|A panorama of Orsk from the Television Station hilltop|
I was thrilled Saturday to have the opportunity to have dinner with a Russian family in their home. Nadezhda Tusina, an English Professor whom I work with at the Institute, and her family showed me warm Russian hospitality as they spent the afternoon showing me the sights of Orsk and opening their home to me with a delicious home cooked dinner!
At my request, we stopped for some photos on the bridge over the Ural River which is the border between Asia and Europe. As strange as it may seem, the Ural was actually frozen over on the Asian side of the river, but there was no ice on the European side - believe it or not!
|A view of the newer and more industrial part of the city from the high hill where |
the television broadcasting station is located
|Andrei in his office|
|Mounting customers' snow tires for the upcoming winter|
|There is just a whisp of snow on the ground now, but everybody is taking this as a sign to get ready |
for the coming winter weather.
The snow tires have little studs that look like rivets to give better traction on winter roads.
Our next stop was at the community bath house/sauna, closed on Saturdays, but the Babushka was there selling "vyenik", bundles of birch and oak twigs. A bather in the sauna dips them in boiling water for 10 seconds and then slaps his/her bare skin with them in the sauna. There are different types of bundles, some with dried blossoms and some without. Each type gives a different fragrance. The oak bundles have coarser leaves and offer a more stimulating experience than the birch. While she initially protested that she did not want her photo taken, Nadezhda told me that she would be bragging to her friends about her "American experience" for weeks to come! Click on the link below to hear an audio program about Russian bath house culture and history.
By this time, we were all ready for dinner, so we went to the family's apartment to spend the rest of the afternoon. They have a beautiful, spacious apartment which is modern and very comfortable. The large kitchen has a stainless steel refrigerator and up to date appliances. Nadezhda is a fantastic cook and set a table fit for a king! She made four different salads, and for the main course, home made pelmeni, a Russian dumpling that is stuffed with three kinds of meat. It was delicious!
Daughter "Marcia" also speaks beautiful English and recently competed in an English poetry contest in school. I coached her for an hour one afternoon before the competition. She feels like she performed well, and is eager to get the results of the contest at school tomorrow. Their son, Vova (the nickname for Vladimir), is also learning English and eventually got up the courage to try it out with me by asking, "What city are you from?" As you can see here, you don't really need snow or ice to be ready for a hockey game! The family has invited me to go to a hockey game with them in early December. I gladly accepted!