Sunday, January 1, 2012

An then there was ICE

This last week was really something, with everyone making preparations for the New Year.  I think we have mentioned before but this is really the big holiday here.  Everyone decorates for the New Year – not for Christmas.  Most of the people our age grew up being taught in school that there was no God.  So given that it makes sense that Christmas would just be another day.
During the week we spent an afternoon along the river walk and visited the ice sculptures we have seen them working on from a distance.  We had no idea!!  These are amazing.  We have included some pictures (we unable to get very many because our cameras all froze up and wouldn’t open, take pictures, or even do anything – the LCD froze up in everything).  Anyway, you will see in the pictures that they sculpted houses, statutes, stair railings, swings and even ice slides that looked just like you were at the water slide park.  We figured that in a place where it is winter for 6-7 months and summer for only 2 that ice slides were much more practical.  We tried to capture some of the detail so you could really appreciate the workmanship of everything. 
We also attended another festive dinner where some of the guests took time out to dress as Father Frost (Ded Moroz) and his granddaughter, a fairy (Snegu Rochka) which means Snow Maiden.  It was all quite fun and very interesting to learn and experience different customs.
Last nite was of course New Year’s Eve and oh what a festive night it was.  It made our Fourth of July festivities pale in comparison.  There were fireworks everywhere that went on until about 2am this morning.  It was quite something to see fireworks shooting up in front of our 10th story window from the street below and then exploding right in front of our window.  Some of the explosions were very loud and when the loudest ones went off all the car alarms for about 2 square blocks would trip, so there would be horns honking, lights flashing, and of course all the “wild dogs” we have mentioned roaming free in the streets were barking up a storm.  As we type this post for the blog, night number two of fireworks has begun and all indications are that this will go on for a few more days; up until the 14th which is the “old Russian New Year”. 
Today, we attend church and a potluck after.  They announced last week that there would be a potluck after church today so we took some time yesterday to make a dessert and a casserole to take.  Well – when we started putting stuff out today everyone had brought a dessert!!  Ours was the only main dish!!!  Very interesting.  It was more like a tea and cookie party.  Apparently, something was lost on us in the translation!  However, the main dish went first and fast so I guess we weren’t totally out of it.

Sister Webb & Sister Huffaker
In the Gazebo

King of the Ice Castle??

Shall we sit by the Fire?

Anyone for a slide?

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