An important part of every long-term EVS project is the on-arrival training. Ten days after arriving in Krasnoyarsk, it was already time to head off again (but not for too long!). I took the a two-day train ride to Vladimir, a historical town near Moscow. The train there was good fun, there weren’t many people for once, so despite being top bunk, I had access to a table most of the time. I read Vladimir Sorokin’s new book “Manaraga”, a dystopian novel where books are only used as fuel for cooking high-end, black market, gastronomy. In one passage that I particularly enjoyed, one of the characters asks why Japanese food is loved all over the world but Russian food isn’t. The answer is that Japanese food is open, you can see exactly what sushi is made of. Fish, and rice. You can trust it. But who can tell what is hiding inside a bowl of borsch, a plate of pelmeni or a pirozhki? Russian food is closed, and you have to be on your guards. Of course, I don’t subscribe to this, I love Russian food. Sometimes it’s probably even for the best that I can’t tell what’s inside. Continue reading
I flew into Krasnoyarsk on the seventh of September, on Friday. Today is Tuesday. I had three flight changes on the way here, so I didn’t sleep at all. Instead, I read Hans Rosling’s book Factfulness*, which I bought at the WHS Smith in Heathrow (but it is also available in all good bookshops!). It’s very good. The first day was a bit of a waking dream because of the lack of sleep, but I’m still pretty sure it happened. I still don’t have a very clear idea of what life will be like in Krasnoyarsk, so in this first blog I will just try and jot down as many first impressions and experiences as possible, and give my loyal readers and super fans (of which I’m sure there will be many), a rough idea of the geography and atmosphere of the city. Maybe it can serve as a useful canvas for future adventures. Continue reading
A couple of weeks ago we were invited by some friends to their dacha over the weekend. There, we had our first banya experience so here’s a little report of how it went: Continue reading
Last week I went to Nizhnij Novgorod for a training course for the EVS project (training which involved several volunteers, where we discussed various issues relating to the project and the volunteer’s integration in the society of the host Country from many points of view).
Coming back from “hot” Nizhnij Novgorod, I found myself again in Krasnoyarsk with an average temperature of -26°. It’s not the only surprise. On the contrary, should not even be. “Federica, you’re in Siberia. What do you expect?”
It has been more than three months that I live in Krasnoyarsk and, in the past time, I have been twice in St. Petersburg and once in Moscow. Take what follows as a personal observation, due to a variety of trips and daily life spent in the greatest Country in the world.
The first question they asked me when arrived in Krasnoyarsk: have you felt any kind of cultural shock? My answer, in general, is no. Maybe because I already lived in Russia, I know the traditions, and I know exactly what to expect and what NOT to expect. However, which are the more tangible differences?