Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Notes from the Motherland

Well, we made it to Russia. Just barely. I think one of the biggest things I learned about travelling with children is to do the exact oposite of your instinct. The flights were terrible. My smiling, quiet (sometimes), shy (other times), amiable children were replaced with screaming, uncooperative, fussy toddlers. Nothing worked. Nothing. Well, hold on, one thing worked: sheer exhaustion. When they did sleep, it wasn't long enough, so they were worse off when they woke up.
The layover that I thought would be beneficial? Turns out that when you connect in Heathrow you have to go through security again! Seriously, that is FUCKING BULLSHIT. England, I will never forgive you. (Sorry to my neice who sometimes reads my blog! and her mom).
AND THEN THERE WAS THE TRAIN RIDE. Wow. Anna was in complete meltdown mode the entire ride, it was broken up by brief periods of sleep, maybe 45 minutes at the most. The ride was very long. BUT, once the night passed (we boarded the train at 8:00 PM and arrived in Saratov at 12:00 PM the next day) things turned a corner and the bad mood lifted a little.
The past few days have been nicely paced, we get up and feed the babies breakfast, then head over to Z's mother's apartment to spend the day. Today we took a ride to see family in a small village not too far from the city. We ate a nice meal, but the highlight was the Russian Banya. It's a sauna, but you can also bathe. It is seperate from the house, has a small room to change your clothes and also to feed the fire, and the main room with benches, water basins, and the birch branches for theraputic 'beatings'. Awesome.
I saw that my company closed down for the weather back home. It hasn't snowed once here, but it has been FREEZING. Tomorrow the schools here will be closed for the weather, too, but not for snow, for cold weather. -25 degrees Celcius. Too cold to convert to Fahrenheit.
Scenes from the train:

From Z's mom's kitchen:

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