Sunday, October 2, 2011


Dacha is the Russian term for a seasonal second home located in the country outside of the city limits.  It is estimated that about 50% of Russians own a dacha that they occupy during the summer months.  For Americans, dachas are very similar to cabins in the mountains except Russians use them more to grow crops for the winter and Americans use them more to vacation.  One of the main reasons traffic is so bad in Moscow on Friday afternoons is because millions of people are headed to their dachas on the outskirts of town.
At one point the U.S. Embassy here in Moscow owned 2 dachas, the near and the far.  Currently we only have the near dacha.  The dacha is an ammenity we have here at post.  It is a nice way to relax and spend some time away from the city... and its 11 million legal and 7 million "illegal" residents.  This past weekend we spent a few nights here with some friends.  We cooked lots of food, drank some beers, and relaxed.  It was a nice little get-a-way.

Monday, September 26, 2011

     The following is the transcript of a speech given by Ambassador Beyrle at the U.S. Embassy Moscow commemorating the 10th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks:

“Yesterday, September 11, 2011, in ceremonies like this, Americans mourned those who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks ten years ago. And we remembered the victims of terrorism around the world. Today, we raise the flag, and go back to work – just as we went back to work ten years ago. The symbolism of this moment is important. Because the ideology of terrorism is not strong; it is weak. And the strongest weapon in the arsenal of the terrorist is not the death or injury he brings to the innocent people he tries to attack. It is the fear he hopes to instill in the rest of us – fear that will cause us to change the way we live. Thus, the strongest defense that we can show against terrorism is to live our lives as we always do, to hold our heads high, to go back to work. I have great admiration for how the Russian people embody this trait. Sadly, Jocelyn and I have been here now for two separate bombings in the Moscow Metro. But it has been a source of inspiration to see how, the next day, the Metro is again open, filled with hundreds of thousands of people returning to normal life.
Our work here at this Embassy, Americans and Russians alike, is an ongoing effort to find effective ways to bring our governments and our people closer together – to show a strong and united face to those weak forces who try to threaten us, to make us fearful. We have made great progress over the past ten years in building that strong and unified partnership between us. And now it’s time to go back to work and continue to build on what we have already achieved.”

After a moment of silence and a few song by the Men Jewish Choir Ambassador Beryle made his speech, we raised the flag from half mast, and went back to work.

God Bless the U.S.A.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Red Square trips

On June 9th we first visited Red Square.  It is right in the heart of Moscow, and is a pretty amazing site.  Just walking through the Resurection Gate will take your breath away.  Kala's father Bill flew in from Beijing, China to visit for a few days and brought us there for our first visit.  There we visited the G.U.M. department store and St. Basil's Cathedral which was built in 1557 by Ivan the Terrible.  The G.U.M., or state department store, there are many stores which are very expensive.  The only thing we bought from there were a couple of cheese muffins which I believe cost somewhere in the nieghborhood of $10.  Here in Red Square or Krasnaya Ploshchad is where you will go for many events ranging from concerts and races to parades and political rallies.

The second time we went to Red Square was when we attempted to attend the Moscow City Racing event.  We had won a pair of tickets valued at 12,000 rubles a piece!  That equates to about $400.00 U.S.  They were VIP tickets so we were excited to go.  We went with Walter and Phyllis and Pat and Dan two couples we work with at the embassy who had also won tickets.  It had been raining that morning, but we decided to attempt it anyways.  Needless to say it was a disaster.  We walked all around downtown through Red Square trying to find out where the VIP section was.  We had asked many Russian's who were working the event where the VIP section was and they all pointed us in a different direction.  By the time we finally found where we needed to be we discovered that the VIP section was not catered like we thought...there was only a free beer tent (which us guys stayed at) and a crowded bleecher section.  To top it off the event didn't actually have any real racing, just a few formula 1 cars that would do time trials every 20 minutes or so.  After living in Russia for 6 months I have discovered that you really shouldn't expect much here, and don't believe everything you read on paper.

In the winter we plan on visiting the armory, museum, Gagarin's grave (which is in the wall itself), and Lenin's tomb where you can see his preserved body. We will also have to visit the Kremlin and the I want to visit all of the towers of the wall.

Anyways thats all I've got about Red Square for now, Do Svidaniya!

Our arrival and adjustments

Kala, Tebow, and I arrived in Moscow, Russia on March 24, 2011.  Without getting into unneeded details we both work for a company called PAE at the U.S. Embassy here in Moscow.  Work is good and life here is shall we say "different".  We have gone from small-town living in Titusville, Fl. to the biggest city in Europe with a population of around 12 million legal people...around 17 million including commuters and illegals.  We live just outside of the city limits in a little gated community called "Rosinka"...which either means a small group of birch trees or dew drop I have heard both.  The biggest difference for us aside from the language and cultural barriers is not having a car.  Here, we have to rely on public transportation, which isn't always very reliable, and coworkers who have cars.  There are buses that come to the complex we live in, and the schedule isn't very convenient; but they take us into Mitino where there is a metro station (subway). 

Once on the Metro we can get pretty much anywhere we need to go, and if need be there are city buses, trolleys, marshtrukas (mini-bus) and taxi cabs.  It's different but we are now used to it, and we have never walked so much in our lives.  Other than the transportation, the weather is much different than in Florida.  When we first arrived in late March there was about 3-4 feet of snow still on the ground, but the summer here is fantastic. It is currently September (I know, I know, I am a little late in getting started) and the weather is just begining to turn back to winter.  We have seen many amazing things here in Moscow which we will have to post about later.