Saturday, May 24, 2014

Sentimental Summer Nights

With less than two weeks before I leave Moscow, summer has arrived with a vengeance. Each day brings three more minutes of daylight, and the streets are filled with Muscovites soaking up the fickle Russian sun. We’ve had a week-long stretch of 80°F weather, but with my summer wardrobe sitting in a closet 11 times zones away, my favorite part of the day is when things cool off in the evening.

The long-awaited Moscow sun

Last night, I met up with friends for one last dinner with Molly before she returns to the States on Tuesday. I tried to keep my nostalgia in check, but over icy Yankee Mules (Russia’s version of the Moscow Mule), I couldn’t help but reflect on how fast our time here has gone. It seems like just yesterday that the two of us were meeting up at Le Pain Quotidien on my first day in Russia, but somehow nine months have passed since then. I’m trying not to dwell on the fact that our adventures are coming to a close, and my strategy thus far has been consoling myself with the knowledge that I get to officiate Molly’s future Stanley Kubrick-themed wedding. It’s always nice to know that you’ve made the kind of friend who will let you preside over their nuptials dressed as Lolita.  Now I just need to get ordained online.

It looks like I only have four fingers, but I swear there’s a pinky in there somewhere

We finished dinner around 10pm, just as the sun dipped below the horizon and the evening technically began. Our group swelled to include more friends (and an errant Tinder addition) before dwindling until just Nastya and I remained. Not quite ready to head home, we crossed the street to Patriarch’s Ponds, a small park in the heart of Moscow. We weren’t the only ones taking advantage of the balmy night—the path was dotted with people and groups of revelers were laughing and drinking beers on the grass. I kicked off my shoes and sprawled out under the stars to wait for Moscow’s early sunrise. Dew slowly dampened my dress and mosquitoes bit my bare legs, but after months of wearing winter layers, I didn’t care. We were joined by a pair of ardent admirers from Rostov who recited poetry for us, which Nastya translated for my benefit, until we shooed them away.

Nastya and our new friends

After only seven hours of moonlight, the summer night was over all too quickly. One minute I was exclaiming over a shooting star, and the next, the sky had turned pale blue. I meandered home by daylight and collapsed into bed exhausted but happy. Moscow, it has been a wonderful nine months.

Patriarch’s Ponds at dawn

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