Thursday, December 31, 2009
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
Published 20 December, 2009, 12:47
Edited 21 December, 2009, 16:16
The Russian Judo Olympic team may have a new member. It is none other than the Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
Talking with the national team on Friday, he applauded the team’s successes.
Moreover, the Prime Minister has offered his services to help the national judo team's Olympic dream.
“If you need hands-on assistance, you may enter me into the team,” Putin told the team’s coach.
The Russian Prime Minister advocates the development of judo in the country.
Vladimir Putin has a black belt in the martial art and competed at a high level in the USSR.
Friday, December 18, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
~ Dr. Seuss (1904-1991), American author of children's books. From 'How The Grinch Stole Christmas'.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
I picked up peanut butter, hot chocolate with marshmallows, Franks Hot Sauce and sweet potatoes. Now all I need is a recipe for Hot Wings and I will be a happy camper!
Monday, December 07, 2009
Friday, December 04, 2009
Thursday, December 03, 2009
Each day he sends us text messages to keep us updated on how things are going. Yesterday he told us that the day started off at -50 and warmed up to -47. Today he wrote to say that it was colder than yesterday but that he was afraid to know exactly what the temp was. Oh, by the way, the locals are telling him that it is not even winter yet.
If you Google "coldest city on earth" Yakutsk pops up... give it a try!
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
½ cup butter, softened
1 cup fine granulated brown sugar
1 tablespoon sour cream
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 unbaked pie crust
1. Place baked sweet potato in bowl. Add butter, and mix well with mixer. Stir in sugar, milk, egg, sour cream, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until mixture is smooth. Pour filling into an unbaked pie crust.
2. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 55 to 60 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Pie will puff up like a souffle, and then will sink down as it cools.
white sugar works well too
instead of cinnamon and nutmeg you can substitute 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice
This is my favorite Holiday Pie...but, if you don't like sweet potatoes you can substitute them with cooked pumpkin!
Joann, let me know if you try it!!
Monday, November 30, 2009
Expats Have a Hard Life, Many Friends
26 November 2009
By Alex Anishyuk
Maintaining a comfortable lifestyle while working in Russia is difficult for many foreigners, but the ease of making new friends among the locals could sweeten the pill for many.
According to HSBC’s expat experience report, Russia ranks two points from the bottom in terms of quality of life among the 26 countries surveyed, but it places fourth in terms of making new friends, especially among locals.
The survey rated 26 countries on 25 day-to-day factors, such as accommodation, food, social life, the ease of organizing finances and accommodation.
Russia ranked 24th in terms of overall quality of life, placing dead last in terms of ease of setting up financing and enrolling children in school, and was also ranked poorly for its quality of healthcare (25) and commute (23).
Canada, Australia and Thailand placed among the top three globally, while India and Qatar trailed the rest, ranking 25th and 26th, respectively.
Russia’s weak points also include a difficulty in setting up utilities (25) and finding an apartment to live in (23), but the country ranks stronger in terms of entertainment (9) and social life (7).
Russia’s people, however, may be its most valuable asset, as many expats found it comparatively easier to make friends while living here.
“While making friends is easy for most expats, there is a preference for making friends within the expat community rather than the local community,” the report said. “An exception to this is Brazil, which ranks highest for local community integration (94 percent of expats making local friends easily). This was closely followed by Canada and South Africa (both 91 percent), India and Russia (both 90 percent).”
While foreigners living here may be having a hard time of it, Russians working abroad are among those most likely to stay away for a long time.
“The countries that produce the ‘expat-lifers’ include those originally from Thailand, Bahrain (81 percent), South Africa (73 percent), Russia and the United States (both 70 percent),” the report said.
HSBC issued the first survey in its series in June reporting on the economic experiences of expats. According to that report, one-third of all expats living in Russia — the highest proportion in the world — make more than $250,000 per year, with almost half reporting an income of $200,000 per year or more.
Almost 60 percent said they had $4,000 or more every month in disposable income, the second-highest proportion in the world, while 70 percent earn enough to be able to employ at least one person as domestic staff, significantly higher than the global average of 48 percent.
The surveys was commissioned by HSBC Bank International and conducted by research company FreshMinds. More than 3,100 expats were questioned between February and April 2009.
