No one has managed to make it to an internet cafe so far to give an update, so I'll do it. We arrived on Saturday after a three-hour delay at JFK and one lost suitcase (Liuda's--still M.I.A.). The first day was thrilling and slightly chaotic--getting installed in our aparments, dinner at Mu-Mu with Yasha, chai with Sasha, shopping at the famous Eliseevsky Gastronom. Everyone seemed tired but alert taking it all in.
Day two (Sunday) was relaxed: a morning walk to Red Square (the view of which has been significantly obstructed by the skating rink), a successful trip to the Vernisazh open air market, and a cooking class in the evening in which we made pelmeni of all kinds. We managed to lose only one person (Kolya) and only for a short time when the subway door closed before he could exit the train. A minor snafu.
We spent most of today (Monday) in the town of Borovsk an hour and a half south-west of Moscow. Some gratuitous waiting around, an informative trip to the local monastery led by the by the subtly gregarious twenty-year-old monk Yaroslav, a makeshift lunch of kasha, cabbage salad, and sausages, a doll-making workshop led by the incredible Valentina Ivanova, and a tour of the historical museum were all part of the day. People kept commenting what a wonderful, "well behaved" group we have. Truly everyone has been a sport and open to everyone and everything we meet.