Friday, May 2, 2008

Labor Day

May 1st is Labor Day in Russia. It’s an official holiday, and the government decided to mess with the calendar by switching Friday and Sunday so that Thursday, Friday and Saturday could be days off and Sunday could be a workday.

Sometimes I dislike the way that holidays disrupt everyday life. I never quite know what to do with myself. I feel guilty not working on a workday, and I’m afraid that if I relax too much, I won’t want to go back to work after the holidays. I would rather there be a steady schedule of 6 days to work and do chores, and 1 day to really REST (not 1 day when you’re “free” to do things like go to the store or cook food or do all the other things that you don’t have time to do during the rest of the week). A lot of people work a lot harder than I do, though, so I don't have much reason to complain. Perhaps God gives me these little breaks in routine so that I don't get worn out.

As it turned out, when I woke up on Thursday to beautiful weather, I was quite thankful that it was a day off. And as my plans fell through, I found myself forced to spend a day resting.

I’m currently staying with my friend Yulia, slightly outside of the city. We took a little trip to a small lake near her house. It was interesting (for lack of a better word) to pass the trash heaps on the way to our commune with Nature. Can you guess what the sign on this tree says? Hint: look at what’s lying on the ground.

We also passed the facilities where Pavlov carried out some of his animal research, tucked away in the woods. Here I am admiring a bust of Pavlov (I’m “reading” the Braille in this shot).

We lay on the beach, eating junkfood and drooling from the smell of other people’s barbecues. It was quite relaxing; a real day off.


  1. It's interesting to me that instead of it just being a free day off in the week, another day becomes a work day to make up for it. Must be a difference in work ethic or just a different mentality. Also, I saw your Dad this morning when I was getting coffee at a coffee shop in Northampton. We had a nice conversation and it made my morning a little nicer. Just wanted to share. :)

  2. It looks like such a lovely day! Your photo of the sign is just classic! I LOVE IT! The biggest shock for me in going to Russia was the trash. Honestly. I couldn't believe the way people who keep every home, however humble, spotless and keep houseplants in every school, office and dwelling, trash their outside environment. Just one more Russian contradiction.

    I also find holidays unsettling. The shifting of "days off" makes as much sense as legally changing the day just so we can have a day Presidents Day.

  3. Actually, Thursday was a real day off, we didn't make up for it. In the U.S. I think most of our holidays are moveable, so that the holiday itself gets switched to a Friday or Monday, instead of messing with the weekends.

    My dad said he saw you, so I guess it was mutual. :)

    Annie, I think Russians find U.S. cities dirty! And we don't even have spotless homes to make up for it! I guess you notice those things when you're in another country. I do think Americans are better at following posted rules. We are a little stricter with the fines. I'm always shocked when someone litters. I carry my apple core around until I find a trashcan!

  4. You are so right about us not having spotless homes. Especially with Ilya, I am feeling abashed. I think he finds my housekeeping abysmal. It's not that bad, but not up to Russian standards, I guess.... Comes from having TOO MUCH. I'd love to move to Russia and have LESS.

  5. Yeah, I tried the whole "move to Russia" thing. I still have a lot of stuff, it's just spread out over a few different Russian apartments and my room in the U.S. I don't even buy a lot. Where does it all come from?

    Don't worry about Ilya. Our Russian girls were shocked too at first, but they soon forgot their tidy ways. :)

  6. Exactly!!! It is like unnecessary belongings just multiply on their own, and the more children we have, the worse it gets!!


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