Saturday, February 08, 2014

Russia with Love

About a year and a half ago, we kicked off the London 2012 summer games with a fun little party for the opening ceremonies. (See my posts about it here and here.) We ate bangers and mash, had a little English tea party, made Olympic torches out of tissue paper, and did some Olympic rings art. We were especially excited for the summer Olympics because Kate had started taking gymnastics and we loved watching the gymnastics competitions.

This time around, we're a little excited to watch figure skating and maybe some of the other events, but the major point of interest for me—and the only thing I really did to enhance our watching of the opening ceremonies—was reminiscing about my foreign study to Russia during college. I had loved Russian history ever since seeing movies about Catherine the Great and Nicholas II when I was eleven or so, and dreamed of going on Furman's study abroad trip to Central Europe and Russia. I spent January and February of 2001 traveling around Russia and several former Soviet bloc countries. It was fascinating and a dream come true. I remember all the beautiful churches and ornate palaces, art and culture, as well as the teeny-tiny snow flakes (because it was so cold and dry that the snow didn't clump as it fell) and the fact that we didn't see the sun for at least two-and-a-half weeks!

With the Olympics now in Sochi, I get excited whenever NBC shows stock footage and flyover film of Moscow and St. Petersburg, and I took the opportunity during last night's opening ceremony broadcast to share my Russian treasures with Kate. They're on display in the playroom, but I doubt she's ever really noticed, and certainly didn't connect the items on that particular shelf with a certain country on the globe.

So, I showed Kate my books and pictures, icons, and matryoshkas (nesting dolls). We took a couple of the dolls apart, which I hadn't done in years, and even I was shocked to recall how tiny these little handpainted pieces go!

For a sense of scale, take a look at the smallest five in one of them, compared to a normal housekey! And yet even on that tiny one, laying in the bowl of its next-biggest mate, has facial features and other detail.
I enjoyed the celebration of Russian culture during the opening ceremony, and the retellings of Russian history (selective and idealized as they were, of course). So many new tasks, hobbies, and passions fill my life as an adult now, it was so fun to be carried back to the ten or more years of my life when Russia was among my most fervent interests.

And now Kate will know that, while I don't know what we'd do without all that hidden toy storage in our playroom, the main reason Daddy and I had those built-in shelves added was to display our most precious pictures, books, and travel memorabilia!
Welcome to our playroom, says Kate. And let the games begin!

No comments:


Blog Widget by LinkWithin