Saturday, May 16, 2015

You all regularly hear from me about life in Moscow and at the Bolshoi Academy, so I thought you'd like to hear from some of my friends.  I asked them to tell me the top 5 things they miss about home:

Olivia, Los Angeles, CA:
Before arriving at the prestigious Bolshoi Ballet Academy, I spent my final days back home thinking constantly about the people and things I would miss.  There's the obvious pets, family, ballet and school friends, my room.  But I've found myself longing for things I didn't think I'd miss.
1) Gluten free food and smacks.  I maintained a much healthier and cleaner GF and vegetarian diet back home.
2) Hand soap and toilet paper.  They supply you with neither here.
3) English speaking waiters and service people.  Also people that smile.
4) All kitchen appliances.
5) Really good coffee made by a wannabe actor.

Alysha, Grosse Ile, MI:
1) Fridge - because I waste so much money in buying new fruits and veggies because they go bad really quickly.
2) Clean bathroom - my family doesn't poop on the toilet seat and I enjoy clean, working bathrooms.
3) My family and my dog - because they understand me and make me healthy food...Well not my dog, she cuddles with me.
4) My car - he represents my freedom of being able to go wherever I want, and here I have no freedom.
5) Chiropractor - because my body has been in constant pain for the past 8 months

Morgan, Sandy, UT:
1) Regular sized laundry machines where you can fit more than a day's worth of clothing.
2) Cold filtered water than you can get anywhere and anytime.
3) A good nights sleep where I don't wake up to annoying birds chirping or bright sunlight through the window or back pain because of the springs that I sleep on.
4) The feeling of bare feet on warm fuzzy carpet, hard floors and walls are depressing.
5) I am already on #5...uh, green salads, wifi, movies, variety in ballet class, my wardrobe of more than my same 8 outfits, clean bathrooms, fresh air, showers that drain, English language, people that, a lot.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

So, before I came here, everyone was always telling me about how Gorky Park was "bigger than Central Park", "better than Central Park" basically this huge thing that made Central Park look like trash.

And now that the weather here is warmer and there's more hours of daylight, I have decided on several occasions to explore and try and walk through the Motherland's answer to Central Park. And my consensus? Central Park is much bigger. I still enjoy Gorky Park a great deal and I usually go walk around through it 2 or 3 times per week.

My favorite part about the park? This 70 ruble ice cream, that isn't particularly cold. It's white as copy paper and on a stick, and is a spitting image of a chunk of styrofoam. But it's so so good. The paper says its vanilla flavor but it really just tastes like milk and sugar. I wish I could take a suitcase of the styrofoam ice cream home for everyone to try, but I guess it'll just remain one of amazing memories I'll hang onto until I'm old and senile.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

In a previous blog post, I described how I almost got to watch a ballet but didn't quite make it.

So now, a month later and with warmer weather on our side, I set out again with Morgan (roommate, classmate, ballet prodigy, best friend and most recurring character in this blog) and Olivia (classmate, travel to Switzerland buddy and best friend) to attempt to get tickets to Legend of Love.

We were victorious this time! FINALLY. This ballet is a Bolshoi original and it's what's described as neoclassical. Meaning it's not a classical ballet where they wear pink tights and tutus, but it's also not contemporary with people writhing on the floor and what not.

Here's my brief retelling of the storyline based on what I got from the online synopsis and actual real life viewing:

It's set in some obscure middle eastern kingdom ruled by women and suffering from a serious drought. Reigning queen, and clad in a red unitard is Mekmene Banu (sounds like a Dr Suess character...) the queens sister, Princess Shireen is deathly ill. And because all good stories have an evil sorcerer, the sorcerer appears out of no where and offers to cure the princess in exchange for Mekmene Banu's beauty. She makes the trade and apparently becomes so heinously ugly that she has to wear a veil over her face in order to keep people from screaming in fear. A year later the Queen and Princess are walking through their garden and see a random guy in a blue unitard and they both fall madly in love with him. But of course because the Queen is ugly, he falls in love with Shireen. The Queen goes crazy with jealously and anger over the fact that she gave up her beauty for her sister and the little brat turns around and steals her man. Mekmene Banu sends the random guy, who is unfortunately named Ferkhad, off on an impossible mission. He has to climb to the top of the crystal mountain and free the trapped water so that the people of the obscure middle eastern country can have something to drink. While he's gone, the Queen has a dream in which she's beautiful and Ferkhad loves her. And her pleasant slumber is interrupted by none other than the brat sister, Shireen, begging the Queen to allow Ferkhad to come home without freeing the water. The Queen for some reason agrees to this ridiculous request and Ferkhad arrives home within the next 8 bars of music. But then he sees the thirsty commoners and decides to go BACK to the crystal mountain and finish his mission.
So while the plot line is more than slightly ridiculous, the dancing was the best I've ever seen. Definitely one of the best 100 rubles I've ever spent.

And the Bolshoi Theatre?  Gorgeous.

Our seats?  Standing room only.

We're hoping to go another time or two before we leave Moscow.