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!

Athens Greece with Cathy and Rick

A few days after Cathy and Rick arrived we headed to Athens to start our Greek adventure. We stayed at a great AirBnB in a great location. The home was in walking distance of great local food, markets, Mexican food and the Parthenon. Well, I guess the last is debatable, but yes, we walked everywhere, including many km up and down hills to the Parthenon. Good thing we all had some sturdy walking shoes, which came in handy not only for comfort but to dodge the rubbish all over the street.

The first day out we explored the city and found some great little shops and got our bearings. It was fun to just walk and explore the city while catching up and chatting. We were shocked how dirty and run down the city was, but then you have to remember that in addition to the financial crisis, the city is freakin’ ancient.

IMG_2274

The next day we did it up big, starting with a delicious breakfast of burritos and margaritas. Then to an antiques market and a snack of halloumi and tzatziki. Our table was on the roof overlooking an archaeological site and it was amazing to see the process of excavation, although no one was working at the time, probably due to the crazy heat. IMG_2283 IMG_2291 IMG_2292 IMG_2294

Next, we headed to the Parthenon through the park and up the hill. It was a long way, but completely worth it as I have never seen something so epic before. It rivaled Anchor Wat but with the dry landscape, it seemed so grand where in Cambodia, the jungle makes it seem cozy and secretive. It was really spectacular and I am so appreciative that I got to see Athens up close and in person. IMG_2295 IMG_2298 IMG_2301 IMG_2305 IMG_2307 IMG_2314 IMG_2323 IMG_2331 IMG_2333 IMG_2340 IMG_2341 IMG_2342

Internet is Up and Running

The internet is better and just in time to share our 10 day trip to Zanzibar. Hopefully the next many posts will convince our families and readers to come to this wonderful country. Yes, living in Tanzania comes with challenges, but it has so many rewards.

Karibu From Us

Some include…

  • amazingly friendly local people of Dar and all other places we have already traveled to
  • wonderful sunny weather that is not only hot, but comes with seasons
  • beautiful beaches and water within walking
  • full holiday vacations only 40 minutes away
  • small villages to visit
  • farm animals at almost every turn
  • spunky and rhythmic local music
  • energetic and enthusiastic dance partners
  • a shopping mall and many grocery stores full of most needed amenities
  • an adequate two-screen movie theater
  • brilliant and colorful fabrics everywhere you look
  • afternoon drinks on the beach
  • tasty local barbequed chicken, lamb and beef
  • tons of fresh veggies
  • ripe and sweet tropical fruit
  • our reliable and generous driver Justin
  • our Kiswahili teacher, Mama J
  • and friends, friends, friends

So if this and the next many posts do not convince you all that Tanzania is not a fantastic, wonderful and safe place to visit, I guess I need to work a lot harder on this here little blog.