Saturday, April 19, 2014

С пасхой!

That's right, it's Easter in Russia. And we don't even get a day off. In an Orthodox country. It's not a public holiday (and my company would probably keep going like the Energizer bunny anyway). Can you believe it? In fact, work has been a bit of a grind in general lately. I've on Day 1 of a seven-day workweek and have a ton of marking coming up. Such is life, I guess - and I'm going to Poland in exactly ten days, so that's something to cling to. And boy, do I need a life raft these days. Nine more weeks until this is all over.

So today, I was at work with a bunch of small kids talking about Easter. We painted eggs, learned the Chicken Dance, and watched a Bugs Bunny short (he's a bunny, Easter has bunnies, it works). It interests me that no one so far has brought up the holiday's religious significance, even though the Orthodox church is making a post-Soviet comeback (of course, it never really left). As much as North Americans like to decry the descent of Easter into chocolate and bunnies, it's chocolate and bunnies here too. And delicious fruitcakes.

In the midst of all this, I am still trying to plan the Scandigermafin trip, which is coming along nicely. I've narrowed down hostels for SP, Helsinki, and Stockholm, and am scoping out options for Oslo, Copenhagen, Berlin and Reykjavik. (Hopefully, a nice friend will give me a patch of floor in Toronto.) Not able to book any trains yet, but I'm looking to reserve the Stockholm ferry and Berlin-Reykjavik-Toronto-Winnipeg flights after my next payday. There are some tricky connections there, especially Oslo-Copenhagen, but it will get figured out. Oddly enough, my rail pass is going to be one of the last items ordered, as I need it delivered to Helsinki to roughly coincide with my arrival. I'm also looking at attractions. The Millennium Tour in Stockholm is my #1 pick, as Stieg Larsson is one of my all-time favourite authors (re-reading the trilogy soon), and I've pretty much based the entire trip on being able to follow in the steps of Lisbeth. There are a few obligatory sites in SP (the Hermitage, Nevsky Prospekt) and a couple of places of interest (the Nabokov house). Ditto Berlin. For Copenhagen, I'm hoping to go to Tivoli. I have no idea about Helsinki or Oslo - what does one do in those cities? Well, no matter - it's going to be an exciting month!

But best of all, I FIGURED OUT THE SUITCASE. Russian Post will send it by air for less than $200. Huzzah! It's such a relief to have that taken care of. Bye-bye, Samson the Samsonite, you are going to have a weird adventure of your own. Play nice with the Russian luggage.

So despite some rough days ahead, things are going extremely well at the moment. Of course, since it's Russia, they'll get screwed up as soon as I finish typing this, but I'm getting used to that. For tonight, I'm off to meet my friends with kulich and beer, where we will discuss our upcoming Polish adventure and our inevitable return home (America for them, Canada for me) in just a few short weeks. It's hard to believe how rapidly the Russian adventure is coming to an end. With all I have planned, though, there's a lot to look forward to. Two months until the Baltic party begins! A Happy Easter to you all. 

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