I'm less than halfway through my 2-week stint in Russia with a group of folks from my church. We spent a couple of days in crowded Moscow, and though there were some neat things to see, it's just too cramped with too many non-smiling faces. Add cold and rain to the equation, and you have a gal who is ready to get to quaint Pskov, which is where we are now.
We will spend more of our time here (until next Tuesday), and the folks from Pskov UMC are taking such good care of us! We are staying in homes which is so much more personal. The folks are nicer, move more slowly, and laugh at us less often (for being American). I really like it here, AND as a little gift, we have hot water! We didn't have it in Moscow and were prepared not to have it here. They turn it off for about 2 weeks each year to clean the pipes, whatever that means. Anyhow, we're glad to have it, and even if it goes off, we'll be glad for what we had. You become grateful for the things you do have when they are taken away from you. And hopefully you also realize that some of these luxuries you can live without. In fact, I'll go back to the apartment tonight to take some clothes out of the washer and hang them to dry on the little porch.
We go to St. Petersburg next Tuesday and then fly back home on Saturday the 18th. I DO like Russia, but so far, I really like small, charming Russia (Pskov) and not crowded, expensive Russia (Moscow).
Go with God, friends...