August 12 - Penza

Pancakes for breakfast!

We take more boxes to recycling

Mom suspects the lady is cheating us

We weigh one box ourselves and bring it to her

She’s not cheating

Guy shows up to install internet

We hook up a new router and everything works!

I finally book St. Petersburg and Amsterdam Airbnbs

Tonight is our last night in Penza and we are going to Romanovs’ summerhouse

Mom and I pick up some fruit, tomatoes, and dill

Since everyone can’t fit in the same car, they have to do two trips (~45 min one way)

Pasha picks us up with Anya in the car

He’s so serious and barely smiles

Anya and I chat in the car and mom and Pasha talk separately

Road is really bumpy

Grateful to tears to be there

Their summer house is a hodgepodge of scrap materials

Including our old front door

Our number still hangs on it — 38

Pasha’s 6 year old kid (Ruslan) gives me a tour of the attic

It's a huge mess and there are birds living in it, but this kid is so stoked about it. I feel like there's a lesson to be learned from Ruslan here.

Sit and chat with Pasha’s wife and kids

Pasha grills marinated meat

Dinner is delicious: new boiled potatoes with butter, meat, eggplant, vegetables

At dusk, we all pile into a VW Jetta (6 adults, a 6 year old, and a baby) to drive 10 minutes to a lake

Jump from the dock

Floating on still water watching a new moon rising

Pure bliss

Poke my head out of the water to find out that Ruslan took a shit on the dock

Everyone is running around trying to clean it up

Ready to get out, but the smell of shit approaching the dock makes me gag

I barely pull myself out of the water on another part of the dock

Mosquitos are eating me alive while I scramble to put clothes on

We pile back in and go back to the summerhouse for tea

Ruslan passes out and everyone is finally able to laugh at the whole ridiculous situation

We play Taboo but in Russian

Unsurprisingly I’m terrible at it

Around 11, we drive back to Penza, but only 5 adults, a sleeping 6 year old and baby this time

Car seats who?