Monday, August 25, 2014

Settling in...

Settling in, but not really, because tomorrow we move again. This time, inshallah, to our real house. Last move for two years, knock on wood, fingers crossed, etc. etc.

I packed suitcases and kitchenware this morning for as long as I could stand it. Then I decided to come here instead. I could've gone to the store, but A.) do I really need more stuff to move tomorrow? We can live without yogurt for a day, and B.) it's raining outside.

We have seen more rain in the 13 days since arriving in Moscow than we saw in a typical year in Amman.

Today on compound.

We've been out and about already. First we dragged the kids to Red Square. I didn't get a single good picture with my camera phone though, so don't tell them, but we'll be going back soon. Poor kids.

Over the weekend we took advantage of a respite in the rain one evening and walked across the Moscow River to try a Georgian restaurant. I've been making khachapuri (dough stuffed with cheese and fried) for years, ever since my housekeeper in Armenia taught me how - it's everyone's favorite meal, and the kids were eager to try the real thing. I was eager to stop making it from scratch. Three of the kids loved it; one pronounced my khachapuri better. Go me! Jury still out on who makes better krasnoe lobio (spicy mashed kidney beans), me or the Georgians.

On our way back across the river after dinner, we stopped to take this photo. The building in the foreground is the Russian White House. That weird sunset reflection to the right? That's the sun hitting our Embassy - that's where we live.

Next we hit the Old Arbat. I first saw the Old Arbat back in 1989, or 1991, or something like that. It was - and is - a beautiful pedestrian walking street, with cafes and shops and historic old buildings.

It does look a bit different now. When we were first posted here in '99, there was none of this. Now, in addition to Starbucks, there's a pretzel shop. A Shake Shake. All sorts of American stores. It's kind of cool and kind of sad, all at once.

 I always did like this church, between the Arbat and the Ambassador's residence.

Overall, my first impressions of the city are favorable. The Russians have clearly spent a ton of money updating the infrastructure, and everything in the city center appears cleaner, safer, less chaotic than it did all those years ago.

I'm still finding my footing. Haven't found a decent store yet, at least not within walking distance, and I'm fighting off a teeny bit of panic, a fear that we're all going to starve. It's nothing, really: I do this at every new post. I stroll the aisles of the stores in search of something familiar, and when I don't see it right away, I get all stress-y. I'm kind of a crazy health food cook, and the sight of a bag of flaxseeds, or a box of tofu, does wonders for my mood. It's okay - I recognize the feeling and I know it'll pass, eventually. For now though: arghhhhh. What am I gonna feed my family? (That doesn't involve much chopping...?).

More later. I guess I should get back to packing up that welcome kit and facebook-stalking all the people I am missing right now. You know who you are.


Paul Gormley said... [Reply]

Hi Donna: I've been enjoying your blog for some time now, and I have a question I wonder if you can help me with. I recently passed the OA and my family is going through med clearances. It looks like one of my 4 kids will receive a class 2 clearance. We are wondering how limiting that might be on our life in the FS. Honestly, it's not even so much the career advancement aspect as the keeping the family together as much as possible part. Do you have any perspective on that, or know anyone who might? If so, any chance you could shoot me a private email at Thanks!

The Expatresse said... [Reply]

Moscow IS a gorgeous city!

Please. Write your own stuff.