Sunday, April 3, 2011

Tandoori Nights

There is an Indian restaurant highly recommended among the expat community. A similarly named restaurant is located 2 doors down and we've been warned that they profit from the confusion. Saturday night we decided to finally, almost 2 years into our tour, try Tandoori Nights. As we walked in, the front part of the restaurant was crowded with Indian men watching cricket. Good Sign #1. The menu was a bit hard to decipher, their recommended dishes were a range of North and South Indian cuisine, so we weren't sure where the chef was probably from. Still, we figured it would be best to stay away from our Malik's favorites so to avoid the inevitable comparisons. When we ordered the Karachi Chicken the server warned us that it was spicy. Good Sign #2. I had a craving and couldn't resist to I asked if they would make a nimbu pani even though it wasn't on the menu. He said no problem. Good Sign #3. I did ask for sweet and it was definitely a bit salty, but I won't hold it against them. Yum, yum, yum. After a couple bites of the chicken I could not longer use my taste buds but Terry was in heaven. We brought the leftovers home and left a generous tip to thank them for using chili powder. During the course of our meal, another thought occurred. Expat Indians largely if not universally speak English. Meaning, we can order takeout from the very good but mostly South Indian restaurant that's on the way home from work. Wooo-hoooo! I hate that it took us 2 years for these realizations, but am grateful that we have 2 more years to exploit the information.

+9 Centigrade

Today's temperature. Yeah, spring is a fickle, weak little thing who flirts with winter and lets him walk all over her with 5 inches of snow on March 31. But ... Let The Thaw Begin.

Love America's Love of Convenience

We have plane tickets for our home leave, and a corporate apartment for the week of consultations in D.C. In the confirmation email Terry received from the management company, there included a paragraph to the effect that if we wanted groceries in our apartment when we arrived, they recommended using Peapod and they would be happy to have the items placed in our apartment.


So, 22 hours or so after the children last slept, when we have nothing left to give, no patience, no strength, barely the capacity to physically prevent them from doing things that might kill them, we DON'T have to draw straws to see which one of us goes to the grocery store on a Sunday at dinnertime?

America, I love you.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

IWC general meeting

I don't think I've mentioned the IWC yet. It's the International Women's Club, and I think they have chapters in most major cities and in most countries. In Malta nobody I knew joined it and I was busy learning how to be a mom so I never even bothered to try to figure it out, here in Petersburg it's pretty big among the expat women and in fact a pretty great resource for lots of things that make life here wonderful (play groups, a list of recommended nannies and cleaners - remember we don't have grandparents here or even daycare - special tours at the top sights, etc etc).

One feature of the way IWC runs is the monthly General Meeting. It is the opportunity for all the IWC members who wish to gather, socialize a bit, and experience a presentation. This year's topics have included presentations from some of the charities we support; a writer who's been researching and writing about the Romanovs for most of her career; a discussion of the 900 day Siege of Leningrad.

Last week we had a man from the Mariinsky Ballet Company (something to do with their International Projects, I think he's the Director of but I don't want to mis-quote) come to talk to us about ballet. It was great. And by the way, the younger ballerinas especially wanted him to make sure we all knew that real ballet companies run nothing like Black Swan, even though they all do love Natalie Portman. This is the kind of thing that reminds me why we wanted to live overseas.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


We finally have orders, which means we can plan to come home. Terry sent the request to the travel agent to book our flights. Looks like it may actually happen. Not like there was really a question as it's a Congressional mandate to have home leave between posts, but like everything around here nothing is confirmed until after it already happened.

Oh and it snowed again last night with another flurry this afternoon. Glad I didn't put away the winter coats. I will probably be safe to pack them away the weekend we fly out, as we won't return until June ...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A dose of humor

A friend's facebook entry led me to

I had to stop reading God of Cake at work because I was laughing so hard and crying from so much laughing. Maybe you need a sweet-toothed daughter to fully appreciate it? It brought me back to the day after her first taste of chocolate ice cream (a preschool birthday celebration) and her meltdown in the local producty as we left with our purchases of milk and bread "I want brown ice cream! Turn around mommy and get me brown ice cream!"

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Dangerous Playground

Today the playground was dangerous for none of the usual reasons (equipment long banned in the USA, broken bottles, wild older kids who don't care about knocking a 3 year old off the aforementioned deathtrap equipment) ....

Zoltan as usual tripped over his own feet and face planted into the ground, which has morphed from snow to a million tiny knifelike shards of ice. I actually wiped a drop of blood off his face. Photos to follow.

How excited are we that daddy comes home today?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Single motherhood

Terry's off for a week of training, leaving tomorrow. I am not 100% sure he won't come home to a family of 2 rather than 3 if Alex doesn't stop acting like a 3 year old and start behaving herself. (joking, sort of)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Don't forget to eat your pancakes!

March 1 is the first day of spring in Russia (patiently waiting for the laughter to subside. Hey it did get above freezing today!) In celebration, there is a Lent-ish sort of fabulous holiday that requires us to gorge on pancakes for about a week. Maslenitsa culminates Sunday March 6 with massive festivities in just about every patch of green-under-the-snow (aka parks) and blini are the showcase.

Also at the end of the day a stuffed animal is burned as an effigy of winter. Or something like that.

If I remember my camera there will be photographic evidence. We're planning to go the lazy route this year, and go to Tavrichesky Park, which is 1. walkable and 2. where we will be for Alex's ice skating lesson 1/2 hour before the thing begins anyway.

EDITED TO ADD: It was a very, very small 'do. At least I now know what's been done with the renovated building that was a rooftop restaurant in the summer and just gutted in the downstairs - it's the Center for Creative Development. The blinis were very tasty but we didn't get enough and the lines got LONG. Other friends went to bigger/better Maslenitsas and I'll get the full report for them. Next year we'll be more adventuresome.


Alex: Mommy, let's play bus. Help me find more chairs.
Me: Honey, we don't have any more chairs
Alex: There's lots of things here we can put our tushies on.