|Courtney in front of the Dacha|
This weekend was one of our less structured ones; it was more about relaxing and experiencing rural life in Russia than about going to a lot of places and doing a lot of things, so I'm going to make one blog post detailing the highlights of the weekend.
|Ehtna doing some manual labor|
|The neighborhood kids! Prokhor|
on the left
He is also a very talented man; one of the two masterclasses we got to participate in this weekend was in woodcarving, which is his favorite hobby. The little dacha was decorated all over with carvings of various animals and people, and we, along with a bunch of the children from the neighborhood, all got to sand and paint some kind of pre-made sculpture (mine was a rooster). It was the second time we got to be creative that weekend; on Friday one of our first activities was a master class in toy making, in which we made a little clay chicken that whistles. We were all very skeptical as to whether we could actually get our creations to make sound, but with time (and a lot of help from the teacher) we ended up with a little chorus of toy roosters. These classes played into a big theme of rural life in Russia, which is making things by hand: we also got to talk with a woman who makes much of her own clothing and sells her knitting at fairs, and a woman, Masha, who taught us how to make thread from wool.
|Clay chicken before|
|Clay chicken after|
|The babushka we got to speak with|
A final great thing about this weekend was all the time we got to spend together as a group. Like I said, we had to cook all of our meals and wash all the dishes by hand, and as such ended up working as a team quite a bit. We also got to end both nights just sitting and laughing and talking in the girls room, which was a blast. I'm really happy to have gotten such a great, easy-to-get-along-with group of people to go on this trip with.