Keeping up with the Joneses

On Monday evening I had the chance to attend a town hall meeting at the Spaso House in the heart of downtown Moscow. On the agenda – an ex-pat security update and remarks from the U.S. Ambassador to Russia, John Tefft. Positive points of discussion included Russian-American relations (space exploration) while other points were decidedly negative (Ukraine, Syria, etc.). The Ambassador spoke eloquently, encouraged us to vote, and highlighted the importance of on-the-ground diplomacy. This last point seems especially significant. Not to go all Sarah Palin on the US news media, but I can actually see Russia from my living room, and it’s a vastly different story from the sensational cable news coverage.

I could not get enough of this beautiful chandelier. The cobalt evening light through the window complemented so well.

The decor was reminiscent of the US White House, replete with young and eager members of the diplomatic corps. Must be that Neoclassical interior design…

The Ambassador addressing an ex-pat constituent. A number of citizens in attendance have lived in Russia for decades. It was a very interesting congregation.

The Spaso House has served as the home of the US Ambassador since the time of FDR’s presidency, 1933.

This weekend will require a completely different wardrobe as I’m headed to Anton Chekhov’s Estate, Melikhovo, located approximately 2.5 hours outside of Moscow. It will be my first trip outside the city (this requires some paperwork) and I’m very excited to see another part of Russia. A group of us will help tidy the grounds for winter and then we will be treated to a picnic and tour of Chekhov’s cottage. Having read only one of his plays, The Seagull, I look forward to learning more about the man. Hoping for some sunshine as well!