Thursday, September 29, 2016

Matryoshka Haul

I'm always trying to get closer and closer to minimalism. In our eleven years together, the question I ask my husband the most is probably, Do you think we have more stuff or less stuff than we used to have? But there are two "weaknesses" that often accompany an interest in the Russian language- a love of teas and matryoshka dolls- that make me forget all about minimalism. And so...

Welcome to this summer's matryoshka haul :)

These little (or not so little) dolls were everywhere in Russia!

The bill was tucked away inside this doll.

Despite seeing them everywhere, people were quick to say that only tourists would buy the souvenir dolls. The university gave us basic matryoshkas on the first day of classes and then had us paint our own dolls on the last day. Those are the only traditional matryoshkas I brought back. The souvenir I gave to my uncle, the handpainted mess I hid on D's desk. As much as I love matryoshkas, they don't... do anything. The minimalist in me thinks they're dust collectors. But if it's a "useful" object with a matryoshka on it- in that case, all bets are off. Let's shop!

#1. Matryoshka apron. I love this thing. It came from a gift shop in Kazan and it fits cafeteria-style, so I can pretend to be slaving away in a stolovaya when cooking in my own kitchen. 

Friday, September 23, 2016

September Snapshots

This month D has gone back to making borsch, and we've been hitting up the farmers market on the weekends.

Monday, September 19, 2016

How to spend 3 days in Kharkiv?

Kharkiv friends- your suggestions are needed! This intrepid traveler is headed to Ukraine and has a little bit of time to explore Kharkiv. Megan Starr is no newbie to Ukraine. She wrote a fantastic intro to Dnipro earlier this year, a craft beer guide to Kyiv this July, and... well, you should just check out all her Ukraine posts here ;) I'm psyched that soon she'll be experiencing Kharkiv, since it is (of course) the coolest city in Ukraine!

But now, how to prove it? What's the best way to be blown away by Kharkiv in just a few days? Below is how I remember my favorite city walking route, split into two days. What else would you recommend?

Спасибо, дякую, and thank you!!! :D

Day 1:

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Farm

I bet autumn is just barely beginning to touch down in Kharkiv. Perhaps it's even the beginning of a beautiful Бабье лето, Indian summer. I loved fall in Ukraine!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Speaking Russian in Portland

Russian food store in SE Portland

The other day I got a letter from the doctor's office with a multi-language insert. These are the languages that were included on the insert.

English. Spanish. Mandarin. Cantonese. Tagalog. French. Vietnamese. German. Korean. Russian. Arabic. Hindi. Italian. Portuguese. French Creole. Polish. Japanese.

Can you guess which are the most common languages in Oregon?

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Japanese Garden

A few months ago- just as spring had turned into real summer- my friend Sarah and I visited Portland's Japanese Garden. Even though ремонт, construction had taken over certain parts of the garden, it was still a beautiful place to walk through.

Over the summer I've become quite interested in meditation. Doesn't this garden look like the perfect spot for it? Maybe I can convince D to go there with me and give it a try.

Lately I've been reading from a little book called "Springs of Roman Wisdom". It used to sit on my desk at my last office job. (Emergency stress relief, haha.) Now it's at home, lined up next to my new Russian books. Sometimes I'll pick a random page to read. Here's something from Marcus Aurelius that I really