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no gold (things will have to wait)

There is an old Russian expression for the inevitable moment when your neighbors begin renovating. "Searching for gold in the walls." They say, to describe the epic sounds of drills in ancient concrete. You might appreciate this odd humor, this dark joke, this survival tactic. I am not so graceful a man to wrap my thoughts around it. Those drills and grinders, they shake the very walls of our apartment. Early on Sunday mornings and often long into the evenings they go.

This has been going on for the last four months, maybe more. I stopped counting.

I cannot imagine there are any walls left, that there is an entire open floor below us, the wind whipping through the naked beams and nothing else. That is the only explanation. Or that they break down walls, build new ones, find a flaw, some grand mistake and then break all of the walls down again. Not swiftly with sledgehammers, but with one crappy old drill with a dull bit, mashing away, so that children hundreds of miles away…

колготки (tights)

It's hard to believe my little girl has her first day of Detskie Sad (Kindergarden) tomorrow. I'm not sure who is less prepared - me or her. We've organized all of the tests to confirm she hears ok, sees, ok, breathes ok, has no TB, etc. The school is about 10 minutes walk from the apartment.


There is an overgrown courtyard with apple trees, their fruit littering the dirt. There are poppies, and little purple dahlias. There are clumps of little mushrooms that look like houses that we found this morning, on the final preparation visit. 


I understand how much she just wants to stay at home, surrounded by countless familiar dolls, puzzles and magic markers. I don't really have a great reason for why she needs to go. Every time I explain why she should go, it sounds quite silly. Effortlessly, she replies and my talking points fall apart in my hands. 


I decided to take another tact. I explained to her how we ended up living in Moscow and things took a different perspective. I explained why I went to school, and even how I was a professor for a while. I told her that I had always wished she would lead an interesting life, and that going to school would ensure a future of adventures. Tough to argue with that one. She lives for adventures. 


She suddenly looks so tall in her calgotki (tights), with her legs dangling on the side of couch as I look for her new sneakers. We agreed I would pick out her outfit, and she would pick out mine. 


Tomorrow is the big day - -well, for at least an hour. Then we come back each day for one hour more until she finds herself. 

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