On The Train Again

Not many opportunities for blogging presented themselves in Ulan-Ude. We shared the apartment with 9 (on average) others and from morning to night it was beehive-like busyness.

Our highlights in Ulan-Ude were many. We especially enjoyed the family time. It was probably the best time with them so far in our married life. We celebrated Maya's dad's birthday with a large dinner and a rare family reunion of sorts. It will probably be years before we will all be in the same place like that again.

We left on Tuesday for Chita, and arrived there yesterday morning. In all, we spent only 8 hours there before boarding this train to head back west.

In Chita we visited with Maya's grandmother (the one who suffered a stroke last year). For someone who the doctors said would only survive days after her stroke, she is in amazingly good condition. She still cannot walk, but her speech skills returned and she remembered us well. I sat with her for two hours and listened to amazing stories about life here during and after WWII. She shared her experiences during famines and other calamities. She also mentioned the Japanese soldiers who were required to work in Chita after WWII. Steve commented about that in my last post.

She was born in 1917, so she does not remember the revolution, but she remembers Lenin's death, the terror of Stalin, and the horrors and lingering hardships of WWII.

She is an amazing woman. She bore and raised 9 children (she has over 20 great grandchildren already). When we left, she presented us all with small gifts and blessed us. I am so glad that we could make the trip to Chita to see her.

We just passed Irkutsk. We arrive home on Saturday. This train is nice and clean, and there is another family travelling and their kids and ours can play, which adds a lot to bored children.

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