They told me to not bring shorts that were “too short” , thank God I didn’t listen. The day I landed in Moscow was part of their heat wave. My first impression of housing was, ” Do they know AC has been invented?!” I was sweating almost 24 hours straight for a few days but it was a great way to experience the culture and fashion of Moscow. The girls dressed very modestly but in the heat I did see some mid-thigh shorts. About 70% of females were in dresses or skirts, which I didn’t have. Men usually wore pants, I have no idea how they survived in the heat. I met my host family after a few days and asked about Russian style and modesty. I got rapid responses of confusion and questions. To them it is only sensible to wear dresses or skirts in hot weather. As a tom-boy this was an interesting thought which helped me realize I would never dress like a native Russian girl. As I introduced myself to my host family, I learned of many more interesting traditions and cultural differences. My first food shock was cold soup; the base of cold soup is a soda drink called квас (kvas). With this fizzy liquid, my family put cucumbers, radish, onions, and dill. After mixing all the ingredients and the квас (kvas) had more than enough bubbles, I took my first bite. I was shocked and intrigued. The vegetables tasted slightly sour but the bubbles were oddly refreshing. I don’t think it will be a favorite but certainly an experience. Although квас (kvas) soup was not the best new dish, I found out I like каша (kasha). Каша (kasha) is a porridge like breakfast food that can be prepared in different ways. My favorite is каша овсяная (kasha ovsyanaya), it has grains and dried fruit with just enough sweetness to not be overbearing during breakfast. With all I have tried and experienced, I am excited to continue great adventures in culture and language!
By: Peony Teo
Program: Russian Language & Area Studies, Moscow, Russia
Term: Summer 2019