Saturday, December 25, 2004

happy birthday jesus!

so this is christmas.

things are pretty quiet here since the russian orthodox church hasn't gotten around to accepting that they're 14 days off. the americans have pretty much all scattered for home/europe/etc and larisa is at work today so i'm going over to a friend's for dinner. my neighbor came over to show me her decorations since our apartment is looking pretty bleak. the good news is that it's been pretty cold, and the snow & wind seem appropriate. a lot of new years decorations are already up around the city, so things seem sort of holiday-ish.

we have new years, then christmas and then old new years coming up. people in russia celebrate old new years, too. and catholic christmas. because hey, why not? by the way, our (not-orthodox) christmas is called "catholic-christmas" in russia, as if the rest of the god loving world celebrates christmas in january. the most annoying thing is, that makes me a de facto catholic even though i was raised as a protestant and don't consider myself particularly religious.

last night (christmas eve) i went to the yaroslavl city jazz center, which was having a christmas eve party hosted by one of the local english teaching centers. the jazz club was obviously well funded and well organized, but not too authentic. the lights were on most of the night and the votive candles (allegedly) set off the fire alarm for about 15 minutes.

i can't really say that i've been to a lot of jazz clubs, but i feel like bright lights and prohibiting smoking aren't really a good start. there was a little sauna like closet downstairs where you could smoke. it was so uncomfortable in the smoking room that most people started to smoke their cigarettes outside, and then got too cold, put them out, and finished them in the smoking room. and then went back outside to get the smell of smoke and sweat out of their clothes.


the band was all right - they played cheesy standards mostly, but they had a pretty good pianist. the music and ventilation system in the room made it feel like a really crowded elevator. i guess the band isn't from yaroslavl. no one really wanted to stay because we all turned out to be really underdressed and not terribly into the music. the director of the english center kept coming up to us and telling us to dance with all the nice girls because of all the really great jazz and all. and then she yelled at us for leaving early and not asking all the nice girls to dance. but yeah, we'll be back for your fortune telling party in january. sounds super. yep, we promise. the christmas eve party at the basement was considerably more entertaining, if less directly-christmas-related.

so this was supposed to be the cheery post, m. sorry. check back after new years - i'm already looking forward to it. dacha somewhere north of the city. it'll take a few hours for us to get the stove lit and the house warmed up. i like that.