Blaise Nicklas
Blaise Nicklas

Ozyory Holiday


Written by Blaise Nicklas, an Edinboro University Junior

A little over two weeks ago, one of our Russian friends, Katya Belayaeva, asked all of us if we would like to spend the weekend in her hometown of Ozyory, about 100 miles southeast of Moscow. We all jumped at the opportunity to see life in a smaller Russian city outside of the capital. So on Friday afternoon, after class ended, we hopped on the metro and made our way to a station on the outer edge of Moscow. At the bus station, Katya helped us buy our tickets and soon we were on our way to Ozyory.

After a three-hour ride and a short walk, we arrived at Katya’s parents’ apartment in the late evening.

Enjoying a home-cooked Russian meal
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Enjoying another epic meal prepared by Katya’s mother during our stay in Ozyor.

There we were greeted by a delicious dinner of mashed potatoes, bread, soup, and hot tea prepared by Katya’s mother, Tanya. Because it had been a long day, we went to bed shortly after dinner. Saturday morning, we had a quick breakfast and then left to visit Katya’s former high school. We met with some of the teachers and students and introduced ourselves; we also took questions from the students. And yes, the students did have classes on Saturday. After a tour of the school, we returned to the apartment for a hot lunch of bliny (traditional Russian pancakes) and borscht. The consistently tasty meals prepared for us by Katya’s mother were a recurring theme of the weekend. Later that evening, we met Chris’s pen pal, Lydia, at a local sports park, while Katya, Aidan, and Malisa went ice-skating at the park’s ice rink. Lydia just happened to be from Ozyory, so Katya was able to help Chris finally meet her.

We spent Sunday in Kolomna, an ancient Russian city founded in 1177. There we toured the heart of the city, seeing the kremlin and several beautiful cathedrals. We learned about the history of Kolomna as a stronghold that protected Moscow from foreign attackers. The day passed quickly, and soon it was time to buy our train tickets for the return to Moscow. We thanked Katya’s parents for their hospitality and made our way to the train. The weekend in Ozyory and Kolomna was an excellent experience and we would all love to repeat it in another city during our stay. [Webmaster's Note: See the "Photo Album" link at the top right corner of this page for some pictures that include the students' trip to Kolomna. Specifically the first 18 photos in the slideshow of the Photo Album are from Kolomna.]

Also in this Issue...

  • The Alphabet Is the Easy Part by Chris Olvey
    "Russian is not always that simple.  Probably one of the most difficult grammar themes in Russian is the case system.  What is a case system?  That is what I asked in my grammar class.  In English we do not have cases, making it difficult for the English speaker to learn Russian."
  • Poor Footwear Choices Weekly by William Nelson
    "My boat shoes, which have no traction on the bottom, provide for excellent slippage, poor moisture resistance for the slush, and also have no insulation for when it’s cold. Blaise opts for a pair of Adidas sneakers, which also have the same poor characteristics of my boat shoes."
  • Please Pass the Bliny: Celebrating Maslenitsa by Aidan Lowe
    "Bliny, which are thin Russian pancakes, represent the sun and are feasted on during this week. They are served warm with a variety of toppings, including butter, sugar, sour cream, caviar, or mushrooms."

  • Issue Photographer: Chris Olvey


  • Issue Reviewer: William Nelson

Poor Footwear Choices Weekly

Written by William Nelson, a Clemson University Sophomore

William Nelson
William Nelson

Blaise and I have an ongoing joke that we should be the co-editors of a publication called “Poor Footwear Choices Weekly.” In this publication, we would highlight exactly how poor our footwear choices have been on our trips through Moscow. Both Blaise and I packed snow boots for the inclement conditions, so our troubles are not caused by a lack of appropriate footwear; we just like our shoes.  Moscow’s street environment varies depending on the weather. On cold days the ice freezes, creating slick hazards on the sidewalks.

When the weather is warm, above freezing, the area around the curbs becomes a quagmire of slush and dirt.  My favorite poor choice of footwear is a pair of boat shoes.

William Nelson knee deep in snow
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Shin deep in the snow due to another poor choice of footwear.

I have had my Sperry Top Siders for a while; they are great shoes for South Carolina, but Moscow is another story. My boat shoes, which have no traction on the bottom, provide for excellent slippage, poor moisture resistance for the slush, and also have no insulation for when it’s cold. Blaise opts for a pair of Adidas sneakers, which also have the same poor characteristics of my boat shoes. It appears that Blaise and I both value the importance of comfortable, stylish shoes much more than we value being prepared for the weather.



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