On the way back from Pyatigorsk to St. Petersburg, Cavin and I were bunk mates. The four bunks across from us were shared by four members of a family. They were quite friendly and eager to practice their English with us. Cavin especially got to know them, playing games with them and trying to understand the Russian children stories. They were traveling north to St. Pete's for their son's wedding, and the day we arrived in the city was the father's birthday. They taught us the Russian birthday song and we held hands singing it. It was just so sweet.
Earlier on the train, I was talking with one of the girls in our group about oranges. She was reminiscing about a summer with her family where they had tons and tons of oranges. She said that her dad peeled them like a whiz. She had an orange with her, but didn't want to try and eat it on the train; it would be too messy. I could sympathize with this. For some reason, it was not until college that I was able to master the peeling of an orange. My dad has always loved oranges and if I asked nicely, he would often peel an orange for me taking a slice for his labor, a "food tax" as mom called it.
As we played Russian card games with the family on the train, only a few hours left on the journey, the father peeled an orange and a grapefruit. He graciously shared the juicy citruses with us. It was such a sweet picture of kindness and simple generosity, a little thing meant that so much!