Thursday, June 30, 2005

Vatican Museum

Sistine Chapel, original works of art, Vatican artifacts.... what can you say about all that history!

I waited in line for about two hours to get in. The price of admission was 12 euro. The euro is at a 1.24 American today. So it was cheaper than Disneyland but still pricey! I thought I was never going to find the end of the line to get in. I followed a couple of priests for awhile but I lost them.... how do you lose a priest? I don't know; the same way I lost track of the 15 nuns I was following. This is Rome. There seems to be no concept of a line. If there is a slight break in the crowd other will come along and fill in. Our Border Collie, Domo, would go nuts here. After I got inside I went to work taking photos. It got to be overwhelming after a while. I felt like there was no place to stop. But, I just could not keep on taking picture after picture of so much beauty. I felt like I was peeking into history and it was weird.

Things overheard at the museum:
"there's too many things to take pictures of"
"yeah, it beats modern art"
"what was all that sh$% we saw in London?"
"I'm such in awe...I am just in awe!"
"there is just too much to take in"
"Thank God, it's cool in here!"
"well, why didn't someone tell me that sooner?"
"it's too much grandeur...I have grandeur fatigue!"

I ran out of room on my memory card I looked for another one. I found one that was 90 euros. I heard all the men in my life screaming "90 euros!" Thankfully it was the wrong size! She suggested downloading all my photos onto a disc. That was 7 euros. Did you hear the men all sigh with relief? While she took care of my memory card I went to eat lunch. I have discovered that Italian chickens are skinny too and not just Russian chickens. I guess in the States they must do hormone injections to make them nice and plump!

After I got my memory card back it was time for the picture gallery. That was amazing. The Last Supper is behind glass. But I got a decent shot of it. In the Sistine Chapel no one is allowed to take photos. But.... with my new camera being silent and the flash turn off.... I took off the lens cap and pointed the camera to the ceiling and prayed for a decent photo. I could not even look at it until I left the room. There is a Russian word for this that I am sure Tom is thinking of as he reads this. Appruvdonyah. Justification! Someone else did it; so I did it too! I prayed for forgiveness when I left the room... I hope that taking a photo in the Sistine Chapel is not a mortal sin! If so there are many priests around here who can hear my confession. I just have to walk outside and I will find one if I walk far enough!

The guys seem to be doing well here is part of an email I got from Tom:

Ella came & cleaned & ironed. I gave her one of the 1 liters of honey. We'll never eat both of them. Spencer & Nathan went to Scrooges to get frozen pizza but they didn't have any. I sent Nathan back to buy Russian dumplings. Spencer cooked them & some broccoli for lunch. Spencer & I were getting ready to leave in the afternoon & Alexei M showed up! I told him he was supposed to come yesterday. He's scheduled for next Tues @ 2. Spencer & I caught the 14 & went to Savoy Renoc to get Trolleybus & Tramvye passes for July. We walked past about 20 furniture stores - many had beds but they were all cheap looking furniture. We can skip these stores - cross them off your list. We got 2 passes, then we WALKED to Tabris...mozshitbit 1 to 2 miles. We shopped & got a taxi & came home. I brought home broiled kuritza for dinner. I let Spencer post his photos on his blog tonight after Erin called & said that you had sent an email. Watch out for the heat wave in Italy. It's already killed some old people.I love you.T


I have not watched the news here but I keep hearing the ambulances go by. I was wondering about the heatwave. I took a huge bottle of water with me when I stood in line! It is hotter than blazes here. And to get into the Sistine Chapel you have to have your shoulders and knees covered. I came back to the hotel and changed ASAP!!!

Wednesday, June 29, 2005


When in Rome....

I would like to speak Italian but all I can say is thank you! I knew what I would do here; I am speaking Russian! In Vienna they all spoke German, not me... I spoke Russian. Thankfully on my flight I sat beside a Russian man. I was able to speak to him. He was bringing a group here to Rome. When I was over the Ukraine my phone let me know that the satellite was welcoming me to it's service. I received the same reception from the Italian satellite also.

It is hard to focus when you are sitting between two young men playing an online fighting game. I am not sure what language they are speaking it might be Japanese! Correction, they keep switching between English, Italian and Japanese!

I went out to get some photos today and got some great shots in the church that the pope is from. I cannot post them until I get home. I got into an argument with the taxi driver he did not want to give me my correct change from my ride to the metro station. Guess who won... not him! I was not impressed with his tour of the city and I was not going to pay for it!

