So two totally unrelated topics for this particular blog...at least for the moment. You shall see dear reader, you shall see.
First and foremost, I went and saw the Buddhist temple here in Elista (though I did not yet have a chance go in). It's an extremely beautiful temple and extremely out of place. As I wandered the grounds, I had to keep reminding myself that I was, in fact, still in Russia. I find it especially interesting to see such a thing in Russia when the USSR, as an atheistic state, was so completely oppressive towards religion (though this was generally towards Russian Orthodoxy and Judaism and Buddhism isn't technically a religion, but philosophy - but I digress).
Anyways, it is one of the more nicely kept places I've seen in the two times I've been to Russia and I am extremely to go inside (this weekend - whooo!) and a place I can see myself going quite often. I've always been quite curious about Buddhism and this would be a great opportunity to learn more and to practice speaking Russian as well.
As far as cooking goes, I had my first experience cooking in my dorm...finally. I finally acquired all the necessary (well, almost) pieces needed to actually cook a meal. This includes not just the food, but I had to find a pot or two and some pans, some silverware, a knife and some matches. Not to the mention the daunting task of buying meat at a Russian market, something I'd be quite terrified to do in English as I have no idea what I'm doing.
Well after assembling my team and buying the necessary food stuffs, I proceeded to cook. I was a little nervous for some reason and almost managed to forget how to make simple pasta, but luckily I was awake enough to realize I was doing something wrong. I managed to make some penne and when this was done, I started with the mean. Perhaps I should first say that I was simply trying to make some sort of spaghetti-pasta-esque type dish, really really really simple. I have no idea what kind of meat I purchased. They told me, but I didn't know the word, but it seemed to have the same look and texture of hamburger so I figured what the hell. Anyways, the meat proved more of a challenge because the burner it was on kept going out, which is extremely frustrating, though I managed to finish it and cook it al the way through...at least I think, I'm not sick yet so that has to count for something.
Next I added my "sauce", which due to an error of not reading the Russian label was not tomato/spaghetti sauce, but rather a tomato sauce with ginormous chunks of read and green peppers that actually tasted much more like salsa than spaghetti sauce. At this point, however, I didn't much care and threw it in anyways. By the time it was all said and done, what I ended up with was what I like to call my "Mexican Mystery Meat Macaroni" (even though it wasn't macaroni, it has a nice ring to it). I have to admit that it didn't taste half bad, though it needed a few other garnishes which I didn't have (onion, salt/pepper, some oregano, etc), but it was sustenance and sustenance that I had created myself. I think it's safe to say that I was pretty happy both that I had made it and that it didn't kill me!
Now, you may think to yourself, Buddhism and Mexican Mystery Meat Macaroni are completely unrelated and in most respects they are, but I intend on combining the two, well more Buddhism and cooking as opposed to Mx4. I've been finding myself quite stressed while here, unfortunately, but this is due to a serious language deficiency on my part as well as my university stretching me quite thin on things they'd like to do with me. As it is, I've decided to take Buddhism into the kitchen. No, this doesn't mean that I'm going to become a vegetarian, but rather try to go into cooking with a peaceful mind since cooking here is a bit stressful due to lack of tools, lack of space and lack of options. So I'm hoping after a full-on visit to the Buddhist Temple and perhaps a little meditation, I can cook in peace and hopefully cook well.
Until next time Dear Readers...