We started with a birthday banana bread served with cinnamon-apple topping. Next up was opening presents, which we had been displaying for her in our otherwise-empty china cabinet. It was a little unfair for Sadie, because it looked like she had twice as many presents as she actually did, due to the fact that the back of the display area is mirrored. She got over her disappointment when she opened her tutu skirt. And her smile grew larger when she saw that we included a matching skirt for baby sister Helen. Hey, I am a big sister and I know the joys of matching with your baby sister don’t last forever.
After bundling up for the 34 degree weather we went to the zoo. We saw a polar bear (he panted as if he were hot, but maybe they always do that?), a white tiger and a snowy owl. The monkey house there is enclosed, which gave us a nice opportunity to warm up.
After the zoo we lunched at a cafe chained called “My-My,” pronounced moo-moo. It’s the kind of place where you walk through the line, pointing to what you want. It seemed ideal for us, being beginners at Russian. At the salad station we all did fine: beet salad, chicken and pineapple salad, bean salad. Then came the meats. I pointed to something that looked like a pork cutlet. The guy seemed incredulous that I would order it. I insisted. Turns out I should have heeded his hinting that I, an American, would not order that item. I looked down and saw what was unmistakably a tongue.
We decided we should only eat out at restaurants that are sit-down style and we should really bring a dictionary with us. Whew!
A few nights before her actual birthday, Sadie and I went to the ballet at the Kremlin Palace Theatre. While the ballet itself left a little to be desired, the experience and time together was priceless and felt like an ushering of Sadie into official Big-Girl-World. Happy Birthday, Sadie!