Blogs from Minsk, Minsk Voblast, Belarus, Europe

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Europe » Belarus » Minsk Voblast » Minsk April 19th 2015

Ellen, Kevin and I went exploring yesterday. I am planning a field trip learning about rocks. First, I thought of headstones, then I thought about stone used in buildings in the city. So we went city stone hunting. Found many igneous rocks - mostly granite. The red catholic church St. Simon and Helena. I was sure would be sandstone turned out to be red brick instead. Well, we toured the church, very nice interior and interesting geometric stained glass windows. Stopped by the underground mall next to the church - It's just a mall, but some good souvenir shops. Next, we went to Nemiga and wandered through the Russian orthodox church. It is a very iconic religion, many Mary and Jesus pictures inside shadow box frames, some with silver bodies and painted faces, one with a ... read more
Russian Orthodox - Saint Spirit Cathedral
Kevin and Ellen outside the cathedral
Soviet-style reliefs

Europe » Belarus » Minsk Voblast » Minsk April 19th 2015

A very exciting day. bought two bikes today. Our dear friend Helen helped us get a great deal from her bike shop guy, Serge. We now have some freedom from public transportation. Don't get us wrong We love how easy it is to get around Minsk, but the waiting in the cold and crowded buses get old. Now we can explore more of the city off the main drag.... read more

Europe » Belarus » Minsk Voblast » Minsk January 25th 2015

A new teacher coming to Minsk next school year asked me to talk about some of the surprises we have had here in Minsk. 1. There are many new and modern cars on the streets; not old Russian ones like I imagined. However, we use public transportation to get around the city and find that it is easy to use and mostly reliable. 2. I expected a cabbage-smelling apartment in the soviet style. Instead our apartment is new and has very modern furnishings. It is also upstairs from the high school so our commute is very short. Kevin’s commute was one hour each way last year. 3. We expected that there would be no wine, so therefore we couldn't be disappointed. Wrong. Back home we have grown to love the rich red wines from Washington state. ... read more

Europe » Belarus » Minsk Voblast » Minsk October 24th 2014

Arrival into Minsk The Air Baltic Fokker 50 landed like a World War II bomber and taxied past the usual assortment of old Soviet-era airliners that had been left in a huge field. MИHCK written in large Cyrillic lettering above the terminal confirmed I had indeed landed in Minsk. As I stepped onto Belarusian soil, or rather tarmac, and entered the passenger terminal, I wondered what the country the Americans had described as Europe’s last dictatorship would be like. To be honest, I’d not heard many good things about Belarus, and the things I had heard were mainly to do with its president, Alexander Lukashenko, a man renowned for his poor human rights record and his fondness for rigging elections. This man had once famously stated that if any of his citizens joined in with protests ... read more
Main street in Minsk
Lenin statue
Independence Square

Europe » Belarus » Minsk Voblast » Minsk October 5th 2014

Not only is Russian a difficult foreign language to speak, it has a different alphabet - cyrillic script. It is a challenge to learn, but once you get the hang of it you can't stop reading it. As we stroll along the streets of Minsk or ride the trolley or tram from one stop to another we are constantly sounding out the words written in cyrillic script. The hope is that the word will be a cognate that we can recognize from English. The pictures show a few examples.... read more
Our Street
Main Street
Communist Street

Europe » Belarus » Minsk Voblast » Minsk September 28th 2014

Hello everyone! So sorry that we have been out of contact. Everything is fine. It's just that we are feeling overwhelmed with our teaching responsibilities. However, we are finally coming up for air. And we see a light of our first school break coming at the beginning of November. We are planning to go to Krakow, Poland. We wanted to provide a few updates. While life is different here, it also seems very much the same as back home. Especially during the first part of a school year where you work so hard to establish a classroom environment where everyone is working together. Kevin and I are also learning the culture and responsibilities of a small school that is part of a larger, rigorous entity. The requirements and expectations are high here and we are doing ... read more
IMG_0518

Europe » Belarus » Minsk Voblast » Minsk August 16th 2014

Many of us new teachers took the city tour on a double decker bus. We traveled many of the main roads and saw many sights while listening to the audio on headphones. I especially enjoyed the propaganda included with each description. I have included some of the photos to give a glimpse of this amazing city. Most of the city was destroyed during WWII so most of the construction is post-war with five stories high being the maximum during that period. With the wide streets, including super wide sidewalks, it makes for a very pedestrian friendly city.... read more
The tour bus
War Memorial
Getting to the tour bus

Europe » Belarus » Minsk Voblast » Minsk August 10th 2014

We are celebrating a week in our new apartment. It is located right across the street from our school. The apartment is nearly 2000 square feet with quaint sloping ceilings on three sides. We are on the top (third) floor up a flight of stairs. Because we are on the top floor we enter through a hobbit door about 5 and 3/4 feet tall (watch your head - George, not Kevin). There are three dormer windows and three skylights. It feels very spacious. There are three bedrooms - one for visitors (all are welcome) and one for an office. The apartment building is small (only six apartments), so we have views out three sides. Most views are of the city skyline. The city is really growing, with many modern buildings, mainly with investment by Russians. I ... read more
Kitchen
Master Bedroom
Neighborhood

Europe » Belarus » Minsk Voblast » Minsk August 9th 2014

Hello Everyone, We had a very refreshing rain this Saturday morning. We were out an about in it, picking up some yoga mats and running some other errands. We have walked more this week than in the whole rest of the year! Electric buses in our neighborhood are not running this weekend because of maintenance on the overhead lines. So we took a regular bus which turned on a street we didn't want. Note to self: the 68 is a bad bus route for us. We hoped off at the next stop (which was several blocks away). We walked over to the next major street and hopped another bus in the general direction we wanted to go. It also turned away from where we were headed. We should have waited for the 100 bus. Off again ... read more

Europe » Belarus » Minsk Voblast » Minsk August 8th 2014

Kevin and I made it safely to Minsk and are adjusting well. Everyone is so friendly and it is very safe here. Kevin tested it out by leaving her purse at a restaurant the first night. We hurried back two hours later in a taxi and the waiter just smiled as he reached behind the counter and handed her the purse. We went to a local mall on the first morning to pick up some supplies. A fan was a must as it is near 30 Celsius (90s F). We also picked up a few groceries in the very modern grocery store. The mall was cool because it also has an ice skating arena. We had a Belarussian buffet lunch by the rink. Much fun at the open air market Tuesday , especially with the spice ... read more
Belarus Komarovsky Market
Belarus Komarovsky Market Vegies
Shopping




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