Bring on the borsht

First day at the office after two hours of sleep.  Introduced to many people, half of whom seem to have “jon” as part of their name.  First big event is lunch, which is in classic Soviet style (or at least the style I recognized from my brief time in other Soviet republics).  Everyone in the office troops down to the kitchen in the basement..  Tea is big here – pots of hot tea line the table.  By the time I sit down, the woman who runs the kitchen is bringing over a steaming bowl of soup (actually it is the famous borsch, bright red from the beets).  The table is also filled with plates of soft bread cut into triangles, which goes particularly well with the soup.  After the soup comes the main course, which is a bowl of hot pasta with exactly five small pieces of meat on top.  It’s all food that warms you up, which I have a feeling is going to be pretty important here…

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