Sunday, July 31, 2011

Number 9

So last month, Dave and I celebrated our 9th anniversary!
(it's okay, don't feel bad, nobody else remembered either)
(just kidding)
(i'm sorry. i'm a dork.)
Anyway, on our first anniversary, I thought it would be all sentimental and cute to get Dave the "traditional anniversary gift" of paper. Then, I did it again the next year, and now it's become a tradition for me to give him the "traditional anniversary gift". And can I tell you how nice it is? A few years were little difficult (something bronze? I almost bronzed his basketball shoes), but at the same time, it's nice, because I don't have to stress so much about getting him something he will want or appreciate.
I just realized how bad that sounds.
Anyway, these are the "traditional anniversary gifts" (according to wikipedia - sorry, its'a crutch), and the things I have gotten for him. And as a side note, I'm not trying to show how amazing I am. I definitely could have been more creative. I'm writing this also for my own records - nine years is a long time (to remember gifts)! So, without further adieu:
1st ~ paper ~ paper money, for buying basketball shoes
2nd ~ cotton ~ a few t-shirts
3rd ~ leather ~ a new wallet
4th ~ linen, silk ~ a linen pocket square (we ended up returning it, haha, but I couldn't afford pants, and linen shirts apparently weren't in at that time)
5th ~ wood ~ a wood frame with a family photo for his desk at work
6th ~ iron ~ a book called Iron Coffins (desperate much?) about submarines in World War II.
7th ~ wool, copper ~ wool pants. And for the record, our 7th anniversary was the only one where Dave bought me the "traditional" gift of wool socks, and it is my favorite gift that he has ever given me (except maybe when he got me something old, new, borrowed, and blue for a wedding gift.)
8th ~ bronze ~ a game that he loves - Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age in an ipod app.
9th ~ pottery ~ I figured out how to drive across Moscow and surprise him with a date to Kuskovo - an old summer estate which also happens to house the State Museum of Ceramics - dun duduh - pottery!
Now if I just stick with this, after our 15th anniversary, I only have to get him a gift every five years (just kidding, honey).
So here are a few (nine) pictures from our 9th anniversary...
We first came upon this little chapel (of course, every palace has to have it's own church - even if it's just a summer palace). We didn't go inside, because I didn't bring a scarf to cover my head, but we could hear the beautiful singing from outside.

Then the palace. All wood with plaster and paint to make it look like stone. This estate belonged to a wealthy family, the Sheremetevs (leader in an army or something). Built in 1769-75, apparently it is rare to find something in this condition (after multiple invasions and then Soviet rule), and it is furnished as it would have been when it was built. Unfortunately, in my opinion, it has not been organized in such a way to be able to avoid a lot of deterioration.

In Moscow they think it's fun to charge people to take pictures inside anywhere. This was my first experience with that, so I didn't pay = no pictures of the very interesting inside. Now I just consider it part of the admission.

A photo of the back of the palace, circa 1789.
(wow, they had some pretty hot guys back then too)

The Sheremetevs had about 200,000 serfs (peasants bound to the land and the owner of that land to provide labor and in return get protection and the privilege to farm the land they live on to provide for themselves, blah blah blah, you probably already know), including a couple of architects who collaborated in designing the estate including, but not limited to the Swiss House, the Dutch House, the Hermitage, the Orangerie (now housing the Ceramics Museum), the Grotto (I love grottoes), and the Italian House. There was also a serf theater, a managerie, an aviary, more more more...
We couldn't go inside most things, but we enjoyed wandering the gardens and looking around until...
Dave's sandal gave out on him
(sad day... those sandals have been all over the world - Hawaii, Africa, Asia, Dubai, France, Russia... maybe I'll bronze them)

I was very entertained by him dragging his foot around like a monster in a scary story, but he got tired of it, so eventually he just took them off. Hopefully he doesn't get any diseases.
(he put them back on when we went back out of the estate, so he wouldn't be yelled at by the babushkas)

The happy couple.

After we left Kuskovo, we went to find some lunch, and we found... dun dun dun... a cobbler! In a little booth on the side of the road. And he fixed Dave's sandal! Hooray!
(and please ignore our awesome parking job in the background)

Two things to love about Moscow:
1. You can always find random things on the side of the road. Usually not when you are looking for them.
2. You can park anywhere and everywhere.

We found this little Uzbeki restaurant, Samarkand that our friends recommended. (Uzbeki and Georgian food are big here). It was a huge menu, and we didn't branch out - we got a yummy fresh salad with radishes and some meat and vegetable skewers with three different sauces. Oh and khachapuri! Have you heard of this (pronounced kind of like hah-chuh-pour-ee), because it sounded vaguely familiar before we moved here, but I wasn't sure... it is a round bread with cheese in/on it, and it is so delicious! And this place has the best! I'm going back just for that.

And that's it. If you're still reading, let me apologize, because you are about to hear this:
Happy Anniversary, Babe! I love you!
(that was directed towards Dave)

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