|Elena and Alexey Streltsov|
Dan and I both sleep in. It is rainy out, and we scrounge around the bishop's fridge for breakfast. Dan listens to music and I transfer pictures. It's a lazy day.
Father Pavel drops by, and we go
for a stroll to the shopping center and drop in at East-West for lunch. They have a very good "business lunch" consisting of харчо, a spicy Georgian soup along the lines of vegetable-beef. There is also a main dish that resembles a Salisbury steak. Very good! I wash it down with a kind of berry juice that tastes like fruit punch.
We make our way back to the seminary/church in time for Vespers.
Afterwards, Father Alexey brings us to his home for a cozy dinner. We arrive at the Stretsovs' flat and remove our shoes at the door according to Russian custom. Fathers Dan, Alexey, and I go out into a sort-of enclosed patio for some drinks, snacks, and extremely delightful and stimulating conversation that went very well with the sausages and cheese that served as our appetizers. We discussed relationships between the SELC and the LCMS, as well as various issues faced by our respective church bodies.
We make our way to the kitchen/dining room where Alexey and Elena have souvenir coffee mugs and refrigerator magnets from their travels - including a mug from Cafe du Monde - which is a New Orleans institution. I'm struck by a sudden rush of excitement to see a bit of home sitting on the shelf, followed by a twinge of homesickness. I also ponder how small the world has become, and both mug and I have traveled halfway around the planet, as have Alexey and Elena. It is a strange feeling of distance and proximity at the same time.
Dinner consists of a small green salad with tomatoes. I don't think there was any dressing served with it - and Russians do not bathe their salads in sauce as Americans often do. There are small garnishes of tomatoes, cheese, and some pieces of spicy eggplant. There are two main dishes: fish and rabbit.
I take some of everything and it was very good.
Elena seemed pleased and remarked that I was their first American visitor who tried everything. The rabbit was very tender and tasty - as was the fish.
We finish off with ice cream. We also enjoyed a Madeira wine that looked and tasted like Tokay.
We had a relaxed and pleasant evening, and afterwards, Father Andrei showed up to bring us back to the seminary. We picked up Alexey's 13-year old son Tikhon and drove him back to the Streltsov home. I spoke a little (very little!) German with Tikhon, who is undertaking a difficult German class in school. He is a lot like his father in bearing, polite, brilliant, and attentive.
Back at the seminary, Dan and I stayed up quite late trying to copy files from a computer that only speaks Russian.
Amazingly, this is my only picture from Day 16, but it is a lovely portrait, isn't it?