From Russia to Estonia

I drove to Estonia from Russia yesterday. The total driving time from St. Petersburg to Johvi, Estonia is about 4 hours, but the border crossing can take anywhere from an hour to 5 hours. Yesterday I made it across the border in 50 minutes. That was nice.

I’m working on Sunbeam, a day center for children with disabilities we are opening here in Estonia. You can read the latest news here. I’m helping set up some administrative items, and I’ve been building a simple website for Sunbeam.

I made a couple of videos of my drive in Russia. I’ll call them Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. First, the nice Dr. Jekyll:

And the rough Mr. Hyde. (It’s no wonder I need to get my car fixed pretty often.)

And another:

Just AFTER I made that last video, I saw a sign that said Rough Road Ahead. (!)

I’d like to point out that this is THE main federal highway from St. Petersburg into Europe.

Russian Christmas

Here’s a good explanation about Russian Christmas and why it is celebrated on January 7 –

Russian Christmas

Thirteen days after Western Christmas, on January 7th, the Russian Orthodox Church celebrates its Christmas, in accordance with the old Julian calendar.  It’s a day of both solemn ritual and joyous celebration

After the 1917 Revolution, Christmas was banned throughout Russia, along with other religious celebrations.  It wasn’t until 75 years later, in 1992, that the holiday was openly observed.  Today, it’s once again celebrated in grand fashion, with the faithful participating in an all-night Mass in incense-filled Cathedrals amidst the company of the painted icons of Saints.

Christmas is one of the most joyous traditions for the celebration of Eve comes from the Russian tradition.  On the Eve of Christmas, it is traditional for all family members to gather to share a special meal.  The various foods and customs surrounding this meal differed in Holy Russia from village to village and from family to family, but certain aspects remained the same. Continue reading

One Happy Russian

Olga (like most Russians) loves to hunt mushrooms. However, most Finns do not. So, while it can be hard to find mushrooms in Russia (since everyone is hunting mushrooms) there are a LOT of mushrooms in Finland.

We took the boat across the lake, and Olga hit the jackpot. Here is the evidence of her success (video and pictures):