So, I’m not quite sure for how long I’ve neglected this blog, well over a month I’m guessing. Guess I’d better crack on.
January 17th was Epiphany Day here in Russia, and this means only one thing here…People cutting out holes in the ice and dunking themselves in the freezing water (around -40) three times, all in the name of religion. Honestly it was the most ridiculous thing I’d ever seen, though this didn’t stop some of the foreigners giving it a go! I, on the other hand, chose to keep myself dry and hold people’s towels..Seemed like the most sane option.
After this event, I found out that Nadya wouldn’t be transferring to my university (i.e. Novosibirsk State), due to the uni suddenly doing a u-turn. This basically means that I’m trying to go to Tomsk as often as I can, whilst she will try to come here as often as she can. It’s not the greatest set-up in the world, but we do talk on vkontakte most of the time. That’s all going fine, by the way.
So, next up on the agenda is the Russian youth’s obsession with British culture. This caught me by surprise, because I didn’t quite realise the extent of it.
In Russia, they have a ‘student’s day’, celebrated on every January 25th. Anyway, to celebrate their own day, they chose to have a ‘Sherlock Holmes’ themed night, which basically broadened out to a generally UK night. This was great for me and Josh, as free entry was practically guaranteed. I’ll be honest, with the clock counting down to heading back home, I’ve suddenly realised that I’ve got to get my head down and learn as much Russian as possible before heading back to England. This means that going out has become a rarity here. Anyway, the night was full of loads of gimmicky features of London and goodness knows how many spelling mistakes and misconceptions, though I’ll admit that the Beatles tribute band was not actually that bad.
Continuing along the ‘British’ theme, the leader of International Club requested that Josh and I should create a presentation about the UK. We were never really sure what to do for this presentation, so ended up trying to dispel myths and misconceptions about the British people. I wasn’t really expecting many people at all to be honest, the usual turnout for this kind of thing averages around 6-12 people. However, when we got there, there were no less than 25 people there, some kind of record…Although I think some people considered it to be some form of English lesson (we didn’t yield and kept on battling away in Russian for the duration of the presentation), and there was this one guy who claimed, having been to the UK ‘more than ten times’ (he probably repeated this fact more than ten times), he therefore knew everything that there was to know about the UK, and even queried some of our views about the UK, and gave us a stern telling off for not including the ‘beautiful mountains of Wales’, despite the fact that the topic of the presentation has sweet FA to do with bumpy landscapes. Incidentally, we saw this guy coming out the post office a couple of weeks later, and did our best to avoid him, so as not to get into this discussion again. He looks about 50, so god knows what he was doing at a University society in the first place beggars belief.
In other news, Josh and I have started a new, healthy regime, where we go to the gym almost every day, and are eating healthily at the same time, so hopefully that’ll help out the chances of being selected for the Grosse Mannschaft 4th year 5-a-side team next year.
I’ve been doing some translations for the environmental agency here, and now have an accreditation in a published magazine as a translator! I’ll stick the link somewhere in the post, though I must warn you, it’s not exactly a light read (though if you do have an opinion as to how birds should be classified, then feel free to have a butcher’s).
The last thing I shall add is the weather. Since the last post, we’ve got down to -40 here, and frankly, no one gave a crap. In comparison to last year, it’s been a pretty mild winter, and people just carried on their daily routine. Obviously it’s helpful to have thermals and a decent coat in those conditions, but I think it just puts into perspective that, when the UK gets a centimetre of snow, everyone panics and the country comes to a standstill, and when it goes down to -6 in the UK, everyone decides that it’s not safe to walk on the street, whereas here life goes on without the bat of an eyelid. Though, I think now it’s safe to say that I’m rather looking forward to the middle of next month when the snow starts to melt and I can see grass again. I need a bit of colour back in my life!
So that’s it. Hopefully it won’t be as long until I do another one of these, but depends how busy I am, now that we’re coming to the business end of the year abroad. Over and out.