Arrival in Moscow

Change is hard, and doing it alone takes some courage, but I am here in Moscow. I had a teary goodbye to Cody a few days before I left as he returned to Riga and then mom and Jess the morning of my flight. I have many mantras I keep in my head that have gotten me through different stages of this process already, and they are working wonders. It is amazing what positive self-talk will do.

The morning of my flight began with breakfast out with the family as it always does. Jess and Maruis brought me some Nuvrei pastries for the trip and my belly was full of goodness. I wanted to get to the airport early because of the Delta issues so in Portland mom came in with me and helped me with my bags. I was lucky she did because the line was unbelievably long and the flight was delayed so she helped shlep my bags and then joined me for a beer and shopping to help pass the time.

I hopped on the plane a few hours after arriving to PDX. One movie (Concussion- which I recommend) one book (Courage for Beginners- which I also recommend) and a few hours of sleep I landed in Amsterdam 30 minutes before my flight was supposed to take off.  After some stress and high quality sprinting I arrived at SVO with high spirits and no bags which was to be expected I suppose, given the Delta situation. I was greeted at the airport by a lovely colleague and after waiting for another new staff member we were off. It was daylight and the outskirts were breezing by as I tried to get a glimpse of all I could.

My first impression is that it looked a lot like any other city with freeways, malls, tall apartment buildings and such. Although I intended to study the Cyrillic alphabet more this summer, it didn’t happen and many words went undetected, although there were some familiar businesses out there I could make out.

We arrived at the apartment complex I will call home for the next  year or so, and it was huge. There are 9 entrance doors along an expansive narrow building. Each section has 9 floors with two apartments off of each floor. Many of our school teachers live here as well as other people too. I dropped off my things and was whisked away to my acting directors apartment a few entrances down. When I walked in, I got a taste of the kind, generous, and cheerful staff I will be working with. There was beer, champagne, water and amazing home-cooked food for us to dig into. The jet lag was setting in, so after a while, I headed back to my apartment. I was able to unpack my one bag, move some furniture around and get some shut eye.

The following morning we took a stroll around the neighborhood with all of the new hires living in our complex. The area is wonderful and it was especially nice since the weather was so agreeable, sunny and about 80 degrees. We were taken by some grocery stores, restaurants, and the metro. It is a really convenient location and there are so many amenities around. By far it will be the easiest and best location I have lived in since moving overseas..

Entering the metro station I got a sense of how huge the city is. There were people everywhere, hustling to get on the trains that conveniently run every 2 minutes. The escalator down is unlike any you have ever seen, narrow and deep. I learned that they were bunkers in the past and it completely made sense. We hopped on the metro green line and headed to Red Square while taking in the tiled artwork and statues. I got my first lucky rub on one of the statues (I chose the dogs snout over the gun) and climbed into the sunshine.

When you step out of the metro in downtown Moscow, you are greeted by amazing buildings all around. I saw the Bolshoi Theater from afar and we ventured into Red Square. As we entered through the colorful gates I was giddy and filled with goosebumps at the excitement of seeing St. Basils Cathedral for the first time. It was spectacular. The shapes, patterns and colors are magnificent and so pleasing to the eye. Such a wonderful intro to this great city. I am excited for what is to come!

The Vatican

So, I love the new Pope. I am totally pro-Pope and all of his ideas on poverty, climate change, capitalism and so on. I was excited to head to the Vatican for the day and experience it. The afternoon was the perfect time to visit the museum and the church. Everywhere we looked it was beautiful and filled with amazing history. I really felt like I was visiting a special place while I was there and it is an experience I won’t forget.

Walking Tour of Rome

After heading to the Colosseum we walked all around the ruins and parks around the area and got to learn more about the history of Rome. The weather cooperated and the sun was a welcome change to the already dark Riga days. People were out strolling, shopping and touring the city right along with us. To be in the middle of these ancient structures was amazing.


Rome in October

Well, it is better late than never, but I am sitting on the couch with bronchitis again looking through photos and realized that I have not posted since November. Where has the year gone? Things have been up and down this year, but with the sun out and me stuck inside I wanted to share some of the great moments.

In October Dutch came to visit us and we headed to Italy. Venice was beautiful and Rome was amazing. Seeing the Colosseum for the first time, taking a walking tour of the city and some great food were a few of the highlights. It was amazing to lear about the history of the gladiators and see it in real life. I found all if it fascinating.

Canals of Venice

After the train, we stepped out of the station and was welcomed by the grand canal and a miraculous view of the city. It was dusk and the sky was magnificent. I had traveled to Venice before and I got the same amazed feeling the second time as I looked around. The canals and alleys continued to amaze me as we walked around for three days and here are some of the best shots of the water butting up against the buildings, while life continues, including some construction workers.

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October Holiday… Getting to Venice

Rome by flight and 2 hours later, Venice by train… that is how our Italy holiday with Dutch started. We showed up in the city of canals in the dark, eventually found our Air BnB after some tech difficulty, and called it a night after about 12 hours of travel. Of course we had to get some pizza first, but after a pie and calzone, we all headed to bed to prepare our big first day.

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Latvian Countryside with Dutch

We are so happy to have Dutch visiting us for two weeks. The very day he got here, we jumped in the car and headed to a cabin for the weekend. It was just perfect. The fall crisp air was wonderful, the castle in Cesis was magnificent, as always, and the cabin was great (except for the 972 black flies in the house.) Over the weekend visited an outdoor art shop, had lunch at our favorite place in Cesis, and walked around the town. Then we headed back, started a fire, cooked dinner and hunkered in. We spent the daylight hours by the lake waiting for the hot tub to heat up. I don’t think it ever got “hot” but Cody and Dutch braved the cold air and sat outside under the stars for a couple of hours. It was a great weekend!

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