Friday, November 27, 2009
Thursday, November 26, 2009
I ended up buying 4 turkey breasts to go with my homemade stuffing. (no Stove Top here)I wish you could have seen the smile on my face when I discovered the celery that I needed for the stuffing at the supermarket! Spencer and I even splurged on two cans of Dr. Pepper (6$)
I found sweet potatoes in the supermarket this summer so I baked and froze them so that we could have them for sweet potato pie today.
Our menu today is simple... turkey with stuffing, peas, corn and butterhorn rolls. For dessert we have a cherry pie and a sweet potato pie.
Our challenges this year have been many, but, our blessings have outweighed them all. We are truly grateful for our life here and the work that we are able to do. We are thankful that we had the opportunity to celebrate last night with our teammates (Russian and American) and happy today is a quiet family time before Tom leaves for Yakutia tomorrow.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Tom went in the other day and the person behind the counter had never seen an American. He asked Tom his nationality and wanted to take his picture. It is funny to us that after four years there are still people around us that have never an American in person. Spencer and I have gotten used to having our picture taken but this was a first for Tom!
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
There are several superstitions here in Russia. One of them involves a setting like the one in the photo. On the right side of the photo there is a narrow path between the tree and the column or you could choose the wider path between the two columns. Superstition says that walking under that angled beam means walking through the devil's gate.
It is fascinating to me to watch a group of people walking this direction so that I can take note of which path they choose. Not being superstitious I always choose the wider path.
Which path would you choose?!
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
Today my teacher began working with me on improving my translating skills. She chose a short story and would read a sentence or two and I had to translate them as quickly as possible. I did fairly well. We both knew my what my weaknesses would be. There are a few constructions I tend to avoid using when I speak just because of how tricky they can be for me.
The positive feedback though was this... she was proud, pleased and shocked at how well I did and how long a passage of text I can remember. She was sincerely giving me a compliment when she compared my capacity to remember with hers. She even mentioned our age difference and how most people my age struggle with memory. I am 14 years her senior.
When I got home Tom asked me how my lesson went. My reply? I simply said "She thinks I have a good memory for an old lady."
Or at least that is how I chose to translate it!!
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Olga and Arustam invited us to come to their church to celebrate the announcement of their engagement. It was an honor for us to be included in this event. This couple has been coming to Tom's Saturday teaching sessions and it has been great to watch them both as they grow and develope as individuals and now as a couple!
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
By Alexander Osipovich (AFP)
MOSCOW — Mikhail Kalashnikov, the Russian inventor of the globally popular AK-47 assault rifle, on Tuesday declared himself a "happy man" as he celebrated his 90th birthday with a burst of poetry.
Lavished with honours for designing the iconic rifle, Kalashnikov said he had never intended for it to become the preferred weapon in conflicts around the world.
"I created a weapon to defend the fatherland's borders. It's not my fault that it was sometimes used where it shouldn't have been. This is the fault of politicians," he said during an award ceremony at the Kremlin.
Kalashnikov was handed the prestigious Hero of Russia prize by President Dmitry Medvedev, who hailed the AK-47 as "a brilliant example of Russian weaponry" and "a national brand which evokes pride in each citizen."
The white-haired Kalashnikov -- who is an amateur poet and the author of six books, as well as a weapons designer -- also read aloud a brief patriotic poem that he penned himself.
"I wrote poetry in my youth, and people thought I would become a poet. But I didn't become one. There are many bad poets out there without me. I went along a different path," he told reporters at the Kremlin.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin praised Kalashnikov as a "truly legendary" figure while state television was filled with tributes to the 90-year-old inventor.
In one tribute, two Russian cosmonauts congratulated Kalashnikov by video link from the International Space Station (ISS).
"Your name, like that of the first cosmonaut, Yury Gagarin, became a symbol of our country in the 20th century," ISS crew member Maxim Surayev said in the video message.
Kalashnikov is considered a national hero in Russia for designing the AK-47, a rifle whose name stands for "Kalashnikov's Automatic" and the year it was designed, 1947.
Also called the "Kalashnikov", the rifle and its variants are the weapons of choice for dozens of armies and guerrilla groups around the world.
More than 100 million Kalashnikov rifles have been sold worldwide and they are wielded by fighters in such far-flung conflict zones as Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia.
But their inventor, a World War II veteran, has barely profited financially from them and lives modestly in Izhevsk, an industrial town 1,300 kilometers (800 miles) east of Moscow.
Part of the problem, according to Izhmash, is that "counterfeit" AK-47s are produced in Bulgaria, China, Poland and the United States, costing the company 360 million dollars (261 million euros) annually.
