Our return trip to Moscow was the best kind: uneventful.
We arrived Friday around noon. In spite of The Spouse's warnings that the cats had fouled the apartment, I found little, if any evidence. Someone peed on his courier bag. And no amount of laundering or applications of Febreeze has rendered it usable again. But I had another camera-style bag he was able to use. Not ideal, but at least the problem was solved.
Saturday afternoon we went to a Scottish Stramash here in Moscow. It was summer garden party sponsored by the St. Andrew's Society of Moscow. The kids had a ball. I danced too much and limped around the next day. But it was a very nice way to ease back into life in Moscow: we saw lots of friends.
So now that I'm back and the contrasts are still fresh, what have I noticed about both the USA and Russia, you ask?
Well, the people, to start.
Americans are GINORMOUS. Depressingly so. On more than one occasion The Spouse and I would look around a restaurant and realize that EVERY table held at least one obese person, and often more than one. Clothing sizes are all out of whack now. I mean, a medium should not be too big for me. Restaurant portions have been too big for a long time, but I was still a bit surprised sometimes at exactly much food was presented to me.
Americans like to believe that all Russians look like the roly-poly babushka. And a few of them do. But they are far and away the exception.
Russians are slim.
Americans are not.
It's shameful, really.
What else did I notice?
Prices. It was often very frustrating to be in a store like Wal-Mart or Target and see how inexpensive items like shampoo and pet supplies are in the US. I couldn't even justify bringing shampoo and conditioner back with me because the size and weight of the bottles was just too much with everything else in my suitcases.
Smells. Moscow is a city, and it smells like a city. I like cities. In Ohio, I was struck by how often I smelled flower gardens, freshly cut grass, fallen leaves in the woods, and just fresh air. It was delightful, and I tried to be appreciative every single day.
Now that I am back, I notice the dusty, metallic smell of the Moscow Metro. Diesel fumes around the Garden Ring. A whiff of alcohol on the breath of a passer-by. But also the smells of delicious meals being cooked in apartments and in local restaurants. I am overwhelmed by good-food smells.
Tomorrow, the girls return to school. Baboo starts college, which is middle-school and high school combined. There is a lot of unknown here, including her daily schedule, which, as I understand it, can vary from day to day. So I don't know yet what my schedule will look like until we get in there and start figuring it out. I'll know more tomorrow, I hope.
I also hope I can get back to the gym soon. I'm looking more American these days, and not in a good way.
Waiting... - *In October on Manezh Square, outside of the Kremlin* It's the final countdown until the Olympics... Here's a link to an article that was in the "Russia ...
4 years ago