Saturday, January 26, 2013

A Day With Julia

Cathedral of Christ the Savior
Today we checked out of our hotel, put our bags in storage there and headed out with Julia for the afternoon.  She picked us up and took us to the amazingly beautiful Cathedral of Christ the Savior.  All I can say is wow.  The cathedral is huge outside, but once you enter you get the real sense of how big the place is.  Unfortunately I couldn't take any photos of the inside, as they are understandably not allowed, but it is like nothing I have ever seen.  I pulled these photos of it off the internet so you could see the inside:

 And here is an ariel photo so you can get an idea of how big it is:

This cathedral is the tallest in the world, at 344 feet tall!

Some more of my photos:

I love that these huge Christmas trees are still up all around the city.  Each one is decorated so uniquely. I loved the angels on this one outside the cathedral.

The cathedral was originally consecrated in 1883.  A year earlier Tchaikovsky's 1812 overture debuted there!  But in 1931, the cathedral was destroyed under the USSR's campaign of atheism.  

Can you imagine what it must have been like to watch the systematic destruction of all churches in Russia?  So sad.
After the death of Lenin, Stalin had plans to build a monument to himself and socialism there, but his plans were always thwarted. After perestroika, the Russian Orthodox church got permission the rebuild the cathedral, so in the 1990's they did just that, building it exactly as it was before.  Looking at it today, you would never know it was only built so recently.  What an amazing feat.  

After we visited the Cathedral, we headed across the street to the famous Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts.  This is the most famous museum in Moscow, with hundreds of pieces of famous art, sculptures and artifacts from all over the world.  It was very interesting!

There were lots of school children visiting the Museum today.
Again, we weren't allowed to take photos, but I pulled these from the internet to give you an idea.  

Art aficionados will know this one better than I, but the placard said this was the God of the Rivers.  It's hard to see, but the children were playing with river otters and crocodiles!

In the Egyptian area, there were sarcophagus's and mummies and many artifacts.  Those tall human/horse statues by that doorway had five legs, to show that they were very powerful and could catch anyone quickly.  There are now two of them there, one on each side of the entrance, and it was thought that they could read your mind when you passed between them.  
There were many Greek artifacts as well.  This is a plaster cast of Michelangelo's David.
What a great day filled with culture!  

An art museum acros from Pushkin.  A famous artist who paints photos of political leaders and famous people in Russia has his own exhibit here.  
Julia invited us to her home to have dinner with her.  We were so grateful.  She made us a delicious soup, salad and chicken curry with rice and vegetables.  I loved that in her kitchen hung mugs from the many countries and cities she has visited so far.  Julia travels often because of her job, and has been fortunate to see much of the world.  
These are only some of the mugs!
We had great conversations over dinner, and I found out that Julia has been visiting and helping older orphans in many ways.  She gave credit to Olga for introducing her to these children.  She is such a generous person, with a giving and compassionate heart.  We felt so blessed to get to know her a little better and to be invited to her home.  The only thing that was missing was Olga herself, but she has been very sick and has had to stay home to get well.  

Soon it was time to head back to the hotel, where Sally was going to meet us to take us to her house (which she calls our "base of operations"!)  On the way we passed the last statue that was built as a monument to Lenin.  

I think I remember seeing photos of this very monument in my AP World History class in High School.  If I had only know that I would one day visit this city and see this for myself, I think I would have paid closer attention!  
 We also passed this statue of the first Russian to go to space:

Jake, doesn't this remind you of Ironman?!

Can you believe this is my life right now?  I feel like I am living a second life.  Suddenly I have no children with me, I am with a dear friend and we are laughing like we're college roommates.  We are exploring one of the most historical cities in Europe.  What is going on??!  This almost feels like an out-of-body experience.

On the adoption, we have no real new news since it's the weekend.  The next thing will be to go to court most likely on the 4th, to hear the panel of judges decide whether to overturn our judge's ruling from last week that didn't allow us to get our decrees.  We still don't understand why they even need to hold this hearing because the Supreme Court has already told them they must turn custody of our children over to us, their adoptive parents.  But we will play their game and do whatever it takes.  In the mean time, we will do some sight-seeing and laugh like college roommates because if we stop to think about this whole situation for too long we will just cry!  

Thank you to all those at home who are taking care of my babies there and my husband :-)  I know there are many helping that I'm not even aware of, so please know that I am so grateful to you for the ways you are being my hands and feet when I can't be there.  I always choke up just thinking about it.  Thank you.


  1. Reading your blog posts from the last few days, I couldn't help but think that all these experiences would not have happened if all went as planned. But now you have experiences and direct knowledge of the culture, people and area where Gabe is from. You have a been given, in a huge way, a magnificent gift to be able to understand, and later, teach your children about the amazing country of Russia and city of Moscow. Treasure these moments and remember all you can to share with Gabe and your other children when the time comes!

    We love and continue to pray for you and Gabe and your safe return.

  2. What a BEAUTIFUL cathedral! So sorry you have to be away from your family for so long, but what a wonderful blessing to get to see all of these things! My husband would LOVE to visit there one day! Thank you for sharing your story! We are praying for you in Utah!