Thursday, September 20, 2012

9/20 - Cruise on the Moscow River, Zoo

I know its been a while since I've posted on the blog. Its been an extremely eventful week, and due to my slow internet at home, its been next to impossible to put up anything new. I just finished my third week at International University in Moscow, and its going really well. I have some awesome professors here, and I can already see that my Russian is improving through constant use of it at home, at school, and on the street with natives and friends. So my favorite class so far is called SMI, essentially current events review. My professor is hilarious, he was telling us that Russians only like Michelle Obama and Condoleezza Rice because they have "nice legs." This is one of many ridiculous things he's said, but we have to remember that Russian humor is ofter more crude and direct than we're accustomed to in the United States. 

Last Friday, we went on our fourth excursion on cruise on the Moscow River (Москва река). We got to see all the major sights along the river, including Red Square, the 1980 Olympics Stadium, Church of Christ the Savior, and the burial place of Nikita Khrushchev and Boris Yeltsin. It was a beautiful day, and about 65 degrees in Moscow. In addition to the city tour on our first weekend, this excursion provided us with a bigger picture of the city, and a way to connect the dots, if you will. 

In front of the Olympic Stadium  - Home of the 1980 Summer Games (Олимпийские игры)

Near the Kremlin (Кремль) and Red Square (Красная площадь)

Last Saturday, we ventured to the Moscow Zoo. It had just about as many animals as the Washington National Zoo (where I interned this past summer), but it was in terrible condition. In addition, it was unsafe for visitors. The cheetah, tiger, and bears weren't even contained by an electric fence! Only a chain-link fence held the animals within, and kids were sticking their hands through. EEEEK! But regardless, we engaged in some great conversation with some native Russians while we were there. 

Sign for the Moscow Zoo (Московский зоопарк)

My last mini-excursion this week took me to Kolomensky Park in southeastern Moscow. It was one of the biggest, and most beautiful parks I've ever been to. It seemed to have endless trees, and sat on a quiet part of the Moscow river. My tutor was nice enough to show me around, and help me with my speaking and listening comprehension as we walked along. It was very European in nature, and had about three or four cathedrals that were scattered throughout the park. I'm definitely going there again. Also, my tutor helped me discover the first McDonald's in post-Soviet Russia, which I went to with my friends last week. It was delicious, and reminded me a lot about home!

A Big 'n' Tasty (Биг тейсти) at McDonald's (Макдональдс)

Kolomensky Park (Коломенский парк)

I know that my blog is supposed to only focus on my abroad excursions, but I wanted to draw attention to two special events that happened on September 18th. Firstly, my parents (Judy and Dennis King) celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary. Since 1982, they've lived a happy, healthy, and prosperous marriage that I want to model my future marriage after. Secondly, the United States Air Force turned 65 years old on the same day. I wish I could have been home to celebrate the date with my friends in ROTC. 

This weekend I'll be taking an 8-hour train ride to St. Petersburg, so I'll be letting everyone know how the trip went when I return on the 24th! Thanks for reading!

Countdown to returning home: 90 days

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