Friday, May 17, 2013

Dandelions and pookh

This time of year brings some very noticeable occurrences  to our part of Russia. I love the warmer weather and everything turning from white and to green. I'm so thankful for the changing of seasons. It seems Russia has two very pronounced seasons which would be winter and summer. Spring and fall kind of sneak in and make a quick appearance before be ushered out of the scene. On my way to Russian lessons yesterday, I had to take a few pictures to share on here.

First of all, I have to smile at all of the dandelions around here. My dad was always so particular to keep every dandelion out of our yard. He worked hard to make our yard gorgeous and perfect to run through barefoot. No stickers, no dandelions, just beautiful, velvety grass. Well, here in Russia dandelions have free reign and take advantage of their given freedom!

All those pretty yellow flowers are actually dandelions! Isn't that incredible?? I love the purple flowers that are determined to survive in spite of the overwhelming dandelions. The colors of the yellow and purple together make for a lovely view on my walk. 

The other thing that cannot be missed on my walk is the pookh. At least I think that is how it would be spelled in English. The Russian word is пух and it literally means fluff or fuzz! It's very interesting stuff. I was having a hard time getting a good picture with my camera until I realized you could see it better against the this green fence. 

No, that's not snow, it's fuzz! LOL :) 

It's a little rough walk through heavy clouds of fuzz because every time I breath, fluff goes up my nose. It's a very strange feeling! LOL 

It builds up pretty quickly in some areas on the ground this time of year. We just can't live without white stuff here I guess. 

Here are the fellows that cause all of the fluffiness! :) I'm not sure what they are called in English, so if anyone knows please tell me!! 

Friday, May 10, 2013

Fireworks for Victory Day

We experienced some culture tonight and I decided to write it down. One reason being that I want to remember it, and the other being that you might find it interesting. :)

 May 9 is Victory Day for Russia. We walked with a couple families from our church to the town square to watch a fireworks display. When I say town square, I mean our town of Domodedovo, not Moscow.

It was a perfect night. The temperatures were warm and we just needed a light jacket. For me the jacket was more for the mosquitoes, but I was glad I brought it for the walk home. It's about a 30 minute walk from where we live. As we walked, it felt like the whole town was walking with us. They closed off the main streets by the square because of all of the people. As we got close, I could hear the live Russian patriotic music playing. There were thousands of people roaming around. Many of them waving their Russian flags, some dancing to the music, but most of them were just talking and enjoying the beautiful evening and the excitement of the the holiday. In the center of the square is a statue of Lenin. There were many Russian flags around the square waving in the calm, cool breeze. Flower beds grace the square with tulips that are just beginning to bloom.

The live music that was playing stopped, and they began to talk about lives lost and their strong country still honoring those so many years later. As soon as he finished his patriotic speech, the firework show began. It was so interesting to experience something so patriotic in a country outside of my own. I thought I would feel intimidated, but instead I felt happy almost like I should offer congratulations to those around me. If you have never experienced national pride outside of your own country, I think it's something you should do sometime. It will broaden your worldview! 

Monday, May 6, 2013

He is Risen!

Христос воскрес! Easter in Russia is an amazing time of year. Due to visa difficulties last year, this was my first Easter in Russia.  Preparation began Friday with a shopping trip in which this large hunk of meat came home with us. 

I thought it would be fun to serve to ham to indeed! That is a 18 pound chunk raw pork! After I moved past the initial intimidation and did some googling, I was read to begin the cutting and seasoning. One of the best things about living in a different country is learning to do things you never thought you would or even could do! :) 
I got it cut up and smothered with soy sauce, liquid smoke, garlic, salt and pepper. It sat in the fridge to soak up the yummy flavors overnight. Saturday our house smelled wonderful all day while they cooked. It took about 10 hours for them all to cook. 

This is the finished product. Sunday I warmed it up with a sauce I made from honey, minced garlic, soy sauce and liquid smoke. A lot of prayer when into this meat! I have never felt so intimidated by cooking before! We were blessed with 52 people in attendance for the whole service!

A very common food for Russian Easter is Kulich. It is a sweet bread and often has raisins inside. 

It is marked with the Russian letters "ХВ" which stands for Христос воскрес (He is risen).

I decided to make sugar cookies with those letters since another lady was making the yummy bread.

It was such a fun day. I've always said my favorite holiday is Christmas, but I think that has changed living in Russia. Their Christmas is pretty dull and not a very big deal, but they make up for it at Easter! Воистину Воскрес (Truly He is risen)!