Life goes on, to the movies with kids

My faithful reader will doubtlessly understand the interruption in my posts, for which I am heartily grateful. I have to admit that I have been a bit apathetic over the last few days.

I actually did write a post a couple of days ago, exploring the depths of our encounter with mortality. It turned out a bit too philosophical and psychoanalytical, and after having spent a few hours composing it, I decided to let my inner editor to drop it.

But I realize that we have to move on, with everything in our lives, including this blog. So here is the brief overview of my last few days with the kids, which were largely about movies.



Sad Christmas

Natasha’s 17-year-old niece Katya, who has been fighting Hodgkin’s lymphoma for over half a year, has passed away last night in Rostov. We knew that she has not been doing well lately, and one of the main reasons for Natasha’s trip was that she knew she might not get another chance to see her, but still, her death came as a shock. The year ended on the saddest note possible.



This picture is of a couple of years ago – somehow seems fitting…



Outdoor skating

Skating pairThree straight days of going out with children culminated in another skating event. Only this time, the girls skated themselves.

There are quite a few public skating rinks erected in various parts of London. They are always very popular and normally sold out ahead of time. Thanks to eBay, Natasha procured a couple of tickets for the rink at Somerset House, on Strand.

It is probably one of the best settings for an outdoor skating, taking up most of the vast inner courtyard of a magnificent palace. The midday drab sky spoils the picture a bit, but when the sun sets, the atmosphere becomes magical…


Baltimore? No, really?

Looking for novel ways to waste my time online (it’s Sunday, it’s fairly cold outside, we are not going out, I’ve already watched two football games, everyone in the family is occupied with something…), I completed this internet test that matches your personality to one of the 24 major US cities. My result? Baltimore.

With apologies to proud Baltimoreans, I was hoping for a more exciting result.


Requiem to snail mail

The weather turned decisively cold – every morning now I have to scrape frost off the windshield. No expectations of snow, though. Duh!!! Over the last few days, I have been reminded how little a part snail mail plays in our lives these days. Not the official paperwork, or some useless spam, but good old[…]


Back from Köln

The road to Cologne was the longest – distance-wise – of any of our weekend trips so far, but even the driving rain that followed us for over 200 kilometers on the way back did little to dampen our enjoyment of this little adventure.

CologneThe theme of the trip was Christmas Markets in Germany.

We have read in many travel publications that German markets are unlike anywhere in Europe during Christmas. Because we knew that we had limited time, and our research suggested that Köln hosted several different markets all by itself, we decided to eschew touring different places, and instead concentrate on just one city.

The trip turned out almost perfect.


Separated by common language

Differences in English language as spoken by the British and the Americans is a long overdue topic for an expatriate blog. Today, I am finally getting around for a primer.

This isn’t about the obvious difference in pronunciation. True, understanding spoken English on British Isles takes considerable training and unwavering focus for someone whose ear is used to the American version. But that is only a part of the problem. The other part of it is that while you may recognize certain words, they turn out to mean something rather different. Plus, there are words which provoke no recognition from you when you hear them for the first time; yet, they mean things that are quite commonplace.