I got text messages from all my guys at home they all sound great. I hope Tom finally got some sleep. He volunteered to help get one of the students to the airport last night. You see to get me to the airport I caught a ride with a group of kids going back to the states who had been here teaching Russian churches how to do puppet ministies in their churches. Well one of the girls had a different flight and Tom and Mike (the coordinator) had to take her later, that allowed Mike's wife to go home and sleep. My group had to be at the airport by 2:30 am. Our flight left at 5:40 am. It was cool to see the international side of the Krasnodar airport, they speak English there.... but you know what I'm going to say, not me! I spoke Russian.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Viewing the new place

"Moon man street" will soon be left behind for "spies for Russia avenue"! We have lived on Cosmonaut Gagarina Street since April. When we move it will be to Krasnitch Partisan. Life will be a bit more exciting for Tom as he oversees the remodel. I am getting ready to leave for Rome. I leave for the airport in four hours. I get back here after they guys will have moved out already. I get to miss out on all the fun!

cats are not impressed by paparazzi! Posted by Hello

Sharpkid and Blackpurl have been reading photo tips on the internet. We were trying them out on the cat. The cat stayed put only for a short while then got up and walked away. As things were being taken out of the house the air began to clear... our dogs will not want to smell cat! We do not want a "marking" war to start so.... hopefully the new tile and paint will take care of any past cat smell!

Sharpkid surveys his new digs! Posted by Hello

See all the jam the babushka has canned and set aside! All Spencer wants is the guitar on the wall. This will be his room. Our hope is that the apartment will be empty when the guys return on Thursday!

Our new front door! Posted by Hello

We will keep this metal door since it is brand new. But, like Franzi advised we will change all the locks! Klaus told us this is their practice each time they have moved.

everything is almost out of the apartment! Posted by Hello

One of her grandsons had his truck available for her move. They made many trips up and down the stairs. They told us they could take care of moving all of our belongings. They are also skilled in repair work and were promoting themselves to get that job as well!

mushrooms ready for winter Posted by Hello

The babushka is ready for whatever comes her way! She had plenty of jam, mushrooms and other canned goods set aside.

the babushka's grandson Posted by Hello

Spencer, Tom and I all had our cameras going... this young man started to pose because he said he knew he would be seen in America. Before I snapped the picture he said "cheeses!" Then he wanted to see if he approved of the photo. It did meet with his approval "horoshow!"(good) he said after he saw it!

stairway to our new dom! Posted by Hello

babushka moving day! Posted by Hello

view through the front door Posted by Hello

Metal front doors are what greet you when you first come up to the apartment. Then there is a second door that also locks to provide further security before entry.

living room Posted by Hello

This room has double doors that open into it from our bedroom and from the entry way. Tom is speaking to Ervand about what he wants done in the apartment and Goar is translating for them.

entry wall paper! Posted by Hello

storage in entry way Posted by Hello

should I keep the wallpaper? Posted by Hello

Before you post a response or send me an email... unfortunately the wallpaper does not match the tile I have chosen for this room! Maybe, I will frame a photo of it to keep for nostalgia!

view of storage under tub! Posted by Hello

We plan to tile around our new tub so we won't be using the storage space under here!

bathtub and sink room Posted by Hello

A typical Russian bathroom has the toilet separate from the tub & sink. It is only a little awkward when you need to wash your hands after using the bathroom!

pipes next to toilet! Posted by Hello

We have been told they use plastic pipes now so these pipes can be replaced.

small hallway off of kitchen Posted by Hello

I am standing in the doorway of the room that Tom and I will share. To my left is the kitchen, to my right is a storage area and straight ahead is Nathan's room. The open door is the toilet room and the closed door is the tub & sink room.

toilet room Posted by Hello

A new toilet, tile and new pipes will be installed in here. The babushka used every available inch of space for storage. The containers held things like sugar and flour.

view of entry way Posted by Hello

The tile here will be replaced and we will paint the walls!

triangle shaped kitchen! Posted by Hello

We are fortunate to have a kitchen this large. The shape of it is a challenge!

kitchen Posted by Hello

We will be able to put in the pipes for a washing machine and a dishwasher. The kitchen will be completely redone. Tile, paint, appliances and sink. The odd shape should make it interesting!
The stove is gas; the pipes under the window are the radiator.

view from Tom & Alida's room Posted by Hello

Our apartment is on the fourth floor. The trees in the surrounding area are beautiful.

Balcony off of living room Posted by Hello

These windows will be replaced with double pane glass and a new door. The plants belong to the babushka she was still in the process of moving out.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Russian word list

Each one of us has a notebook filled with our vocabulary list. I keep a list of words that I hear each day. I listen to people speak at church, the market, on the tram-vi or trolleybus and I write the words down. Yesterday, Tom and I stopped off at Scrooges next door to get a baked chicken and drinks for dinner. There is a young man in there who is learning to speak English. He likes to practice with us! We kept speaking in Russian while he spoke to us in English. The ladies in there are having fun teaching us new Russian words. I learned how to say 'milk chocolate'. I was looking for chocolate to bake with. I said the word for milk and the word for chocolate and she realized what I needed "molochnee schockolade". I guess that means another batch of blonde brownies for the guys and a new word for my list!

Sunday, June 26, 2005

grape vines Posted by Hello

Kitty eating ice cream! Posted by Hello

When I first saw this cat at the Renoc he was sleeping. Then a babushka came by and gave him some of her ice cream. He rolled over for her and she rewarded his attention with a special treat! A couple was standing nearby watching and I asked the guy if she had given him cheese he said "nyet, morozhenah!" The strays here get treated well...