia

Welcome to dorm life in Russia :)

I spent a month living in общежитие #4, dorm #4. Want to come in for a tour?

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Afternoons of art (or not)

There were a few handicraft lessons in our Russian summer school. Everyone agreed that the worst one was the valenki lesson.

Valenki, not to be confused with delicious vereniki, are boots made out of wool felt. We made tiny little valenki, perfect for shoving in a drawer and forgetting about.

Yes, exciting.

A more interesting workshop was the DIY matryoshka doll event. Inspired after a bottle of lemonade-flavored beer, Allison and I did our best to paint nesting dolls that didn't terrify at first glance. I'm not going to include a photo here, because we failed. Horrendously. Others, though, left with pretty amazing matryoshkas.

The best arts & craft workshop was a visit to a local glass ornament factory. We started with a guided tour, saw at artists at work, and then decorated our own Christmas ornaments.

Here's what it's like to visit the Ariel Factory of Glass Christmas Ornaments in Nizhny Novgorod...

Monday, August 22, 2016

Best of a Russian July

Sveta in front of Nizhny Novgorod's city sign.

It's the season of air conditioning in Portland. (100F, what madness is this??!!) We've already been to the movie theater twice this week to cool off. Now I'm hanging out near the air conditioner at home and starting to look through all last month's pictures from Russia. Here are my favorites... what do you think of these places?

Friday, August 19, 2016

Of songs and stadiums in Kharkiv

Kharkiv could have become one of next year's go-to destinations, and it's all because of the stadium you see in the photo above.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Coastal weekend

Last weekend we caught this beautiful sunset at the Oregon coast. It was over 90F/32C in Portland (I know that's cool weather compared to other places right now!) so all trains were running behind because of the heat. D left work early that day, and we waited with a crowd of people at the MAX stop. The first train to arrive was so packed with people that I thought I was back in Ukraine for a minute :p

We met up with my parents in the suburbs and drove west, reaching the beach just as the sun was sinking below the sea.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Two days on planes

Nizhny airport.

They say it takes half the number of time zones you traveled through to recover from jet lag. Do you think this is true? Nizhny Novgorod to Portland is ten time zones, which would mean five days, but I'm still feeling a little out of sync. And already the whole experience feels more like it happened seven months ago than seven days ago.

The hopscotch trip back, though, was infinitely more pleasant than the non-stop trip there. Since there were five flights, I had planned on one night in a real bed (Aeroflot turned this into two nights). Travel is definitely easier when you're not exhausted and scowling at everyone. This time it seemed like interesting people were everywhere!

Nizhny Novgorod

Sveta came to the airport with me. She hasn't been on a plane yet, so she's never been to the local airport. This meant, of course, time for one more foto sessiya. ;)

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Bye, Russia!

School is over.

No matter how stuffy the dorm rooms became, how cranky the front desk ladies were, how fast the cockroaches skittered across the floor, and how long the shower lines grew, it's still a little sad to say goodbye.

Jana's suitcases, waiting to go back to the Czech Republic.

So instead, I'll show you happier things.