I’ve been in Volgograd, Russia for just over three weeks now. I try to take pictures of special things I see, but sometimes it would be tasteless for me to whip out my iPhone and start snapping away (like when I see cute old ladies or toddlers). Some things are better remembered and related in a list.
Here is that list.
1. Food. Although I do miss peanut butter, I’m not going hungry here. (; I have to prepare all of my own meals, and I’ve been trying something new every couple of days. I’m wild about the dairy products here: sour cream, cottage cheese, kefir, milk, cirok, yogurt… It’s all so rich!
2. Older Russian ladies. There are a lot of grandmas here with hands like roots of a tree, knotty and strong. I admire them from afar… since, you know, I don’t actually have a reason to bother them with stammered, broken Russian.
3. On the flip side: Russian toddlers. One day, I wound up in a waiting room with a tiny Russian lad. He had a scab on his nose.
Helloo! I said, and he mimicked me: Hell-ooo! So cute. I wonder if he knows “hello” in English, or if he’s just a really good mimic
I asked him about the scab on his nose. He touched it as if he’d forgotten it was there; then he told me an incoherent story in his adorable baby-drawl. To be honest, I’m not very good with kids, but I love trying to talk to them here in Russia. (Probably because they speak only a little bit better than me.)
4. Public transport. None of that ‘more than $100/month’ nonsense that is car ownership.
5. People selling produce they grew at their dachas, their summer cottages. It feels good dealing directly with the people who grew the food I’m buying! And they’re much more patient and kind than store clerks.
6. Healthy regionalism. Volgograd just celebrated its 425th birthday! Everyone I’ve met has expressed love for their city without any ethnocentrism.
7. Russian women. They’re just gorgeous. I love to see their beautiful clothes and hair styles, and being surrounded by a million perfect figures is (hopefully) helping me keep my own figure in check. Peer pressure can be positive.
8. Exploring. I love walking, and there are enough streets and paths here for me to pick a new route whenever I want.
9. Learning the language. Immersion is the way to go!
And finally, the big one:
10. Mama Russia. There is a statue called “The Motherland Calls,” and it is right across the street from my dorm. It is colossal and it is glorious. I’ve been dreaming about visiting this monument for a long time, and to be able to see her standing tall on the other side of the street– just, wow. It’s better than I’d dreamed. FOR THE GLORY OF RUSSIA!