Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Three Day Weekend

Saturday, October 10, 2015

My last post was about my first holiday in Russia. Well, two weekends ago I had my second. This holiday was the celebration of the Republics independence from the Soviet Union. I didn't do anything Friday night because I had a night class, so, like most Friday nights, I didn't do anything.

On Saturday my friend, Alesya invited me over to her apartment for lunch. It is a Russian custom to bring something to someones house - like a snack or dessert. I brought wine and a cake. Alesya made an amazing lunch with so many fresh vegetables from her parents' garden. We had beef and potatoes, a beet salad, pickles, cheese, and zucchini!

We sat and talked for a couple hours, eating dessert and drinking wine. She is such a great friend and is willing to meet with me even though we don't speak each other's languages fluently. While we were sitting and talking it started snowing and there was a slight white out. I got a few crappy pictures of it on my phone, but the pictures below are of the aftermath.

Alesya had an amazing view from an outdoor balcony in her apartment building and took me to see it so I could take pictures. Isn't that mosque amazing?  Some lady started talking to me while I was taking a picture of the graffiti on the garage. I told her I didn't speak English, and I'm pretty sure she probably thought I was crazy. Oh well.
Sunday, October 11, 2015
On Sunday, Patrick and I met up with our friends Alsu and Diana who were going to show us a thrift store we could look at. Since arrived before them we waited in a McDonalds and had our first Russian fries. They were pretty much the same as American fries, but I think they were made in a different oil because they had a slightly different taste.

Diana met us in the McDonalds then we walked to the mall where we met Alsu. The store was a bust but I did find a shirt with English writing that said, "Maybe Find Life Enjoy." I'm guess someone either used Google translate or they thought they knew English. Afterwards, they took us to a horse track where we saw real horses! The one I took pictures of was going crazy running around his enclosure. I wish I could ride horses! Although he seemed crazy he was so majestic. We walked up to the track as well to take a look but it was too cold so we headed back to the street.
As we were walking it started to snow really hard. We were all covered in snow in a matter of minutes. To get out of the cold we took a bus to another mall to find something to do. This mall was pretty amazing. It had a HUGE kids play area that reminded me of Discovery Zone. I was completely nostalgic for my childhood. We were going to go bowling but decided to get some pizza instead. Before we left we stopped at a book store that had a selection of English books and spent way more time in there than we were expecting. I ended up leaving with a bilingual Mary Poppins book that I still haven't started because I get such bad anxiety when I try to learn Russian. Patrick and I headed back to our apartment afterwards where I attempted to lesson plan with my cousin but ended up drinking too much wine to focus. I have not changed in Russia!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

First Republic Holiday

Thursday, September 24, 2015

One of many positives about living in the Republic of Bashkortostan is that there is a large Muslim population so not only do we celebrate Russian holidays but we also celebrate Muslim holidays. I had the day off of work on September 24 for Kurban Bayram. I met up with my friend, Anya, for the first time. We wanted to rent bikes but there was a wait so we just ended up walking around. It was a beautiful, warm day! I brought my coat but I didn't even need it!

The first place we stopped at was Yakutova Park. I have been to this park before but it is really cute. Plus, there is a little amusement park for kids! I found that people in the area like to put locks on things like the bridge in Paris.
Next, we walked towards Salavat Yulaev Park. We stopped at a store to get some water and ice cream before we headed to the park. There are so many parks in Ufa that I don't even know the other parks I went to after this. Also, most people will say the names in Russian and it's hard for me to follow along with what they are saying. I'm getting better though! I love the tops of the houses here! They are so colorful and fun. It's one of the things I first saw when I landed, but I still love them every time I see them.
We headed down this little pathway in the middle of the street. It was very charming and led to the entrance of another park that opened up to the river.
Finally, we walked down to the river and just sat for some time while the sun went down. I was so relieved to finally rest. I'm way too out of shape to be living here. People love to walk here! I love walking, but I didn't realize how out of shape America made me.
Sorry for those who read my blog. I've been terrible at editing my photos and blogging! Hopefully, my Facebook and Instagram posts keep you up to date enough!
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