Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Signs of Spring

Spring is a welcome relief in Russia. The winters, even with global warming, are long, cold and dark, and the first signs of spring brighten even the gruff characters of Russians. The first rumblings for me seem to come around Women's Day or March 8th. Flowers are purchased for the women in your life and those bright bunches are tucked under many a passerby's arm. Spring is also for planting. Babushkas take the first weekend opportunity to check on their dachas and get the first plantings in the garden taking advantage of the short but precious growing season.

Spring is also the season of cleaning. Chisty Chetvergk (clean Thursday), or Maundy Thursday as it's known in the Protestant and Catholic calendars (the Thursday before Easter), is a day for cleaning out your house of the winter air and dust in preparation for the Easter Feast.

In Moscow, Spring is painting season. A peculiar practice of painting over anything, usually rather sloppily by young men, metallic in sight--iron fences, siding, trash bins, archways, curbs, etc. I've actually watched them paint trash. This is usually accompanied by a failure to put any notice that mentions wet paint. Just ask Katherine who sat on wet yellow paint at Patriarshy Ponds a few weeks ago. The guy who sat on the yellow bench next to her didn't know he wanted stripes on his suit either. Thanks to former neighbor and Hot Tipper JC for this picture from the Val near our old apartment in Moscow.

Look closely at the fence (click for larger view). HT JC adds, "BTW - now that the fence is painted, they were out washing it this morning. I'm not sure, maybe they mixed up the schedule and painted the fence 3 weeks before washing it? No, I think its just stupidity and low standards!"

Kak obichno, v Moskve! Many things still stump us daily! But isn't that the fun of living abroad??!!??

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