Experiences Lately, In Pictures.

Another metro stop, at Shabalovskaya.   The lighting is still striking and beautiful, even though it isn't necessarily as grand and decorative as those on the brown line.  It's almost futuristic/sci fi.  

When you come up the escalator out of the Metro, the lights above look like you're looking at the bottom of a giant space shuttle, about to take off.  

Stained glass mural of the Kremlin.

Beautiful futuristic font.  Шаболовская = Shabalovskaya.  Duh. 

One of Stalin's famous Seven Sisters, at Moscow State University. Our most recent Saturday excursion.

We can see this one from our window.

Can we talk about how many different styles are in this building? It seems almost laughable how they were copied and pasted, seemingly at random.  And yet, the building has a definite Soviet mark on it--it is firm, foreboding, and impressive without being too dark.  There is such a sense of rigidity and power.  

I loved it.  Tim and I are going to try to make it to see all seven in person while we're here.

Let me translate that for you: 

Американские хот доги!

Americansky (American) Xhot Dogi! 

Okay, okay, so it might be lost on you since you can't hear it out loud.  But just say it with a Russian accent, it will sound better.  I promise.

You guys.

You guuuuuuyyyyyyssss.

This thing that I am eating is the BEST. THING. I. HAVE. EVER. EATEN.

Like, EVER.

I will try and describe it to you, even though I know the translation from taste buds to text will be almost like a kindergartener who's been to heaven drawing a crayon picture to show you what it's like up there.

They are called Pyshky, and they are manna from the gods.  They basically fry them and dip them in powdered sugar, which sounds fairly pedestrian. This thing looks like an ordinary donut.

Au contraire! It is anything but.  The pyshky is chewy and thick and juuuuust the right amount of crispy on the outside, and the inside is hot and soft.  Add to that a layer of theeee best powdered sugar I have ever eaten on the outside.  It quite literally melted in my mouth, and it didn't taste nasty and weird like powdered sugar in the States does.  Top it off with the delicious taste of anything that has been deep-fat fried, and you have Pyshky.

If you follow me on Instagram (and if you don't, then you should), you have already seen this picture.  My apologies.

But hey, look how CUTE those little berries are! I got a chance to try one of them, and they were so good.  Like milder, sweeter strawberries.  I can't remember what they're called, but I will call them Adoraberries.

 If you are a Mormon, then you automatically come equipped with Mormon radar.  You can spot them a mile away with pretty good accuracy.  It's just something about Mormons--the way we dress (or don't dress), mostly, but also the way we smile, the way we greet each other, the way we talk.

Tim and I were riding the Metro to Stake Conference last Sunday, when all of a sudden we got off on the platform and noticed someone from church.

Then someone else.

Then some missionaries.

Then senior couples, and more Mormons, and more Mormons, until we were just caught up in this happy tidal wave of Mormons, all moving toward the same place, falling in with the same pace as everyone else.  It was the craziest snowball effect I've ever seen.  We just got swept up in it almost without even realizing it, and all of a sudden, we were surrounded by this happy group of people, chatting and laughing and greeting one another on their way out of the Metro, walking to Stake Conference.  

One thing I absolutely love about our church: you can fly halfway across the world, where you don't know a soul, and still feel like there are people that are kind and welcoming and genuinely care about you.

More Metro pretties.  I told you I couldn't get enough.

What our window looks like around 11:00 PM.  I love it.  We never miss a sunset, because the sun takes its sweet time going down, and looks fabulous the entire time.

Only downside: waking up at 5 in the morning and not being able to get back to sleep because your body is absolutely certain it must be 9 AM.

My very own Americansky Xhot Dogi at Gorky Park.  It's certainly no J-Dawgs, but it'll do.

An average Metro ride.  I think I blend in pretty well by now. It's easy.  All you do is follow these simple steps:

1. Push your way onto the Metro. Use force, when necessary.
2. Walk quickly to a spot and brace yourself for the lurch.  Or, if you're lucky, find a seat and sit.
3. Don't smile.
4. No, seriously. Don't smile.  Almost nobody smiles in the Metro.  That's one way they they can tell you are a foreigner for sure. 
5. Look as sad and depressed as possible.
6. Also mix some anger and "What are you looking at?" attitude in there.
7. Don't make eye contact with the crazies or drunks. (I have yet to meet one, but I'm sure I'll run across one eventually.)

See? Easy as pie.  

 A babushka begging for change. A pretty common sight near the Metro entrances.

You can't help but wonder what kind of life they have had.  Most of them are old enough to have experienced most of their lives under a communist regime, only to have their entire world transformed two decades ago.  They have seen so much transition and endured through so much.

No wonder people don't smile at each other on the Metro.  But then again, neither do people in New York, I imagine.  Or any big city, for that matter.

All that being said, I have seen so many Russians warm up immediately to us once Tim has started speaking to them.  They are so willing to love, you just have to get past their cold manner on the street. Russians aren't overly courteous of complete strangers, but once they know you, they are the kindest, most compassionate people.  Without fail, every single Russian I have made the effort to know has blown me away with how kind they are. 

I've heard it described like this: Americans have lots of friends, but in reality, most of our friends are acquaintances that we don't see too often.  We are pretty much kind and open to everyone we meet right off the bat, but we don't form deep bonds with everyone we meet.  We form lots of shallow ones and a few deep bonds with our very best friends.

Russians, on the other hand, can seem cold and impersonal on the street.  They don't have "tons of friends" like Americans do.  Instead, they have their family and some really close friends that they would do anything for.  Russians don't make casual aquaintances--you're either in or you're out.  And once you're in, you're in.  

That's all I've got for today!


  1. I'm loving your blog. And dude, I would fit in so well in Russia. You basically just described an introvert.

    1. Haha...I know! You should come visit me, then we could be introverts together!


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