I want to share some pictures of entertaining possessions we have acquired:

Engrish

This is my grade/notebook for the next semester. I think it’s funny; Nathan thinks it’s counterproductive.

One time, Ms Gable (Anna Rose’s mom, for those of you who don’t know) told a story about a party she attended based on the theme of tacky mugs. Well, if such a party should ever take place again, Nathan and I will be ready. We found the newest additions to our “cabinet” at the fancy-pants grocery store on the other side of town where they sell $80/pound cheese and gluten-free cookies. Mine is the character from my very favorite Russian cartoon, Masha i Medved’ (Masha and the Bear). It’s about an extremely hyperactive, extremely cute little girl who causes much distress to her guardian, who, inexplicably, is a bear.

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This is how I feel in the morning.

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No one likes me like this except me.

It says something to the effect of “What a b-e-a-utiful morning!” Or, in the words of Morning Kate, “Good MORNING! WHAT a happy day!” Aren’t you glad to be on another continent?

Nathan also got a mug, but unfortunately I didn’t take a picture. It’s red and covered in hearts. There’s a picture of two teddy bears hugging each other, and it says “World’s Best Lover.” Nathan thinks it’s the world’s best Engrish.

Exciting story: We were told that it costs about $1300 for a ticket on the Trans-Siberian Railway. But it turns out the true figure is more like $350. That’s for a non-stop, 7-day trip from Moscow to Vladivostok. But I have a burning desire to see Mongolia; Nathan has a burning desire to see China. Also, we want to use the train for something cool like actually SEEING places along the way, not just riding through them (although I’ve heard that even that can be the experience of a lifetime).  Here is the Grand Plan, if you care.

The difficulty is finding tickets for the final legs of the journey. Because the tickets are done by the Mongolian and Chinese rail companies, I can’t book tickets through the Russian rail site. This, combined with huge chunks of tickets being sold to tour agencies in advance, means that it’s at best very difficult, but more likely impossible, to buy tickets except through a travel agency. For advice, I turned to Julie Puttgen, ex-art professor  at Sewanee, a former member of my choir, and all-around awesome human, who used to regale us with tales of her own adventure on the Trans-Mongolian Railway. She sent me the following advice, along with a link to an excellent tour agency: “And in addition to finagling the tickets, you must find yourself a pair of world-class pajamas (mine were ruby-red silk with white polka-dots and white piping). This is important because when you wake up next to Lake Baikal one morning, you will be able to greet the occasion with gravita & comfort.”

It shall not be done any other way.

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(And here’s why.)

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