Thursday, October 4, 2012

Американцы в России

After a pleasant 40 minute run and getting ready for my day, my host mom and I had an intense cram study session for my vocabulary quiz.  I don't think I will ever forget широкий (wide).  Fortunately, my professor decided to make the quiz take-home!  Now, I just need to remember to do it this weekend.

Since I only had one class today, I decided to do some sightseeing in the afternoon.  I dropped off my school papers at home and rode the Metro to Red Square.  At гум, I found a restaurant that sells salad!  I stopped for lunch while I waited for Annie, Stephanie, and Kyle to join me in the city.
We took pictures outside of St. Basil's before going in for a tour.
Tsar Ivan the Terrible commissioned the construction of St. Basil's Cathedral in 1552 to celebrate the capture of the Mongol occupied area of Kazan.  Legend tells that Ivan the Terrible was so amazed by the cathedral that he had the architect, Postnik Yakovlev, blinded so that he would never be able to design anything that could parallel the Cathedral in beauty.
Delicate icons and paintings adorn the walls of each unique chapel.



In honor of the теплая погода (warm weather), Stephanie and Annie bought ice cream cones at гум after our visit to St. Basil's.
гум is famous for its ice cream.  Stephanie gave me a taste; it was probably some of the best ice cream ever. When my stomach has fully recovered and I am ready to put my slightly lactose-intolerant self on the line, I will have to buy an ice cream cone at гум.

We wandered along the historic Ulitsa Varvarka, enjoying such a nice afternoon and seeing some of the old churches along the street, such as the Church of St. George.

Kyle wanted me to get a picture that shows the contrast between the historic buildings on Ulitsa Varvarka and the rather "bombed out" backdrop.
I ended up just taking a photo of the dilapidated portion of the city because I didn't feel like crossing the street to get the full panoramic disparity between the preserved historical sites and the decaying present.

Later that evening, we attended an event at the American Center hosted by the U.S. Embassy about the upcoming American Presidential Election.
After a brief introduction to the overseas voting process, the embassy representatives made themselves available for questions.  Since a career in the Foreign Service is a path I have been considering for a long time now, I took advantage of the opportunity to introduce myself, find out more information about voting, and ask about life in the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.
Americans in Russia
I spoke with the Consul General.  He shared stories of his twenty years in the Foreign Service.  Most of his postings lasted three years, he said and they have all been great experiences.  He has seen Norway, Korea, and South Africa, among other locations.  When I asked him which location he considered most interesting or exciting, he actually said Moscow because of the unique diplomatic dynamics that currently exist between the United States and Russia.  He also told me about the competitive process to join the Foreign Service that consists of tests and interviews.  At the end of our conversation, he offered me his business card and said that if I had any other questions or would like to know more about the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, I should contact him!  I will certainly be in touch.  What a great opportunity!   

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