This is just a quick note to say thank you to everyone who wished me happy birthday yesterday through electronic means! I have to admit, I haven't even read all of your emails yet because I've been in such a rush the last two times I checked email. But it was a wonderful birthday - we even went out to an Indian restaurant and I had saag (which some of you may know is pretty much my favorite food)! And I got candy, flowers and a book (Anna Karenina in Russian), which is about as Russian a birthday as you can hope for - these are all very common gifts in Russia.
But the best parts were a) getting my ticket to Vladivostok! I'm flying to Khabarovsk and then taking the train the rest of the way (16 hours!), because this is a big travel time (people returning from vacation) and there were no tickets direct to Vlad. But now I know I'm getting there for sure!
and b) the "cake" the other Fulbright girls made me. It was a pile of syrki (see food entry for a description of them) and two bottles of Baltika beer, with candles stuck in the syrki and taped to the top of the beer bottles! Truly marvelous.
Anyway, I'm now off to Yaroslavl for an English teachers' conference and a weekend of fun before we prepare to leave Moscow for good early next week. I hope everyone is well and I'll respond to all the lovely emails the first chance I get!