Belgorod: What I miss now and what I will miss later

My time in Belgorod is coming to a close– I leave on June 29, 2017.   I think it’s time to take stock, don’t you?

Things I miss from home

As much as I have loved being in Belgorod, it’s undeniable that there’s no place like home.  Of course, in Tucson I miss my friends very much.  And I miss my family, though they are in Alabama, not Tucson.

Other things on my list:  My apartment, my bike, and the city at night:

Mexican food deserves a special mention, as does my cat, Cardigan:

And goddamn it, I miss my KitchenAid mixer.  26974_1246720169565_73123_n

Also, and I’m surprised about this, I miss my work.  I was pretty burnt out when I got here to Belgorod, but the time off has helped with that.  Plus, sadly, because of the election of President Trump, the immigration meat-grinder is ramping up; I need to do my part to defend immigrants in this time of crisis. IMG_1127 I feel a renewed sense of purpose and I’ve developed a plan to, hopefully, avoid burn-out in the future.  So, yes, I miss my law office, my amazing assistant, and the clients who sometimes bring us flowers.  Even though I do not return home until the end of June, my first week back is already filled with appointments.

Things I will miss from Belgorod

The people. I’ve met some wonderful people, here and I especially treasure my time with Natasha Sh., Inna, Olga, Oleg Sh., Marina A., Marina S., Sasha, Natasha G., Oleg G., and Ilya.

Naturally, I spent quite a bit of time at our office at the University with Natasha Sh. and Galya.  We had some fun practicing English there with Ksenia and Marina.

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This is where the magic happens.

We even maybe had wine during our practice once, which was entirely my fault. The most important part of the day was our tea, of course.  This is something that does not happen in the United States.  Sure, people drink tea in the US, but people do not stop what they are doing and gather together to drink tea and talk.  Which is terrible– this is really something we should be doing.  Instead, we just continue on in our isolated “workstations,” stopping to maybe prepare coffee or tea but then we just drink it while we continue to work, chatting with our co-workers only once in a while.  Well, I say, LET’S START TAKING TEA BREAKS IN AMERICA!!  This is not to say that making tea in our office at the University was always easy.  The water from the

IMG_2302restroom next door wasn’t really good for brewing tea so we used bottled water.  But water’s really heavy, you know?  So sometimes we relied on students to bring us water.  It might also be that the students who didn’t perform very well, and wanted to improve their relationship with their teachers, brought us water.  That might have happened.  To those hero students, I raise my hat.  Thank you, dears.

One thing that appears to be unique to Belgorod is the GLOW.  This is apparently from hothouses.  It lends an other-worldly feel to the night-time city.  You can see it here in a photo taken near midnight on Old New Year (BTW, that’s a shoe in the air; we were following the Old New Year’s tradition of throwing a show in the air to see from which way our future husbands will come).

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I will miss my apartment building, where anonymous neighbors decorated the elevator with a still life:

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I’ll miss Belgorod’s many unusual monuments, like this one to pills.  I kind of feel like this one belongs in the US since we’re pill-crazy, but, go figure, it’s here in Belgorod.

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As I’ve explained on here before, I’m addicted to local yogurt, so I’ll miss that.  I’ll also miss shopping at Lenta, where they always have live carp.

I adore shopping for meat and vegetables at the Central Market, which is also where you can get excellent pickled garlic and mountains of Korean carrot salad.

I’m not sure how I’ll live without the Belgorod Philharmoic, where I was lucky enough to see Nino Katamadze, an incredible jazz artist who made me feel like I was floating in the air.  And I’ll long for my many visits to Belgorod’s art museum, where both the permanent collection and visiting exhibitions consistently stimulated my mind and my creativity.

Belgorod is an utterly unique, charming, and welcoming city.  I’ll miss my adopted home very much, but I’m so grateful that I’ve been able to live here, if even for a short while.  I look forward to my next short visit– in November.

6 Comments

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  1. Great that your coming home in June. You have had a life experience there that most people wouldn’t have ever imagined much less had ” the set” to do it. I’m so proud of you for having “A SET” and taking risk, enjoying life and living on the edge. Love you sis!!!

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  2. Arvind and Julie and i take time to talk and snack together at work – but we have to pretend to be working because you know, capitalism.

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  3. Privet Rachel! I’m late to the game- just discovered your blog now, жаль. Looks like you’ve had a ton of interesting experiences! I can’t wait to explore all of your old posts. My husband and I lived in Kharkiv, Ukraine for a few years and I miss it so much. Your post made me miss it even more, since a lot of the foods + experiences were similar to what you wrote about. For example, I’ve been able to find spice packets for Korean carrot salad at local stores in Oregon, but finding real tvorog is sadly impossible. And adding to your tea breaks story- I liked how it was okay to bring a bottle of champagne (or something stronger) to work in Ukraine to celebrate something big. Haha, I can’t imagine doing that in any place I’ve worked in the US!

    PS: Is your blog on hiatus until your next trip overseas?

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