Kalashnikov himself has dismissed the importance of money, insisting that he has always been more motivated by service to his country.
"In my 90 years I feel myself to be a happy man," he said in a interview in the Russian government newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta.
"Of course, like anyone else, there are things to regret.... But I can say one thing: I would not have chosen to lead my life any other way if I had had the opportunity."
Born in a Siberian village on November 10, 1919, Kalashnikov had a tragic childhood during which his father was deported under Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin in 1930.
Wounded during combat in 1941, Kalashnikov started working on his rifle in 1947, driven to design by Soviet defeats in the early years of World War II at the hands of far better armed German soldiers.
The rifle quickly became prized for its sturdy reliability in difficult field conditions.
Kalashnikov remains surprisingly healthy for his age, speaking regularly at conferences devoted to Russian weapons. He told Rossiiskaya Gazeta that he had slowed down recently, but still goes moose hunting once a year.
Monday, November 09, 2009
Friday, November 06, 2009
Thursday, November 05, 2009
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
Monday, November 02, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
Tom and I were issued a challenge right off the bat. The appetizer was sala with bread and garlic. We have both tried sala before so that was not new. The challenge from Sasha was: would we be willing to eat it again or face being put on Sasha's black list?! We both passed with flying colors. Sala is basically bacon fat. This particular restaurant melts it into a spread with various spices and all you have to do is put a layer of it on the fresh bread, top that layer with thinly sliced garlic and then enjoy!
After the appetizer of bread and sala we had green borsht:
The yellow is just of bit of butter... once it was stirred it was sooo tasty!!
Take notice of the ceramic cup with no handles. That was our drinking glass. The small wicker container shaped like a shoe held the silverware. Tom had salmon steak with Ternopil potatoes and I had cabbage rolls. It was a great meal, very filling and beautifully presented.
And the time with Sasha and Luda... Priceless!
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Flu is in Ukraine
In Ternopil a quarantine is prolonged because of high level of prevalence of flu and acute respiratory viral infection.
The press office of the city council disclosed to an UNIAN correspondent, the relevant decision was made today at the regular session of city extraordinary antiepidemic commission under chairmanship of deputy city chairman on social issues Roman Legkiy.
During the session the head state sanitary inspector of Ternopil Volodymyr Panichev said that as of October 27 level of prevalence of acute respiratory viral infection and diseases similar to flu in the city makes up 255.5 per 10 thousands of population.
Educational institutions are closed in two Oblasts because of flu
The quarantine in educational institutions is announced in the Ternopil and Ivano-Frankovsk Oblasts because of spreading of flu.
The Propaganda Center of the Directorate of the Emergency Ministry disclosed to UNIAN that education is suspended in 10 universities, 11 vocational training colleges and colleges in the Ternopil Oblast of Ukraine and in Ternopil from October 28.
The relevant decrees were issued by heads of the educational institutional institutions because of growth of number of flu and ARD cases. As of 22.00 pm, October 28, 244.5 ill people per 10 thousands of population are registered.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
Here are a few shots from the classroom where Tom is teaching. The flags on the wall represent the nations of the 11 students attending the school. There are 3 students from Sacramento, California...they are all immigrants to the US from former Soviet Union countries and their English is much better than their Russian! The students range in age from 18-45.
Tom and I are here with 11 students, and 7 staff members in this 3 story house. Everyone seems to be in good spirits despite the fact that yesterday it was announced that the water would be turned off for two days here in this region for maintenance. Last night there was a mad dash to gather up as many buckets, tubs, large pitchers and bowls to hold water for cleaning up and even more important flushing the toilets! Some of the bathrooms have been made off limits to force people to use the outdoor toilet. Our bedroom has its own bathroom so we have a tub and a bucket filled with water. Just another ordinary day here in the former Soviet Union!
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Tom and I flew on UT Air for our Moscow, Russia to Lvov, Ukraine leg of our trip to Ternopil, Ukraine. We flew on an ATR-72 Twin-turboprop aircraft. It was the smallest plane we have ever been on for an international flight. It was noisy but the ride was smooth and it was less than a 3 hour flight!
Friday, October 23, 2009
We finished the first leg of our trip and are in Moscow. Tomorrow, bright and early, we fly to Lvov, Ukraine and then when we get there we will have to get on a bus to go to Ternopil.
Keep us in your thoughts and prayers!