Thursday, April 3, 2014

What should I write about?

At a dear friends urging I am going to set about writing some articles about life.  Life overseas.  Life overseas as I do it.  Not sure yet.  I have come up with a few catchy titles.

'That year I spent in Moscow with a English-Chinese dictionary in my purse'

'How to get over feeling used when your anyone's sponsor'

'How it feels when your told no but everyone else doesn't even ask' - cryptic, no?

'Meeting another Zimbabwean overseas is like coming home, thanks to the USG'

and my current favorite, 'It's just a t-shirt: How Girl Scouts almost made me loose my mind'

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

At least I amuse someone

Well, I can crack up a bunch of young Chinese men with my awesome Chinese skills.  I am pretty sure instead of chatting about how they like living here and stuff like that, I instead told them I was going to shower, they were pretty and could they clean up a little.  I accidentally pulled out my ayi speak with them.  I think.  Who knows?  I was flustered using my non Russian and mime skills to even find the place.

Monday, March 17, 2014

I get out a lot these days

So after more than a year of dealing with the women in my neighborhood who don't get out much, I finally have a lot going on.  Yippee for me!

Last week I went out with a German friend to a crazy far, really really good yarn store.  Luckily I trust this woman, or else I would have been convinced she was taking me on the metro - bus - tram to a certain death.  The place was so far!

I pulled off, almost single handedly, a pretty decent Pinewood Derby followed by the first ever Powderpuff Derby.  I totally love that a tiny cute first grade girl won!  And my middle one won in the boys race - a wonderful good bye to the Cub Scouts for him.

Then we have my new career as a page turner for a bunch of foreign piano students.  Not a glam gig but I love pulling out my bad Chinese.  I did not wear a black dress with a plunging neckline but rather jeans and a wool sweater - there is no heat in the hall and it is chilly!  I may try out another violin teacher next week.  Having a good teacher makes all the difference.

And today we deduced that my youngest has perfect pitch.  Her young piano teacher was very excited. Me?  Not as much.  I was all 'Ah, she spoke Mandarin as a small child, of COURSE she has perfect pitch' and then she almost feel asleep during her lesson.  This poor guy.  Also I may have said something like 'so what, it's not like she plays an instrument she has to tune.'  Again, this poor guy.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

scrap blanket

#2's blanket by taitaiknits
#2's blanket, a photo by taitaiknits on Flickr.

Knitting up all the blue odds and ends for a blanket for the middle son. Excellent mindless knitting.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Ombré cowl

Ombré cowl by taitaiknits
Ombré cowl, a photo by taitaiknits on Flickr.

Getting through February school break by knitting. Ombre cowl to be found at

Monday, February 17, 2014

What to bring to Moscow

Or rather, what not to bring to Moscow.  Long gone are the days of not being able to find things in Russia's capital city.   You name it, you can probably find it here.  If your with the Embassy, you can certainly most definitely find it here.

Seriously there is almost nothing food wise you should bring.  Maybe if you eat a lot of ethnic food?  Although I spotted chipotles in adobe sauce at the fancy grocery store just yesterday…I cook a lot at home and I can find everything with some looking.  Spices, baking supplies and don't get me started on toilet paper!  There are numerous people I know who ship it in.  They should be laughed at often.  Or something.  There are at least three brands of excellent TP available here.  Zewa something or other, the Kleneex with the yellow labradors frolicking on the label and the lamb brand.  Just stay away from the ones with strawberries or peaches dancing in the background…and no, it is not ruinously expensive and we have a healthy COLA anyway.

Before we came I got a long list of things to bring from a diplomats wife from another country.  She needed to get out more or else things have changed wildly since she left the summer we arrived.  You do not need to bring toothbrushes.  You do not need to bring toothpaste, unless your fussy child will only use orange flavored Tom's brand…not that I know any children like that.  I ship in only special laundry powder packets because two members of my household are delicate allergic flowers and tiny bottles of Mite-Away as one of those delicate flowers has to have his bedding/jackets/hats washed in the stuff.

What should you bring?  A guide book!  A phone that you can put a translation app on and a Metro map.  And appropriate snow clothes and jackets.  In fact, if you arrive in summer, you should bring fleece type jackets, some sweaters, even a hat and rain gear with you.  And as for any post, a good attitude and sense of adventure!

Monday, January 20, 2014

the foreign service - in print and on the small screen

I have recently been reading 'The Royals and the Roaches' by Patricia Hughes.  I sort of feel like my mother could have written it except she was a communicator's wife and a foreign service secretary herself.  But I think my Mom and Patricia are probably about the same age and were both around when 'the wives were fired.'  I enjoyed the book and may be more inclined to give a few more dinner parties.

I loved this movie.  Documentary rather.  Available on Netflix or here.  Most shocking part - it's all real!  Also, thank goodness no Americans make an appearance in this movie.  Also, never ever agree to Bangui on the bid list!