Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Stove Victory and other "one month" thoughts...

We just hit our one month and a few days (minus 3 weeks in U.S./Aruba) anniversary in Moscow!  I thought it particularly appropriate to stop and reflect on what we’ve learned in this wonderful city so far (and it truly is wonderful):
  • I’ve learned that while trying out my Russian vocab, I’ve been introducing Steve as “my man” when I thought I was saying “my husband”....that explains the occasional snicker.  But then again, he IS my man!  I think I'll keep it up.
  • I’ve learned that mustard, lasagna and green tea are not always what they appear to be....turned out they were wasabi paste (of a yellowish tinge), some sort of ham casserole and an unfamiliar Madori green licorice-tasting carbonated beverage.  Our learning curve is straight up 90 degrees! 
  • I’ve learned you can line up most service related requests up until midnight any day, i.e. the Internet guy came to our rescue at 10 p.m. on a Sunday night (at no additional fee) and IKEA is making a delivery tonight between 6 p.m. and midnight!!  We’ll leave the light on...
  • I’ve learned you can find just about anything in Moscow....for a small (high) price.  Well, maybe not Moe’s “Joey Bag of Doughnuts” burrito - but practically everything else!
  • I’ve learned very few people speak English in Russia (although most do in the business community).  When acting out charades fails - DRAW!  My stick figures have improved dramatically, although recently I drew a stick figure in a shower - I was looking for a shower caddy to hold shampoo bottles, etc. I followed the employee through the store, up and down aisles and finally arrived at.....the umbrella rack!  I smiled and nodded and bought an umbrella...maybe I’ll use it in the shower. 
  • And...I’ve learned when your stove is not working for 30 straight days, call your German neighbor to come over and read the German directions...viola!  We have electric burners again!  Apparently we were overlooking some obscure button on the back of the stove that when pressed and held for 20 seconds, releases the child lock....but of course!  Ugh - the insanity!!
I’ve also learned:
  • getting out of your comfort zone really won’t kill you...really
  • you can take on a lot more than you think 
  • people are people - if you need help, someone will come
  • human emotions transcend international boundaries
  • creativity can be manifested during times of independence and frustration

  • if you smile at someone long enough....they might just smile back