I was going to write a Lent update today, but when looking at posts from Lent last year I discovered this one about J discovering how delicious peanut butter is. That actually never became a problem– he doesn’t eat it on a regular basis so my stash is still my own– but what I was floored by was how the price of peanut butter has changed. Less than one year ago, I wrote that I paid 3.50 EUR for a jar of peanut butter at the Stockmann grocery store (which, as far as I know, is the only place that sells the American brands). Do you want to know how much I paid for a jar from that same store about 2 weeks ago? 5.60 EUR. That’s $7.50! I know it’s ridiculous, but I was desperate. Fortunately we’re going to the States again in just a few short weeks (I can’t believe we’re going again so soon!) so then I can stock up on peanut butter that isn’t absurdly overpriced.
So the price of peanut butter changing is clearly not so nice. But some change is good– like, for example, J getting a new job at an exciting Estonian company! Our everyday routine is much different now, mainly because he used to work from home so he’d pretty much always be here. Now he works long days and gets home after 7, which means I have some time to myself at home (which used to happen very rarely) plus I’ve been cooking more so that dinner will be ready when J gets home (yes, I’m such a good little soon-to-be-wife). Hopefully some of my cooking will make it onto the poor neglected blog eventually as well.
Oh, one more change just came to mind! Please don’t hate me when I say this (it kind of makes me hate myself a little bit), but I’ve become one of those people who loves exercising in the morning. I used to be a solid after-work-and-on-weekends runner and I thought that exercising before work would make me get sleepy during the day. But somehow I discovered that waking up just half an hour earlier and running before work leaves me feeling amazing for the rest of the day. I know, what an annoying thing for me to say… but it’s true! I must confess that there was also an external factor motivating me to get up in the mornings– every since the new year began it has been so hard to get a treadmill at the gym after 5 pm, but in the mornings? The place is practically deserted, and I rather like the feeling of having the gym to myself!
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Posted in Travel, tagged latte, museum, pastry, Russia, St. Petersburg, work on Tuesday, 6 December, 2011|
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Don’t worry, I made it back from St. Petersburg alive! I didn’t have internet in the apartment I was staying in there and I’ve never felt right doing blog stuff at work, so I was forced to take a break. After that I got sucked into a whirlwind of pre-holiday madness, but now it’s time to get back to posting.
What to say? My time in Russia went better than I expected. I was truly anxious about going there– how could I possibly manage in a place where I don’t speak the language and I can’t even read street signs? And people may not necessarily speak English? Plus two weeks seemed like a pretty long time! Of course I’d traveled to places where I don’t speak the language before, but with Russia it was different. It has this aura around it. It’s big, and a little scary.
But everything was great. The work I was doing there was interesting so the days flew by (and also left me exhausted). I can’t say enough good things about my colleagues there– everyone was so helpful and understanding of the fact that when it comes to Russia and the Russian language I know pretty much nothing. (However, there were a few times they forgot to clue me in– like nobody told me that most Estonians stock up on groceries before crossing over the border into Russia! Especially milk and half-and-half. Estonians seriously don’t like Russian milk. So I didn’t have much food with me when I arrived, but I didn’t mind that much– I like to shop in local stores when I travel anyway).
Organic Russian yogurt– prune flavored.
This trip also pushed me out of my comfort zone because I have very little experience traveling alone. I’ve almost always had someone else with me to help figure things out in a new place. This time it was just me and I wanted to make the most of my weekend there– no way would I allow myself to just hang out in my room. Going to museums by myself isn’t such a big deal, but sitting in a cafe or bar alone is something I’ve never been too comfortable with. But I did it.
Saturday started off with a few hours at the massive Hermitage Museum…
… followed by a latte and Olivier salad (that’s just what they call potato salad in Russia)
There are a lot of bakeries in St. Petersburg with cases packed full of baked goods both sweet and savory, so by the end of my Saturday I knew I wanted to try something. I also knew that I’d have to ask for what I wanted, and the older ladies working in bakeries aren’t likely to speak English. But with some slow English and a lot of gestures, I got the job done.
A slice of a savory pastry with chicken and egg in the filling. It was well-seasoned and so good!
And a little chocolate, similar to the rum balls one can find in Estonia, but less rummy and very buttery.
I’ll share a few more foods and thoughts from my trip tomorrow, and after that I’ll get to those Restaurant Week posts I owe you!
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