Almost Out For the Rest of Summer

You know how when you finally decide to quit a job that is making you miserable, the last few days will inevitably seem so easy and fun. Almost enough to make you want to stay. The clients, boss or coworkers you wanted to strangle are suddenly interesting and make you laugh as opposed to make you want to jump out the window. Or as the excitement of the end of the school year approaches you suddenly like your teacher/professor’s lame jokes and are enjoying the class immensely. You become desperate to learn more and fear you will forget everything.

Of course I am not saying that we are miserable in Moscow, but I think Andrei and I are itching to get home for a bit. The heaviness one feels sometimes from living here is getting to us. And of course we miss our families. But now that our days are coming to an end, I am suddenly not ready to go. A large didn’t-do list swims in my head (much to my husband’s dismay) and makes me anxious. Places we didn’t visit, people we didn’t call or see, restaurants we didn’t try, churches we didn’t attend.

And of course after looking everywhere for Frank’s Hot Sauce or an acceptable alternative (Tabasco doesn’t really do the trick), I find one just a few weeks before our departure (a week from today!). My husband is obsessed with buffalo wings and at a loss of what to get him for his birthday (I am usually really good at gift selection) I decided to go on a full blown hot sauce search. And there it was on a shelf in a nearby grocery store – Red Devil Cayenne Pepper Sauce. How had I not noticed it before? Before all those countless let-downs at multiple restaurants with buffalo wings on their menu. “…but maybe THIS place does it right,” we would say to convince ourselves we had to order them again.

I googled Red Devil and indeed someone compared it to Frank’s. So I made a dinner of some of Andy’s favorites for his birthday. I had to do it a couple weeks early since his birthday was during lent (yes, yes…another one is currently taking place). We have a fryer at home (one of my better gift ideas) and the grocery stores sell the correct size wingette things, but here I had to make a few compromises (regular size wings because I was too lazy to cut them, baked in oven). They still turned out pretty good. Enough that Andrei started feeling sad about leaving Moscow too. Now that we could have our beloved chicken wings here.

Andrei and I have perfected buffalo wing-making for our taste. After they come out of our fryer, he tosses them in melted butter or margarine and then adds Frank’s sauce and vinegar. For this time around I just put the margarine and hot sauce in a saucepan together and added some vinegar. Then I tossed the sauce on the baked chicken wings (which I had seasoned with salt and pepper before putting in the oven).

I also made blue cheese dressing to go with the wings. If my mom wrote the 10 Commandments one of them would certainly be, “Thou shalt not use salad dressing from a bottle”. I remember the first time she came to visit us in New Jersey. I heard the fridge door open from the other room followed by, “Umm…WHAT is THAT?!” My heart stopped. I forgot to get rid of Andrei’s store-bought bottled Italian dressing! At least that was the only time (I hope) that I have really disappointed my mother. And at least I really could blame Andrei, because that stuff was certainly not mine! Nor were the squeeze bottle jam and BacOs that entered my house when my husband went grocery shopping on his own…the last time he went grocery shopping on his own.

To make the blue cheese I just mix mostly sour cream, a little bit of PLAIN greek yogurt, mayo, a tiny bit of sugar and white vinegar, a dash of salt, garlic powder and pepper and lots and lots of crumbled blue cheese. Yes, it’s not the healthiest dressing, but it’s certainly better than what you are going to buy in the store. And it tastes SO much better too (once you work out the ratios for yourself – be very careful with the yogurt and the vinegar, they ruin the taste the fastest).

One of Andrei’s favorite dessert is brownies. I found this recipe and they came out really well! The frosting on top is especially yummy. It’s funny, they tasted better with age kind of like a soup would. The next day they were even better than the first night we ate them (which made them even more delicious for my volunteer group the next day – who liked the brownies a lot!)

Another too little too late discovery was HP Sauce. It’s British and google search told me it’s sort of, but not really, comparable to A1 sauce, another one of Andy’s favorites that he misses from home. Apparently the Brits put it on EVERYTHING. It isn’t really the same as A1, but it has the same ingredients. So I bought it to surprise him with a steak dinner.

So now leaving feels completely unnecessary, right? Besides the fact that our visas run out July 1st…

I have to admit that I feel a little guilty about my last post because I am really going to miss Moscow until we hopefully return in the Fall. And perhaps some of the checklist was a little harsh. There is a lot that Russia could teach America (if my hater-of-everything-not-USA brother is reading this, he just fell backwards in his chair).

My friend shared an article with me and though I may not agree with everything, it does make some good points. I agree that Russians are more intune with nature (more <sort of> on this in my next post), and know how to rest their soul and their bodies. And although there are PLENTY of people here who seem to only care about clothes and cars, outside the borders of the city center there are many more humble, kind and spiritual people. So we will miss that.

I will miss my new friends that welcomed me so open heartedly. I will miss being forced to speak Russian. I will miss sometimes hearing church bells on Sundays and being able to buy pelmeni, borsht, sirki, and piroshki anywhere and in extensive variety. I will miss the incredible church services, all the onion domes peeking out above the buildings, and my dear dear volunteer group. A few months away from them will feel like eternity. I will even miss the few homeless men who have proposed to me, and the one who always remembers my name and that I am from the US. And I might even miss the mean check out ladies at the store that really scare me.

And I will miss the birch trees. I hope the sounds from their rustling leaves visit me in my dreams.


One Trackback to “Almost Out For the Rest of Summer”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: