Arrived yesterday to Moscow for our family’s seventh time in the land of the Rus. Mama Friar and our brood of four preceded me by two weeks. It is a great place to vacation as we have established patterns that we easily settle into here. A young family such as ours needs routine even when we are attempting to be adventurous and break out into something new.
Our daily schedule while we are here in Moscow runs more or less as follows. Wake up to morning prayers followed by tea and kasha. After breakfast, the middle of the day is usually a museum or show that is reachable by public transportation (bus, trolley, or subway). We return late afternoon to our apartment for tea and refreshments. Kids go with a designated adult to one of several local (and colorful) playgrounds while the others prepare dinner. In the evening, we gather for the most relaxed meal of the day and the most likely time to receive guests: suppertime.
Moscow is really the best place to be in Russia to maximize visitations with family and friends. Since everything is so highly centralized around the capital, folks come from near and far for all kinds of reasons. The exorbitant price of commercial room and board means that more likely than not, they try to stay with relatives during their visit.
Russian people generally rely much more on family than we do in America. Much of this stems from Soviet times when relying on family and friends was essential to survival in an extremely dysfunctional social and economic system. But now that the trains are running on time and the groceries are available in ample quantities, Russians still prefer a casual meal at table at home with family and friends (a style often called “trapeza“). It is so much more healthy for the soul than the flurry of the American lifestyle, constantly running around and grabbing bites to eat in snatches of time that seem to grow ever smaller.
On our Russian vacations, cell phones are unplugged, TV’s are turned off, and emails go unanswered for a while as we learn the ancient practice of being present right where we are. Our i-worlds are abandoned momentarily so that we may attend to the people the Lord has placed in our immediate vicinity. We wish you all could join us in that vicinity, but since many cannot, check back here often enough and we will try to provide a virtual substitute for being here. Nazdarovya (to your health), and see you again soon, by God’s grace.