Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Back in Minsk

I can tell that I’m back in Minsk because I was immediately involved in a bureaucratic snafu. I won’t bore my readers with the details, but it involved paying my tuition at the Minsk State Linguistic University, getting my money back and paying again when they were more properly prepared to receive it. The good news is that the exchange rate fluctuated in my favor and I saved enough money to buy a kilogram of strawberries at the market.

The strawberries here are great. I was afraid we’d get here after the peak of the season, but apparently we arrived in good time. Right now we’re eating strawberries from Brest, in the south of the country. I imagine we’ll be getting strawberries from farther north soon, so the season should last for a while. I’m really excited because the local berries are red all the way through, picked ripe, and taste better than the usual California strawberries we buy across the US.

I had one other consideration about our absence from Minsk during the spring. I hoped to miss the annual preventive maintenance of the hot water system. Apparently we get our hot water from some centralized facility and each facility shuts down annually for this work. I remembered that our district shuts down fairly early and I hoped they would have finished before we returned. I discovered on the day of our arrival that we got back too soon for that. After spending 26 hours on a train, schlepping a few extra kilograms of stuff from Swiss grocery stores, we got home a little after midnight. We moved our dairy products into the refrigerator and took care of a few urgent household tasks before heading to bed. Last thing I jumped into the shower, only to discover that we had no hot water. We’ve got a backup heater for the bathroom, but it needs a while to warm up and I really wanted to get to bed so I took a really quick cold shower.

All told, we’re already happy to be back. My excellent teacher still runs the advanced group at the language school, I like my new dance teacher even better than my previous one, our friends want to see us, and the strawberries are red ripe and juicy. Sweet!

1 comment:

  1. Yummy! The Swiss strawberries are in the stores now, too. It is well worth the wait...much better than the ones that were picked in Italy before they were ripe just so they could be shipped without spoiling.

    Make some strawberry jam while you can, adding about 1/8 of their weight in finely-cut (but not peeled) rhubarb. You will want the color that is in the peel.

    Some citric acid will help it to keep its red color for (most of) the extent of its shelf life, depending on how fast you eat it up.

    And do put a small jar of it into the freezer; it will be like having fresh jam when the other jars are finished and you decide to enjoy it.