A few weeks ago, Jesse turned 30! I had the great idea to give him 30 presents (because I like making a big deal out of birthdays, even if Jesse doesn't), so I planned out a bunch of presents and he got to open them all day long. Some of them were freebies like "Let's play Agricola tonight!" or "I owe you a massage," while others helped boost my numbers count (for instance, I bought him some music and counted each of the 10 songs towards the total count).
One of his presents was going to the local Pushkin museum. I've been meaning for us to go since we moved here, but we hadn't gotten around to it, so his birthday was the perfect chance! For those that aren't aware (aka most of you non-Russophiles), Alexander Pushkin was a Russian poet (who lived 1799-1837) who is today one of Russia's best-loved poets. As for Jesse, he read a lot of his work in his undergrad program and enjoyed it a lot.
From 1820 to 1823, Pushkin's military commission was changed so that he was stationed in Chisinau (and by "stationed" I mean he was actually exiled here for writings that displeased the Tsar, but they called it "stationed"). He lived on the property of some well-to-do Moldovans, and the small house where he lived has been preserved, with a separate building nearby housing the museum.
From the museum, it sounded like Pushkin spent his three years in Moldova partying, joining the free masons and writing poetry. Not a bad exile if I say so myself!
Jesse is growing his hair out right now and I am secretly hoping that his hair goal is something like Pushkin's #poethair
In the corner of the museum, I spotted this old rotary phone. I'm pretty sure it's still in use!
The museum had a lot of artifacts from his time in Moldova, including correspondence with friends and sketches and snippets of his manuscripts. It always love seeing things created or touched by historical figures--I'm so used to the stories of them that I forget that they really lived, and seeing these items makes them suddenly real for me.
The coolest thing we saw was the first draft of Pushkin's novel Eugene Onegin, which he started while in Chisinau:
Alas, kids + museums = stir-crazy kids after 20 minutes, so we cut our visit shorter than we'd have liked and headed out of the museum to check out the little house where Pushkin lived. It was small--just two rooms inside.
After the museum we headed home for more presents and celebrations, before heading out to a new restaurant for Jesse's birthday dinner, and then home again for cake after.
Jesse doesn't like big birthday celebrations (he'd rather have a Hobbit birthday where he gives presents away) but I wanted to make a big deal of this one--after all, you only leave your 20s once! I have to say, 30 really suits Jesse so far (probably because he's actually been 30 since he was 15). Happy birthday my love!