Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Today in Moscow

John Quincy Adams, first U.S. representative to Russia, outside the Embassy, before the snow began to fall.

They warned us that a winter storm was headed our way, bringing with it lots of snow and a twenty degree rise in temperature. They were right. We went from zero degrees Fahrenheit up to 20 degrees within about an hour's time last night. And this is what we woke up to this morning:

Well, that's not quite true. The photo above was taken 3 hours after I woke up, when there was finally enough light to see. We're still experiencing extremely short days - in the winter, the sun rises late, sets early and never gets far above the horizon.

The front steps, after they were shovelled:

I never thought I'd say this, not ever, but when I went out this morning and my thermometer read 20 degrees, I said "wow, it's actually warm today, at last."  Nothing like a couple of weeks hovering around - and even below - zero degrees Fahrenheit to make 20 degrees seem warm.

It's supposed to turn cold again by Friday. I took advantage of the brief respite from the frigid temps to hop on the bus to Dorogomilovo with some friends. The cupboards were looking pretty bare after my self-imposed hibernation. If you could ignore the icy bits of snow pelting you in the face as you walked, it was actually a pleasant morning to be out, for the first time since the new year began.

My neighborhood vegetable market (...and yes, I know that first sign says "meat." I don't buy meat there.):

Tractors had already gone through and moved the snow out of the market lanes. The parking lot, though, and the sidewalks leading to the market? Not so much. I left the wheelie cart at home and lugged a backpack instead. Smart move on my part, because there is no way that cart would have gotten through the parking lot.

Here is how we buy spices in Moscow:

All of those spices - cinnamon, cumin, coriander, garlic, red pepper, sesame seeds, basil - for about $5 total. I'm going to miss the spice sellers when we move.

And this is how we buy nuts and dried fruit:

A kilo of dried mango. Half a pound of dried cranberries. Raw almonds, cashews and pumpkin seeds. Pistachios. Apricots. All for maybe $30?  I'll be making granola later today, in my warm kitchen. The yogurt is already cooking on the countertop. Tea is brewing.

The best kind of winter day.


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