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Friends and family

Just finished our 5th day in a row of guests.

But... I think we all probably have different things in mind when we imagine inviting someone over for a visit. In Russian culture a meal is often involved, and a huge spread is not unheard of. When I was single and would visit families during the day, often they would feed me the food they made for their own families, but would not hesitate to offer me the entire contents of their fridge out of generosity.

By the way, Russians will keep offering you food even if you say no. I suppose it is more polite to refuse in order to not seem like a pig...I have a hard time getting used to that, especially if the food is really good. ;) If you don't want me to eat all your food, don't keep offering me seconds!

Back to cooking. If I waited until I had the time/energy/skill to cook a big multi-course meal, I'd never have guests over.

So, this is more what it looked like:

That time I decided to vacuum...

Day #1: A friend from church needed some company and we agreed to meet during the day. The night before, it had snowed, and the kids really wanted to play in it. Instead of cooking or cleaning, I took them outside. Then I fed my friend some yummy homemade soup that my in-laws had delivered to us the day before.

Day #2: In-laws came over for a late lunch/early dinner. In the morning we did homeschooling and I made pumpkin cake. Oh, and David's speech therapy fit in there somewhere. Andrei made some potatoes and his parents brought chicken and salad ingredients, which I chopped up. That was our meal.

Day #3: There was no hot water (and no heat in the building), so I couldn't wash the previous day's dishes before my mother-in-law came over. By the time she arrived I had done homeschool with David and taken the kids on an outing. The hot water came back. My mother-in-law brought some bread from a bakery and I made a cheese spread to go with it for afternoon tea.

Day #4: Done with school for the week, I did some cleaning and made pumpkin cake again. I also made cookies for the next day. Then I went down the street to where a Mexican friend has a taco stand, and got some take-out to share with our evening guests. They brought fresh fruit and veggies.

Day #5: I spent a lot of the day putting up fall decorative touches instead of cleaning. After decorating cookies with the kids, I put some chicken in to marinate and went to the store for a few more ingredients. While waiting for the day's guests, I loaded the chicken in to bake, got some water boiling for pasta, washed salad ingredients, made a salad dressing, grated cheese, etc. Andrei and I both washed some dishes, but there was still a backlog.

When I write it all out like that, it sounds busy, but the house is a wreck and there were a ton of things I didn't get to. I just had to relax and let some things go. It also helped that some of the guests were English-speaking. I think that subconsciously I probably relax a little more when I'm not worrying about Russian grammar.

In general, I'm so thankful for people in my life who want to spend time with our family and accept us the way we are! And I'm glad that we sometimes say "yes" even when circumstances aren't ideal.


  1. I really need your take on Mexican food in Russia. Is it like Mexican food in the US? (Which is its own particular take on Mexican food....) I just can't have people over. The years of destructive kids hasn't complete been eradicated so we have broken windows in the doors, etc. But add on top of that now, Monnie's art and Bee's toys.... Yipes.


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