Friday, December 30, 2016

Christmas 2016

I didn't write a Christmas post last year because I didn't celebrate Christmas. Since Christmas (on December 25) isn't celebrated in Russia I ended up working. It's in our contract that we don't have to work on certain American holidays, but I'm one of those people who will work if I don't have any plans because I need the money. This year Christmas landed on Sunday, so I only had a private lesson in the morning.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Helsinki, Pt. 3: Hietaniemi Cemetery

Hietaniemenkatu 20, 00100 Helsinki, Finland
One of the few places I really wanted to visit while in Helsinki was Hietaniemi Cemetery. I'm pretty sure my aunt and uncle thought I was crazy when I told them I wanted to visit it. My aunt pointed out that it was really close to Temppeliaukion Church, so it wouldn't be out of our way.

I didn't know what to except heading to the cemetery, but I should have anticipated a wall surrounding it. Eventually, we found the entrance, and I was pleasantly surprised by the view in front of me. The headstones and rocks were covered in a green lichen (a powdery-type algae). While this probably isn't good for the headstones, to me, it added to the forest atmosphere I was feeling when I walked inside.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Helsinki, Pt. 2: Temppeliaukion Church

Lutherinkatu 3, 00101 Helsinki, Finland
Built before 1970, Temppeliaukion Church was our first stop on Friday. This church was designed by brothers Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen in 1961. It was opened in 1969, and is visited by 500,000 people yearly. The walls are made from the natural rock, which still lets water seep through, and, in conjunction with the architectural shape, the acoustics make it the perfect place for concerts. The interior alone is worth the visit.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Helsinki, Pt. 1

Helsinki, Finland
At the beginning of the month I went on a spontaneous trip to Helsinki, Finland. It wasn't completely last-minute, but, for me, three-weeks notice is pretty impulsive. I had received a message from my aunt a few weeks prior asking if I would be able to take off work for a few days to meet her and my uncle in Helsinki. Since Russia has obnoxious visa requirements it was easier for me to go to Finland than her to come to Russia. The timing couldn't have been better! I just finished with one of my adult classes, so I didn't have to take any time off of work.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Dolphin Concert

When A and I first started dating he would listen to the same few songs. I actually liked them, and I was interested in who the singer was. He told me about Дельфин (Dolphin), and I was immediately hooked.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Salavat Yulaev Hockey Game

Ufa Arena ul. Lenina, 114 Ufa Respublika Bashkortostan, Russia 450006
Last Thursday, A and I went to the Salavat Yulaev hockey game at Ufa Arena. It was a 7pm game, and that night I had a class that ended at 7pm. Luckily, it's right down the street from my work so we only missed the first 5 minutes. I was able to get free hockey tickets*, two weeks ago, when I spent over a certain amount at their team shop. That would be a Christmas gift spoiler, but, luckily, my dad and brother don't read my blog. Can you believe that was my second hockey game in a week? I'm still in the process of editing my photos from Finland, so you'll see those hockey pictures later.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Russia-Bashkir Monument of Friendship

Sochinskaya ul., Ufa, Respublika Bashkortostan, Russia, 450057
When I was living in Ohio, I used to sit in my parents' backyard and think, "I wonder if there is a place in this yard where no one has ever stepped." In the millions of years of planet earth, is there one centimeter of this yard that has never been touched by single person? I also spend a lot of time thinking what happened in my yard 100, 500, even 1,000 years ago? It's interesting to think about, right? Of course, it's easier to imagine when you have evidence of these historic places, like Angkor Wat in Cambodia, but even without the physical evidence from the time, it's fascinating to imagine what the place was like in ancient times.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Another Look at Innopolis

Innopolis, Tatarstan, Russia

I've had the pictures in this post queued for a very long time. I, honestly, didn't know how to make it into a real post. I had already written this post in July about Innopolis, so I was at a loss for how to present these photos. As I was editing posts, I was taken back to my time there. It feels like it was years ago, and I cannot believe how quickly time is flying by! It's already December, and I'll be back in America (probably) in just seven months! I almost started crying the other day thinking about how I'll be leaving. I guess this is less about Innopolis and more about how time needs to slow down because I'm not ready to leave Russia.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Alley of Modern Sculpture

ul. Lenina, 1, Ufa, Respublika Bashkortostan, Russia, 450077

I'm always scouring the internet and social media for new places to visit and explore. I spent too many years bored and hating my hometown, so now I'm trying to branch out and use that opportunity to show you what I've found in Russia. A few weeks ago I came across these sculptures, and I was surprised that I had never seen them before. I'm always convinced I've seen every inch of Ufa, and then I'm surprised when I come across something new. I couldn't tell exactly where they were located from the photos because they were very close up. Then, A and I went for a walk a few weekends ago, and I couldn't believe that they almost next to where I work.
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