These past almost two weeks I got the opportunity to adjust a bit more to life in Moscow and begin classes. Everything here is on “Russian time”, meaning things like classes and schedules are often not decided until a day or two before, and can take a couple weeks to iron out. This is in stark contrast to Holy Cross’s system of scheduling every student in a whirlwind online enrollment day many months before the semester begins. Other American students that I have met here agree that we don’t know which process is more stressful! But I have appreciated the extra time I get to take in Moscow while the weather is still nice.
For example, last weekend was Moscow’s 871st День Города or City Day. Every Russian city has a tradition where they celebrate the anniversary of their town’s founding. Moscow celebrates by closing off one of the main roads near the center of the city and holding a sort of parade in reverse. Different performances and activities were set up along the street and the crowds walked by at their own pace. My favorite stations were the dance and music performances. Listening to Tchaikovsky in the middle of Moscow was a thrill for my inner geek!
The weekend before last, I visited the Trinity Lavra St. Sergius complex, the most important monastery in the Russian Orthodox church and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. My cultural advisor was pretty nonchalant when he told me about the trip, so imagine how I felt when I walked into a place I had seen so many times in pictures!
And later I learned that it is the home of my favorite icon, Andrei Rublev’s The Trinity which I didn’t see! I will be face palming over that forever! Where did a Midwestern girl pick up a favorite icon you ask? From my first-year Montserrat seminar on early Christianity. Thanks, Jesuit education!
I admit, I got a bit wigged out when our guide started kissing the glass over the faces of the bodies of several saints in the Monastery. But overall, I came away with a much deeper appreciation for the Russian Orthodox faith.
And to round out the day we witnessed a reenactment of a medieval battle fought at the monastery.
Until next time!