Tuesday, October 9, 2012

неугомонность и фокус

"Why are you going to a museum if you have much work to do?!" my host mom reprimanded me in Russian as I stood in the doorway ready to leave.

"Sitting and working is difficult," I explained, stumbling over the Russian words as usual. "I'm a very restless person.  I'll work later."

"Oй" she said, throwing up her hands in defeat and shuffling back to the living room.

After spending most of yesterday indoors, I wanted to do something today.  So, I decided to visit the Leo Tolstoy House Museum after class.
Leo Tolstoy House Museum
I had to wear these funny slippers through the house
Anna Karenina is one of my favorite books.  I love the epic nature of the novel and its profound exploration of truth, family, and love.  Though I adore Leo Tolstoy's writing, I didn't know much about the author behind some of the world's most celebrated literary works.
Leo Tolstoy's Desk and Study
The museum provided signs in both Russian and English so I was able to learn a great deal about Tolstoy's life in Moscow.
I was surprised to learn that his family played such a large role in his writing.  Tolstoy's wife, Sophia, and daughters, painstakingly edited and rewrote his manuscripts for him.
Sophia's Desk
Leo Tolstoy also exhibited admirable focus and commitment.  Every morning he would wake up at 7:00AM (an ungodly hour, according to my host mom) and start his daily routine, which included chopping wood, retrieving water from the well, exercising with dumbbells, and, of course, writing.  At minimum, he wrote from 9:00AM to 10:00AM, then from 3:00 to 4:00 everyday.
Leo Tolstoy's Dumbbells
After touring the museum and strolling through the grounds, I reluctantly made my way back to the Metro to return home to my pile of homework.  My Russian language class is rigorous and the homework seems tedious, especially when I have an exciting city to explore.  However, the memorabilia and stories from Leo Tolstoy's life reminded me that diligence pays off.  With hard work and persistence I will one day be able to speak Russian and maybe even read War and Peace and Anna Karenina as Leo Tolstoy (and his family) intended them to be read: in the Russian language.

Focusing on my homework is still a struggle, though.
The Dining Room
The Staircase
The Main Drawing Room


  1. Ha I started reading Anna Karenina while in Russia - I was just so inspired walking down the streets of Saint Petersburg and Moscow! I would've loved to see Leo Tolstoy's home.


    1. Keep reading Anna Karenina! Try and finish it before the new film comes out in November! If you come to Moscow again, I would highly recommend the museum. Tolstoy also had another estate out in the country, though I'm not sure if I will have the opportunity to see it since it's 100 miles or so outside of Moscow.