Safe and Sound

Yes, it has been a ridiculously long time since I last posted. We have been traveling, running from airport to airport, and I have found it extremely difficult to keep up with the blog. The past four weeks have been a whirlwind of excitement, exhaustion, movement, and momentous sights. There are many new stories and updates on their way!

In the end, Shayne, Polya, and I have all made it home, safely and soundly. We are all settling back in to life in the U.S. Not to worry, there are more Russian blog posts to come, along with posts about our adventures in China, Japan, and Hawaii.

Our time has been life changing, as are the people we have encountered along the way. We miss you all so much! We are incredibly grateful for everything that we have experienced.

More coming soon….



There is a word in Russian–гулять–that I really enjoy. It means to walk, although that does not quite encompass the whole. The real meaning is to walk around, to stroll, to wander around, or to walk without a particular destination in mind. Basically, walking for the sheer pleasure of walking. I wish we did more of this in the U.S. In Russia, this happens more in the warmer seasons of the year. As the weather warms up here, you find more people out and about.


Jose and his first meeting with Eleanor Pray


Eleanor Pray

Our first walk around Vlad happened almost a month ago. After a visit to the Catholic Church here (more on that coming soon!), Yasha and I were joined by our friend Jose to take a walk around the city. We giggled, we frolicked, we ate, and explored. Here are some of our findings…

The monument to Eleanor Pray was a particular favorite of Jose’s. Eleanor Pray was an American woman living in Vladivostok from 1894 to 1930. Born in Maine and raised in New Hampshire, Eleanor moved to Vlad in 1894. She was extremely important to the understanding  of the lifestyle in early 20th century Russia. Eleanor wrote more than 2,100 letters that have been cataloged and transcribed, the majority having been written to her sister-in-law. The vast collection of both letters and photographs have given a unique insight into the mercantile lifestyle in pre-Russian Revolution Vladivostok.

We stumbled upon a beautiful back alley that had great graffiti. Not to mention the intense ice formations found along the gutters. The housing had intricate detailing, and, as usual, we found a cat that wanted to become friends.


We ended the walk with eating at one of our favorite places,  Хохлома. Jose makes an excellent Russian uncle, reading to us from a book of Russian fairy tales.

A Day in the Life of Yasha

Here, we have the pictures of what Yasha sees during an average day in Vladivostok.

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Yasha took these pictures on a Wednesday, and this is typical of what he encounters. Classes have been challenging, but this particular Wednesday was fun because they got to play the Russian version of “Telephone.” The first attempt was less than stellar, but the second and third rounds went a lot better.Yasha said he loves how colorful the city is, especially now that spring has almost arrived. He thinks it is interesting that within a city as busy as Vlad, there are still places where you can find peaceful moments and quiet places to escape the noisy hustle and bustle of the city.

The Fly Bar

Chkalov Bar (aka The Fly Bar) is a posh, aviation-inspired restaurant and bar located on улица адмирала фонина–or more simply–арбат.  Our friend Elena recommended it us and she was right on! Great food and drinks, including Yasha’s favorite–milkshakes–we thoroughly enjoyed spending the evening there. Also very proud of Yasha, with help from our friend Oksana, who finally found his Russian шапка. As you can see, we all took turns trying it on.

Really COLD

We knew it was going to be cold here in Vladivostok, especially coming from the warm islands of Hawai’i. Some days are colder than others…this was one of the coldest thus far. The temperature was somewhere in the 20s, with the wind chill making it about a billion degrees below 0. And yes, that was the official temperature. Lucky us, we were all completely out of food and had to brave the cold in order to eat. A quick ten minute walk to the OK! Supermarket was enough for us to handle that day. Here are a few images from our trek.