Saturday, December 22, 2012

Daria's departure and some random thoughts

So this week saw a big change in the Russia experience. As I was reading through the post I realized this is also reads more like a news update so feel free to allow your head to have the voice of a radio newscaster giving you minute updates.

Daria flew back to the US to do interviews for her internship next year. We knew there would be interviews, but we had hoped they'd all be in January because logically that makes sense. You know, as in organizations receive your applications in November, inform you in December whether or not you have an interview, interview you in January after the holidays . . . . Well, one group in Boston decided that Thursday, December 20th was a great time for interviews, and in the competitive fight for placement, you must take every interview you get so Daria flew to Boston on Tuesday and doesn't return until mid-to-late January. This completely changed our holiday plans, and I don't know what I'm doing now. I have a few ideas, but nothing concrete. I'll also admit that for some reason I took this departure especially hard. I knew it was coming, and it's not the first time we've been apart for a long period of time, but it was hard. She was in France for a year when we were in college, I lived in CA and Daria was in CT for a year after college. Both of these we had some intermittent visitations, but there were still large periods of time between seeing each other. Two years after we were married, Daria spent 6 weeks in Mexico and I stayed in Berkeley. And then even this past summer I was in a foreign element in Moscow as Daria stayed in SPB. I don't know why I took this one harder than the rest, but I did for some reason and it sucked to put it bluntly. Thank God for skype.

As mentioned in the last post, Daria and I went to a family dinner on Friday night. This was followed with a Saturday dinner with Language Link at a restaurant called "Tequila Boom," a name I can only assume comes from the cocktail of half tequila and half ginger ale. I will say it was nice to have some Mexican food (something I do miss dearly and there is a reason I ate a lot of it my last week in CA), and in a place where tequila is expensive because of taxes on all foreign alcohol, it was also nice to have some tequila/margaritas. Some of the food tasted legit, other parts lacked, but hey I was spoiled in CA. The corporate parties before New Years are a really big thing here as many of my students have missed class b/c of their parties and Daria and I got to witness a couple parties when she and I went out to the Paulaner Brewhouse before she left. Our Language Link party was a lot of fun, Mariachi hats were passed around, an MC organized different events for the various parties in the restaurant, and it was kinda nice just to blow off some steam with fellow coworkers.

A few random thoughts to share. First, it's funny that Karma has become the protectorate of the house. Apparently grandma doesn't think there's any reason to set the alarm because we have a "staffordshire" (another name for a pitbull). Yeah we lock the door, but the alarm hasn't been set. It's good to know that Karma is well-loved :-) in the house. Ella is also well-loved, demonstrated by the endless supply of cat food in the fridge.

Yesterday, on my walk back home, I saw some people out playing on the pond in таврический сад as the pond has long been frozen. I decided to venture out as well so I walked around a little bit on ice. Ice never quit got thick enough in Tahoe for us to dare walking out and I must say there is something exciting and exhilarating knowing that underneath there is liquid water. My first experience of this was 2 years ago walking on the Gulf of Finland.

The weather here is crazy. Wednesday and Thursday it was -23C in SPB. In western Siberia it hit -40C and eastern Siberia -50C. In a 24 hour period from Tues - Wed 21 people across Russia froze to death. Not homeless people, but those with homes whose heating went out. This brought the total from Friday - Wed to 45 nearly doubling it. It is currently -19C and the forecast for this coming Wednesday says +4C. Yeah, that's right in the matter of a couple days we're going to swing from temps below that of a freezer to the temperature of a refrigerator. Seriously, when I've wanted my room-temp water to be cool I stick my cup between the two sets of windows and it cools my drink in less than half the time than if I put it in the freezer and yet in a few days it'll be shorts weather. In Michigan shorts did come out in March when it got above freezing. I guess Karma will be happy for an actual walk, if I can manage the time, since even with her coat her walks the past few days have been "pee, poo, back to the door."

Last thought. So a few posts back I spoke about the deliciousness that is mead. Because of the Latin script the name of the most common mead escaped me. That is until I read part of the label in back where it was in Cyrillic. The name is Medvarus. Мёд or "Med" is both honey and the drink mead. вар or "var" is part of the root for boiling and is found in many words like the ones for brewery (a beer boiler) and for dumplings to the festive "kettle" the samovar. I had this "aha" moment when reading this feeling like, oh hey, the name of the brand is just the name for meadery and since the script was in Latin, they were just being cool by adding "us" as the ending of Latin words (and well-known for a grade school joke mentioned in "Life of Brian" that I won't repeat here for some of my audience). Nope, Daria corrected me. рус or "Rus" is the ending as the short form or Russia. So there you have it, the name Medvarus is "Mead - ery/boiler - Russia." What a better portmanteau than my name Tahodoga.

I'll try and do another Holiday filled post before Christmas, but we'll see. If not, whatever holiday or days you celebrate may they be joyous and wonderful. Since I celebrate Christmas (although it'll probably not be on the 25th for me this year), I will say Merry Christmas!!!

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