Happy New Year!
It's been a crazy month. I worked very hard. Then I played very hard. (I got help on that last bit thanks to a visit by Alicia!**)
The new year finds me in a new apartment. While it's been a rewarding experience living with a family, it's also been a strain on my work productivity, so I've relocated to a more work-conducive flat in a quieter region of Moscow. I'll report some more on my new pad once I get settled in.
The holidays, my move, and most of all Alicia's visit re-opened my eyes to what Moscow can be. And it's not all bad. The city is fast-paced and crazy, in areas it's gray and dingy, but there are pockets with really amazing treasures, things you just can't see anywhere else, such as a gorgeous Russian orthodox church alongside a Stalin-era skyscraper; or the embalmed father of the USSR directly across an ice-skating rink... and me in the middle:
I also started to see the forests and the trees. This huge city is packed with parks full of beautiful trees covered in fluffy white snow. I just wasn't living anywhere near one of these parks in my old apartment. But I am now.
(Technically, the park above, or rather the former tsarist estate Kolomenskoye, is nowhere near my new apartment, but you get the idea. Here are links for more winter pictures of Moscow and St. Petersburg, if you haven't already seen them on FB.)
Moscow was impressing me so much that I started to let my guard down a bit. That's when Moscow reminded me that it cannot be taken too lightly. But the story of how my 100-pound suitcase was stolen... and then recovered... during my move yesterday requires its own blog entry. I hope that one of your New Year's resolutions is to exercise patience ☺
**I dedicate this blog to one of my very best friends, Alicia, who has managed to visit me in every place I have lived for more than a month (Dallas, Italy, Czech Republic/Eastern Europe, California, and Russia! For Russia, Alicia even learned how to read Cyrillic!) and who is an A++ traveling companion. I swear that next time she gets to pick the locale! Oh, and Alicia also took many (most?) of the pictures in this blog and in the new Moscow & St. Pete albums.