Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year and Merry Christmas

Especially for you . . . and you . . . and YOU for New Year's I'd like to invite you along on a little stroll through the snowy, icy streets of Rostov. Care to join me? Careful though, oh my are these sidewalks slippery.

First, the sign here at Children's World says Happy New Year and Merry Christmas. Doesn't that just roll off your tongue? Literally, the red says We congratulate you. And the blue says With the New Year and Christmas. And that's the order in which things happen around here.

And that's because Orthodox Christmas comes on January 7th. Whereas Catholic Christmas, as it's called here, is. . . on December 25th.

Isn't that in the Bible somewhere? ;)

Walking along Pyshkinskaya Boulevard. How I love this street. I lived on Pyshkinskaya for, what, 8 years and then I needed to move. And now my pulse quickens when I'm even on it. Pyshkinskaya is a pedestrian-only boulevard that runs right through the city center. It's so peaceful and quiet. And picturesque. And. . .somebody actually clears part of the sidewalk.

A sculpture to Pyshkin, the great Russian poet after whom this boulevard was named. It's likely that every city in Russian has something named in his honor. Just like in the US every city has a street named after the great American poet, Robert Frost.


People in Russia still line up for bread. Truly. Today these dear souls were queued up for loaves. There was a limit of five loaves and two fishes each. (haha) Well not to worry though. There's bread everywhere, readily available. I need to find out what's the deal with this bread on this corner that people queue up for it. Maybe it's ultra fresh and super cheap. Or maybe they're just reminiscing about the old days when standing in long lines was part of the deal.

Had to laugh at the graffiti. This was on a garage door at a home I visited today. That Buka is Russian for Vika - pronounced VEE-ka, and short for Valentina. Yes, Vika is definitely beat-i-ful at 16 years of age. Thanks to this cool young lady I learned not to leave my purse unattended. (Even at church. . .)

Oh meet Rex, one of our church employees. He eats better than anybody and takes quite seriously his responsibility to guard our property. Interestingly he knows who's visiting and whose not. After posing for this picture he suddenly turned tail and hurried back into his garage. That's Rex. Kind of shy about publicity and such.

This sweet babyshka, or grandmother, afternoons she sets up shop here on the street corner and sells home-cooked food. For one thing, she sells cooked beets. That's handy. And she has this wonderful bean salad with walnuts in it. She's got a whole system worked out, including the plastic film on the posts behind her which serves as a wind break. Within minutes people were crowded around to buy.

On Monday, this archway I spotted on Gazetti ("Newspaper") Street. Neat view back there into that courtyard.

And pretty soon somebody had to come marching right into the middle of the picture. They did ask though and of course I said Please do, because that adds another dimension. Which is totally different from adding dementia. Or so they say.

Monday morning 11:00-ish on Gazetti Street. Some old houses. Charming, eh? Right smack in the city center.

Below the Russian Flag we read North Caucauses (1st line) Academy (2nd line) of Government (3rd line) Service (4th line). This young lady might have been going to take an exam. She seemed to be mumbling under her breath as she walked by. . .

Then, heading on back to our church building, I happened upon a gypsy woman. She seemed nice enough, familiar somehow. I stopped to visit for a bit and asked to take a picture.

She was a bit demanding, actually, insisting on no few than three photos and wanting to use a special lens that would make her look young, slender, charming and smart. That's a gypsy for you.

I asked if she might sing a song from her home far away and, surprisingly, she launched into one. This world is not my home, I'm just a passing through. . .My treasures are laid up. . . somewhere beyond the blue. . .

Either she's seriously deluded or she's onto something. Personally, I think she's onto something.

Well, dearly beloved, gypsy friend joins me in wishing you a
Happy New Year! And a Merry Christmas!


Momma B said...

Hope your New Year is very happy, too! I enjoyed this little walk with you. I'm glad this world is not our home. May this year bring answers or at least clarify any questions. (By the way, you look thinner)

Anonymous said...

A Wonderful New Year to you, too! I love the photos you take - glimpses of new and yet familiar places. I enjoyed our stroll together today. That special lens really works!...Now I gotta have one, too! Blessin's and Love, cindy b.

~~anna~~ said...

Greetings again from the Dominican Republic~

I so enjoy reading your blog and getting a glimpse into your life there. You have a great sense of humor, which I have found quite important to cultivate on the field! ha!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and Merry Christmas (just combining our traditional order with the Russian tradition)

Bob & I spent part of New Year's day walking the beach of the Caribean; Later I did 10 lengths in the pool. I would prefer your snow to our palm trees though!

LORD bless you!

Andy and Ana said...

Greeting from Lord's church meeting in Ferndale, California.
Happy 2009 to Christ church. Baptized 1978, love reading your blog and enjoying all the pictures.
Your gypsy lady seemed familiar,and she sings 'This world is not my home...hum-'familiar& singing hymns'-an'Angel'perhaps???...(just a though),oh and please next time you see a Babushka give her a big hug & kiss for me. Praying for church of Christ and ana & andy...