Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Mandarin oranges

I've been buying a lot of citrus since I've been here, and occasionally stumbled across some really good Mandarin oranges. Most recently, I bought a half a kilogram of Mandarins from the little store on the corner near our apartment. They only looked so-so, but we had no fruit in the house. Ha! They were so good we ate about half the bag in a couple of hours before and after dinner. So, of course, I ran back down to the store and bought another kilogram while I knew where to get such good stuff.

Photo by Elena Razgulina
A day or two later, we were headed off to visit a school class taught by a new friend. (That would be today, actually.) Alla knew that the students were working hard on a presentation for us, and that they would present us with a gift of blini, so she really wanted to bring something for the students. Off she went, and bought another big bag of Mandarins from our little store, who somehow still had not run out.

The students did an amazing job. They're in fifth grade, and most of them speak English really well. They told us about the traditional maslinitsa festival, which is functionally equivalent to Mardi Gras but completely different, and about some other details of Belarusian culture. At the end of the program, the teacher gave everybody candy and we gave them all Mandarins.

I don't think they'd all eaten citrus fruits before, because we saw at least one kid eating his like an apple, skin and all. I tried a piece of skin on mine to learn if he knew something that I didn't, but I can assure you that you generally don't want to eat the skin on your citrus fruit. Anyway, I hope he figured it out by the time he went for his second bite!

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