Thursday, February 18, 2016

If you don't have anything nice to say...

Yes, I know, I've been unusually quiet over here.

But like your mother told you: if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.

And I have nothing nice to say about the dark cold days of winter here in Moscow.

I saw the sun maybe twice in January? Even then it was so low in the sky as to be nearly invisible, nothing more than a watery greyish orb trying to poke through the cloud cover just above the grey and beige rooftops.

Now, there are people who say all of this cold and dark doesn't bother them.

I am not one of those people.

There aren't enough vitamin D pills in the world to stop me from sinking into - well, not depression exactly. More like malaise. I wander the world, tired and grumpy and sad, eating every bit of sugar and fat that comes my way. Which of course only makes me tired-er and grumpier.

The only thing that cheers me up is working out hard. But there are only so many hours a day you can spend in the gym. Eventually you have to get out of the weight room and go to the grocery store, where the Doritos call to you from across the twilight expanse of shelves.

The kids get on the school bus in the dark.

The kids get off the school bus - at 4pm! - in the dark.

It is always either dark or getting dark. Dusk. Darkish. Twilight. Bleak.

But then, within a matter of days in February, the world starts shifting on its axis and the days grow longer with a speed that doesn't seem possible.  One day it is dark when you leave the house in the morning to go to the gym. The next day - you can see the sky.

And then, today, there was this:

The view from my living room: the Russian White House.

Blue skies! Sunshine! Granted, it was 19 degrees Fahrenheit this morning, so it's no Hawaii, but still - it's a literal light at the end of my Moscow tunnel.

And suddenly I am feeling healthy and hopeful.

It's a wakeup call for me, though.

All winter, my husband has been trying to get me to leave the house and go on adventures with him.  I've been coming up with every excuse I can muster to not leave the house, much to his chagrin. (What can I say? He's a New Yorker. I'm from Los Angeles. We're practically not even the same species.)

It's time to give up the excuses and get outside. We only have 19 more weekends left in Moscow.  19 weekends to see the last places on our list, or to re-visit our favorites. That's not a lot of time at all, especially when you consider that a large chunk of that time has to be spent preparing to leave: enrolling in new schools, organizing home leave, figuring out how to ship the pets, culling our belongings so we're within weight...

It hasn't been all Dorito dust and sadness around here! We took a great - if too-quick - trip to Petersburg last weekend, so I'll try to get those pictures up shortly. We've taken a few trips around town (my husband lures me outdoors with the promise of coffee or lunch I don't have to make myself...). We've had some fun movie nights and game nights with the kids. The girls and I are slowly making our way through the Little House series of books.

(And may I say it's a whole different experience reading those books as an adult? As a child, I loved reading about her adventures. As a parent, I'm horrified by how close they came to dying, so many times. As a wife, I'm amazed at the bottomless levels of patience Laura's mom had. And as a person living in Moscow during the winter, I realize I have absolutely no reason to ever complain about being cold or tired when I read about the things they had to do to survive that long winter.)

So that's it: our 2016 so far. I'm heading outside to turn my face up at the sun for awhile.  Enjoy your day, wherever you are. I hope you have some sunshine too.


Popster said... [Reply]

Laura Ingalls Wilder is also an elementary school near us. She was quite a lady.

Please. Write your own stuff.