Surprisingly, it turned into a good weekend here. Friday evening the view out our window looked like the apocalypse with thick black smoke filling streets, parks, seeping into buildings, and blotting out the sun. Wildfires have been burning around Moscow, and with no wind, this weekend turned into the worst so far for air pollution. Visibility was down to below 50 meters, and doctors warned that breathing outside was like smoking 2 packs of cigarettes a day.
Friday morning my students at English classes were talking about the end of the world and Stephen King horror stories, and we started wearing surgical mask to keep from breathing in the toxic smog. Everyone was complaining of headaches, and some of the embassies (Germany, England, and Poland) began to evacuate their staff!
At first we were really annoyed – it was hot, and we could barely breathe – we were basically under house arrest, confined to breathing the filtered air in our living room. Then, we started to enjoy it. We have a fantastic air conditioner, plenty of movies, lots of groceries, and a fast internet connection. Church and tennis matches were canceled, so we basically spent the whole weekend in our living room which, thankfully, is air conditioned! It was really nice -reading, watching movies, skyping, eating ice cream, talking, and spending time on our hobbies (economist husband researching finance trends, and watching You Tube news and videos. Me writing, reading, researching, and trying out some new recipes in the kitchen). We were kind of glad not to go to church, actually. Riding the metro is like being in a toxic, nasty sauna and church is a hot, exhausting journey to the very south of the city. We stayed at home, slept in, ate a late breakfast (chocolate croissants, ripe nectarines and a homemade mocha!) and listened to a Tim Keller sermon instead. Good stuff 🙂
Here are some pictures from our weekend under house arrest!
Saturday night dinner was a delicious salad with a vinaigrette that Tara taught me how to make. I also decided to try my hand at risotto for the first time. It was fantastic – cheesey and creamy! I used this as a base recipe, and added a bit of Tilsiter cheese and onion to spice things up. Standing over a boiling pot of rice for 30 minutes during Moscow’s record heat wave, however, was probably NOT a good idea!
For breakfast on Sunday I baked up my first ever attempt at pain au chocolat, or chocolate croissants. They very tasty, and went well with a perfectly ripe peach and French-pressed coffee on Sunday morning, but didn’t turn out to be quite the light, flaky, buttery concoctions I’d had in mind. Plus they take forever to make – I think we’ll stick to the bakery versions after this.