Monday, October 29, 2007
So the last few days have been very busy. After a stint of staying on campus (and by staying on campus I mean I literally didn't walk outside of the gates of the dormitory, not even for class, for a week) I finally got out did some things. Wednesday I met Molly at the Tretyakov after I finished working and we went to dinner at this cafe called Correa's. The food was amazing. It was like a fusion food resturaunt which is a new concept for Russia. I think my body almost went into shock from all of the nutrients. I've been living off soup, bread, cheese and potatos for the last two months. After dinner we decided to see a film. We saw a film called Изгнание (Izgnanii). In english the film translates into The Expulsion. Suprisingly I understood a lot of the dialouge and the plot of the story. Molly had given me a breif run down of what he expected the film to be about; a dysfuntional family of a father, mother and two children. The mother, Vera, is pregnant but the baby is not her husband's. I think it was a good film for me to see since it wasn't dialouge heavy and the director really set the film up in a way that was easy to understand but was complex at the same time. The title of the film alludes to the large amount of Biblical undertones expressed. The film is basically a retelling of Adam and Eve's expulsion from paradise. I would really like to see the film again, now that I understand even more of what it is about.
Thursday Karoliina and I went to the Tretyakov for a play day. The museum is SOOO big. I really feel like you need two trips min. to get a basic understanding of the museum (one day for each floor). The Tretyakov has me working on translating a biography of Vrubel, a famous Russian painter durring the Symbolist movement in Russia (1880ish - 1920ish I believe). Jus this year they finished an entire room (pretty much a wing of the gallery) dedicated to his work. It houses some of his most famous paintings: "The Swan Princess", "Seated Demon", "Lilacs." While I had been translating for a while, I had yet to see any of these works that I was writing about. When I entered this room I was AMAZED at the beauty and complexity and deepness of the paintings. Some of the were panels, paintings of Russian fairytales protrayed on multiple panels, and they were collassal in size. "The Faraway Princess" must have been 50 to 75 feet long and 30 feet tale and it was one complete canvas. You literally had to stand a hundred feet back to really be able to see the painting in full. I was completely in awe of this room. It is by far my favorite at the Tretyakov.
Friday was pretty much a quiet day. After class, Karoliina, Hilda and I went to Izmailovski park which is a souviener market where they sell a lot of matrushkas. Karoliina bought like 10 for her friends and family, chances are she forgot someone and will have to go back which is fine because I'll need to do some shopping at some point. After that we went home. Hilda and I watched a movie and drank some wine and we were then invited down to Jim's room with Johann, Alexander and Herman. All of the guys proceeded to get drunk and do stupid things like arm wrestle each other. It was quite entertaining to be honest.
Saturday was quite. I came to the Wifi cafe and checked my mail and spent some time translating my text. Around 6 Karoliina and I went out to dinner at Correa's because she wanted to try it. She, like Molly, is a veggitarian so sometimes it's difficult to find a place where she can eat (since Russia is a meat and potatos kind of place) and Correa's is very veggie friendly. Then we came home and watched the latest Grey's Anatomy episode. Quiet day, quiet night. It was nice.
Sunday was wonderful. I got up and read for a couple hours, had some lunch and then started to get ready for the Opera. Jim, Johann, Hilda, Camillo and I went to go see Eugene Onegin at the Hovy Opera. The building was beautiful and the opera fantastic. Eugene Onegin was a novel first written by Pushkin and then made into an opera by Tchaikovski. The basic plot of the story is a girl named Tatiana is quiet and bookish and when her sister's fiancee bring Onegin to the house for dinner one night she falls in love with him. She writes him a letter expressing this love and he rejects her advances saying that he would become bored with married life (just as he has become bored with city living and now country living where he met Tatiana). Years laters he sees her again only he doesn't recognize her because she has been introduced into society in Moscow. Tatiana has matured and grown into a beautiful and poised woman. She is also married. Upon recognizing her, Onegin realizes that he is indeed in love with her and tries to win back her affection. While she admits that she still loves him, she refuses to succumb to desire and allow him to ruin her. She remains faithful to her husband and leave Onegin. I love this story because allow it's about Onegin, Tatiana is shown as the moral strength and goodness in the story. She is a woman and yet she is not the one to fall to her desires. The performace was amazing. The woman who played Tatiana had a beautiful voice and Onegin was arrogent and sad all at the same time. I highly enjoyed the performance. I'd love to see it again in it's entirity (this was only a one act performance. the actual show is over 3 hours long).
So, this is the update of my last week. The pictures that follow are from inside the opera house, Izmailovski, the metro stations and Friday night arm wrestling. Enjoy. :)
Monday, October 15, 2007
Saturday, October 13, 2007
So, the other day Karoliina and I decided that we wanted to go the Pushkin museum of fine arts. It houses some of the most famous paintings in the world, such as Degas "Blue Dancers" and Piacasso's Acrabat. So, we left campus, got onto the metro, and off at the right exit. We followed the signs that said Pushkin museum. We found the building went inside, checked our coats and began walking around. At first everything was fine....but then it started to feel wrong. There were no paintings....just books and sketches and manuscripts. Dummies modeling clothing and tables set up with cards and writing stationary. Then it hit us. We were in the wrong museum! We went to the Pushkin Museum...a museum dedicated to life and works of Alexander Pushkin. We felt like such idiots wandering around asking people where the art was. About an hour after we got there we left. We walked for a bit and finally found the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts. Life was much better once we got to the right place, but we thought it was funny story to share. Here's some pictures from the day. The first is inside the Pushkin Museum, the next is the Christ Savior Cathedral and the last is out front of the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts.
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
Yes, the title of my post is completely correct. Last night Jim, Karoliina, Tim, Hilda, Johann, Alex, Lyn, Camillo and I made friend Mars and Snickers bars in one of our kitchens. I think it's the most fun I've had since I've been here. Everyone was just completely oblivious as to how we should make these things. It was an experiment all its own. I'm sure the wine and beer that was drunk didn't help the situation at all. Regardless we had SOOO much fun. We made a HUGE mess and the little babyshka on the floor even came in a couple times and told us to be quiet or open the window because smoke was filling the halls. Snickers of course let to frying other thing...such as grapes (not bad actually), gum (that was Tim's idea and I wouldn't suggest it) and cupcakes (brilliant!! and that was my idea too). It took the 9 of us an hour to clean the kitchen afterwards but it was totally worth it to spend 3 hours with these people being totally stupid but having good and harmless fun in the kitchen. Who knew all you needed to have a good night was candy bars, flour, eggs, milk, oil and a stove? Haha.