Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Russian Retrospective...not really

So, going through this blog, I realized there was a lot of negativity towards Russia.  And I was called out on that once.

The fact is, I love Russia.  And I think if you ask a lot of people Why they love Russia, they will give you things that coincide with my rants.  People that "love" Russia, love a challenge.  The frail can't cut it.  So you have to have a bit of a hard exterior to survive, to find humour, and to enjoy.

And I want to try to list the things that I love about Russia (what little I've come to be acquainted with), that I don't just love because it makes it challenging to live there or get on with it's peoples.

1)  The architecture.  Need I say more?  Being in St. Petersburg is like being *inside* of a wedding cake.  Ok, that's not quite right, because inside a wedding cake is spongy and dark.  Ok, like being an ant in a bakery.

2)  I love the light extremes in the North.  2 weeks of darkness in the winter, 2 weeks of daylight in the summer.  It's thought that this directly influences the Russian personality.  Cold at first, but once in their home, they'd give you anything.

3)  Stroganoff.  'Nuff said.

4)  Subversive literature.

5)  A history of excellent film

I gotta say I'm stuck here.  But I came up with more than I thought I would.

People often ask me if I would go back to Russia, and I immediately say yes.  And often they respond with an incredulous "Why?!" burdened with only their preconceived thoughts, not my own.

Remnants of the Cold War?  Maybe.  I think they're just weak, or maybe just need a little horizon broadening.

I recently had a Russian ask to read my blog.  He found it thoroughly amusing.  He reckons that if I am going to bother trying to live in the country and study the language, I must be...well crazy.  But I must really like the place.  Can't say the same for all the Russians, but I appreciate...his appreciation.


Michael Arrowood said...

Dachas. Banyas. Hours spent around kitchen tables. Poetry. Pretty girls who *like* being noticed. Smoked fish. Drunken philosophical discussions. Sharing tea with strangers on a train. Ballet. The smells inside a grocery store. The smells of the subway. Eating ice cream in mid-winter on Nevskiy Prospekt. Golden birch trees. Onion domes. Candles and incense. Old ladies in black. Sour cream. Art. Vodka. Bread.

Traveling Ciguapa said...

Dachas and Banyas I'll give you.

My hours around the kitchen table were mostly awkward, as you'll remember.

I'm not a huge fan of poetry and wouldn't get the nuance anyway.

The girls there make outside girls miserable, as you can never live up to that standard.

The fish, ugh. I don't need to see dried fish on the counter when I order a beer.

THE SMELL IN THE SUBWAY?!?!!? You mean of rank beer and garlic?

Ice Cream in Winter is good.

I found the trees haunting, but in a nice way.

Onion domes fall under architecture.

I do like to watch the old ladies putter about and talk to each other.

Sour's kind of cancelled out by the endless supplies of mayonnaise.

Art, eh.

(little known secret, I don't even like vodka!)

But the cabbage pierogies in Smolny! I could go back just for that!