T. I. R.

>> Monday, 3 May 2010

When we first moved to Moscow I met a lovely lady who's favourite phrase is 'This is Russia'. (TIR, for short). She uses it whenever confronted by a situation that falls so far outside our normal home life expectations that really, one has to ask oneself how the hell one got into it. I've had a number of those moments since arriving here; the heating, the driving, and the weather are just three examples.

But you begin to suspect your home is indeed far far away when you pop over to a neighbour's for an informal lunch and the lovely couple and their children who join you, and for whom you've cooked your best Deep Filled Meringue with Berries, turn out to be an Ambassador and his family. Long term readers; please be advised that I managed to avoid liberally peppering the lunchtime conversation with that famous Ferrero Rocher catch-phrase. Actually, I think I deserve a medal for that since the temptation was almost overwhelming when he proceeded after pudding, very tunefully and charmingly, to serenade us with lullabies from his home country, shortly before which our host had brought out a copy of his (as in, the Ambassador's) latest volume of extremely good poetry to be signed by the author...

But that's not all that happened this bank holiday weekend to emphasise the fact that I'm not in Kansas anymore. Lunch was followed the same day by a girl's night out where - this being Russia - taxis were not required (since most people are far more sensible than I am, and use a driver to chauffeur them around), there was bear - BEAR - on the menu, it was cheaper for the seven of us to drink cocktails than to order a bottle of wine (mmm - yummy mojitos....), and our table was visited by someone wearing what must have been the hottest and sweatiest grisly bear costume around. (And did I mention the children's party where the entertainment consisted of live animals featuring a monkey, parrots, a crocodile for chrissakes, and not one but two - real - bears? All of which are apparently considered suitable guests for a child's 6th birthday celebration).

Then - because yes, it goes on - I collected Boy #1 from another party yesterday afternoon where my outfit of tunic and jeans - perfectly acceptable clothing when you consider the former was by a (minor) designer and the latter were clean - let the British side down markedly when faced with the much-further-upmarket Russian mums attending. The birthday child's mum, for example, was sporting a turquoise and blue halter-neck maxi-dress with a plunging neckline, accessorised with an artfully tousled blonde mane, a truly splendid cleavage, and a lacy g-string displayed to maximum effect through the clinging material of her dress.

The sad thing is that I didn't even manage to get the name of her stylist because she, her husband and their friends disappeared half an hour before the scheduled end of the party without saying goodbye, leaving the clutch of children and a few less fashionable guests (like myself) watching cartoons and in the charge of the nanny and the housekeeper.

Oh well. This Is Russia, I guess...


nappy valley girl 3 May 2010 at 14:39  

Blimey, PM, you are moving in exalted circles. And I want to know more about the bear - did you EAT it?

Nothing so exciting here, although I did recently find out quite by accident that one of LB1's best friends at school is the son of the local State Senator...but an Ambassador, now really, you are spoiling us...

Iota 3 May 2010 at 15:33  

Wow, you definitely know you're not in Kansas any more.

Expat mum 3 May 2010 at 19:22  

The Russian women I've come across over here are top notch fashionistas. Naturally, I fit right in with them, (not).
But, she casually drops into the conversation, I am going to the British Consulate's pad on Thursday for an election party.

Potty Mummy 3 May 2010 at 19:25  

Go on NVG - pass the chocolates. You know you want to...

Iota, I certainly do - and also because I suspect that in Kansas they don't use concrete dust and sulphur dioxide sprayed on the rainclouds to disperse them as they do here... (Just found that one out this evening. Look out for a post on the subject sometime soon!)

EPM, invited for an election party? Now THAT is smart. And I bet you don't need to take your own pudding, either...

London City Mum 3 May 2010 at 20:48  

I love it that you noticed the lacy g-string.
Gives another dimension to the VPL.
Possibly a Russian one?


Belgravia wife - sort of 3 May 2010 at 21:31  

Come on don't try to kid me you're missing Gambado..I
just know xx

Potty Mummy 4 May 2010 at 10:22  

LCM - maybe we were supposed to notice her La Perla. Who knows?

BW, hmmm, missing Gambado's. Now THERE's a thought...

Mwa 4 May 2010 at 13:23  

Wonderful! I suppose you'll get stories aplenty living there. And I love that I get to live it a little through reading your stories.

Paradise Lost In Translation 4 May 2010 at 20:04  

We are FAR less PC & use the phrase "Only In Albania" or "Welcome to Albania". I have found sinc elivign abroad you rub shoulders much more with Ambassadors/EU/UN people , even th enegland cricket team when in Sri Lanka! & u get in situations (like with the England cricket team) when you'd never get near them in the UK! it's quite fun!

Vanessa,  28 June 2010 at 17:52  

wpw, your Russia is a far cry from mine. I don't even know anyone who has a car of their own, much less a chauffeur.

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