Today I tried to figure out the washing machine but there’s still nothing. Perhaps it’s broken because I’ve tried everything, including directions straight from the landlady on how to use it. And so the washing machine saga continues…

After Alisa finished work we caught the train into the city to go shopping. We ended up at a book shop and found a bunch of books for both English as a foreign language and Russian as a foreign language. I bought some Russian books and Alisa bought English and French books. We also bought some fiction in English to read for fun. We also bought a lot of resources to help us in our teaching. But all in all I feel really happy and energized to now have some tools to help me in my studies.

Afterward we went walking around downtown Moscow and saw the Kremlin, St. Basil’s Cathedral and GUM all lit up and beautiful. We walked through Red Square which looked exquisite as always. I still can’t believe walking in Red Square is now part of a typical weekend in the city, that I can go there and visit such an incredible place anytime I want to. So all in all it was a wonderful, magical and productive day. It doesn’t get any better than that!
Referring back to the last post on the banya, I spoke to one of my Russian friends and told her about my experience. She said that it wasn’t a real banya but more like a modern sauna. But what I was surprised to find out was that she’d never been to a true banya. I’d mistakenly thought it was something like a Russian rite-of-passage and everyone had been. But she likened it to S&M because of the beating with birch branches (for blood circulation)! I know that cultural stereotypes are just that and every person is different, but I’m still shocked when such things are disproven, especially things that aren’t necessarily the typical stereotype (e.g. bears walking down the street) but something that is probably true for the most part.


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