Saturday, December 12, 2009

Field trip!

For Russian history, Jaan and I read a short section from our book, and then we look up the person who was featured in it on Wikipedia to see some pictures. Last week, we read about Svyatoslav. You should have seen how big Jaan's eyes were, when I read that Svyatoslav actually died right near here! When we looked him up, we saw that there's a monument to Svyatoslav in Zaporozhe, the closest big city. So, we decided that we needed to take a field trip to see it. And yesterday we did that. It took us a while to find the park, but as we approached we could see the monument from a long way off. Jaan took the camera and ran ahead, to get a picture by himself.

Jaan's photo

In front of the monument(Our friend, Oksana, went with us.)

When Will and I were looking up the park online the night before, we saw a headline about rats there, but we didn't really notice it. Then, yesterday, soon after we found the statue of Svyatoslav, I saw something huge, with a long tail, moving among the rocks along the shore of the duck pond. I went over to look, and saw bunches of rats. (See the one peeking out, in the photo above?) Will, the rat expert, entertained us by "talking" to them. He would squeak, and they would gather. But what was the creature I had seen?

A muskrat!
The regular rats were gross, but the muskrat was fascinating! We finally saw it swimming around and got a good look, after I had already convinced myself that I had just imagined my giant rat. Asya kept calling it a cat, and she's still talking about her "water kitty." We watched it swimming along the surface of the water (like the rats ), but when we startled it, we could see it go underwater and swim like a torpedo.

We finally had a late, yummy lunch in a restaurant. Everyone was starving and frozen and exhausted by the time we got there, but we quickly revived. For Asya and Raia, the restaurant was the highlight of the day. I had really miscalculated on how many snacks we would need, and how long it would take us to find Svyatoslav. I didn't know how big Zaporozhe really is!

After lunch we made one more stop at an English bookstore, and then we caught a bus home. Raia and Asya were sound asleep before we even got out of the city. Jaan lasted only a little longer. It was a long, fun, full day.


Baba Julie said...

Oh, Wow! I thought the MUSKRAT was the RAT and I freaked out!! How fascinating!! And, you say the real rats SWIM??? I had no idea!!! (I guess they don't need to do that here!) The one in the rocks looked normal. Did they really come out when Will squeaked???? What an adventure!!! Love y'all!!

Mom said...

For making history come alive to your children, I salute you! Thank you for sharing your adventures with us.

Much love....

Anna said...

Mom, we have Nutrea(sp?) in NC, particularly on the Outer Banks. They're HUGE members of the rat family and they spend lots of time swimming on the sound.