Saturday, March 9, 2013

Women's Day

Yesterday we celebrated International Women’s Day. This is a really important holiday in this part of the world. Businesses close. Schools close. Florists extend their hours. Men cook burnt toast and other tragic dishes for their longsuffering wives. Americans: Think of Mother’s Day on a weekday and apply it to every woman or girl you ever kissed, smelled, looked at or talked to. Now you understand.

I started out by burning the pancakes. I’m really good at making buckwheat pancakes and Alla likes them a lot. Somehow under the pressure of the holiday, however, they weren’t 100% successful. Fortunately, my feeble breakfast didn’t set the tone for the day at all. We had lots of fun with some new friends.

A very sweet couple, Sergey and Snezhana, came from the town of Molodechno to a “Romantic Evening” couples’ program at church last month. They ended up at our table and captured our hearts immediately, though I never expected to see them again. They took initiative, however, and invited us to visit them on Women’s Day. We took the elektrichka commuter train right after breakfast, and they met us at the station.

Not only are our new friends as delightful on their home turf as they were at the Romantic Evening, they reminded us how much of Belarus we have not yet seen. Molodechno is a delightful, colorful and fresh town, big enough to have plenty to offer, but still small enough that I wasn’t surprised when Sergey and Snezhana appeared to know the people coming and going around us. Among other things, we went bowling. I forgot how much fun it can be to roll a heavy ball towards defenseless objects that clatter when they fall. We bowled about as quickly as the machinery could reset the pins, which is to say that we bowled a lot during our hour of reserved time. The men, forgetting all about the holiday, obliterated the women. The women smiled and treated us nicely anyway.

I’d like to go back and see Molodechno again when the gardens are in bloom and the snow is gone. The park looked pretty good even under the snow, but I hear it’s great when it’s green. I’ll be happy to investigate. Actually, we’re inspired to get back out of Minsk and start acting a little more like tourists. Before we decided to live here, we did better at exploring. Now we’ve been a little lazy, knowing that we can go look around tomorrow or next month if we don’t do it now. It’s nice to have some new friends to get us out of our chairs in a new direction.

From 2013-03 Minsk

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