Monday, July 17, 2017

Three good things

At the beginning of July, a friend took off to spend another summer doing research in Nizhny Novgorod. I was a bit bummed to not be there this time, so instead I set up a skype date with her (vicarious adventuring) and then made a whole bunch of plans for the month (like joining a gym + a coworking space and hiring a marketing specialist for my language blog). Halfway through July, this plan of "staying busy" is working. Here are three really nice things that have happened recently...

#1. Odin!

Odin came to town! Best summer present EVER. Now he's a sociology grad student in Alaska, but he still speaks Russian really well... and he even showed up in this Chukotka t-shirt. We had a long double date- Odin, his girlfriend, D, me- with lots of pizza + wine. Even though we only meet up every couple of years, he's still one of my favorite people on the planet. Who else would be comfortable teaching English in a remote Siberian village in 2007 and getting paid in reindeer meat when the school ran low on actual cash? There's no one like Odin. ;)

(One of Odin's stories: Life among the reindeer herders in summer 2013. Here are a few of his photos...)

Odin in the Tuva Republic, 2013.
Odin with a family of reindeer herders, 2013.

Tuktug-ool, a 6 year old boy, learning the art of reindeer herding, 2013.

#2. A Perfect Summer Walk

Portland is finally having a stretch of flawless weather. We went from rainnnnnnn (145 days of rain between October and April) to 100F days (June). But today, the sky is unending blue. The temperature will top out this afternoon at a pleasant 81F. Yesterday was so nice that we ended up on a long walk, starting in the city center and heading south along the Willamette river.

D found ripe blackberries. People rode alongside us on bright orange Nike bikes. Families spread out picnic lunches on the tiny beaches. Marina parking lots were filled with cars, and sailboats wove themselves up and down the river. This is as close to perfection as it gets, unless we could magically teleport to Kharkiv this very minute.

How neat is this little home?!

I hope we can get out on more of these walks before the weather changes again.

#3. Finally Meeting These Ladies

These two beautiful sisters are both fully-grown Great Danes. They are sweet and gentle and GIGANTIC. Watch out when a 220lb dog steps on your foot, by the way, haha. Also, their heads reach the average height of a dining room table, so whatever is on your plate could easily become theirs.

My friend Carlos has owned several Great Danes. I remember trying to take his first dog- Sir Dante- on a walk once. Nope. Dante could easily stand in for an entire team of sled dogs! He walked wherever he wanted to walk. These two girls... I can't even imagine their combined pulling power when leashed. The day we met, though, they just splashed around in a kiddie wading pool and rested on their beds.

So noble!
This was last weekend, another weekend of good weather. Carlos and Lindsey, his wife, invited us over for a bbq (venison + baked potatoes + salad + red wine) and to meet the girls. It was a beautiful day in a beautiful home: real art on every wall, a backyard filled with vegetables, and these two lovely dogs.

What are 3 good things that you've experienced lately? Leave me a comment! :)


  1. Glad you're having fun! Three good things that have happened lately are: moving into my own apartment, registering for classes for the fall, and new music from my favorite Russian musician Kedr Livanskiy. Sometimes it's the little things! :)

    1. Those are great things, Liz :) Thanks for sharing them here! I'm off to look up Kedr Livanskiy now...

      PS: Did you register for any Russian classes?

    2. I didn't unfortunately! I have been thinking about doing Russian tutoring online though!

  2. Wow! Your friend seems intense. I don't know if I could handle being paid in reindeer meet! Sorry you had all that rain. That was Ufa before I left. It rained like every day in the month of May and June. Those dogs are so cute! I love meeting animals!