Saturday, June 8, 2013

So this is Russian village life

Saturday many of the kids had parents coming to visit, so instead of taking our day off on Sunday, I decided that we would just switch that up this week.  After breakfast I was off on a little free day adventure of my own.  Tennis shoes on my feet, backpack on my back, and a smile on my face I headed out! The first part of the adventure involved walking the length of the road dirt path which leads to the camp. That in itself took about 15 minutes.  At the main road I took a right, the supposed direction of the nearest train station.  Once I was on the main road it only took about another 20 minutes to walk to the train station, but it was one of the stranger walks I’ve taken. I think it felt strange because in the US it isn’t so common for a young lady to be walking along the highway in the tiny bit of dirt which makes up the road’s shoulder.  Here, however, it is completely normal and I came across several other walkers, a few bikers, and a funny old man on a motorized scooter.  Once I got to the train station I went into the small building which serves as the waiting hall and ticket office and got some information about tickets to and from Petersburg.  The lady at the ticket counter was surprisingly kind to me.  Unfortunately the lady at the small convenience store by the station wasn’t quite so friendly, but I got my ice cream and bottle of water and scurried on out of there unscathed.  The next stop on my adventure was the small little village Победа “Victory” and the supermarket I was told I could find there.  Победа is the in the opposite direction of the camp from the station, so I was prepared for a rather long walk.  Hardly had I started out on the main road, however, when someone called out, “Победа?”.  I turned to see a man in a small SUV on the other side of the road (because I was walking against traffic like a good little pedestrian).  “Да,” I responded a little hesitantly, but all the same waited for the traffic to clear, crossed the road, and climbed into the front passenger’s seat of his car.  “I know almost everyone around here and you don’t look familiar,” he said once I had told him where I was headed.  I gave a small laugh and told him that I definitely wasn’t a local.  “Ah, so you must be from Petersburg?”  You can imagine his surprise when I told him that I was from America.  “I’m working as at the children’s camp here,” I told him, to which I got the typical response that always amuses me, “What? There’s no work in America?” I explained that it was just a summer “praktika” teaching English.  Except for maybe the younger generation, few people in Russia can understand why anyone would go so far away to work unless there was no work to be had at home.  Then, just like that, I was being invited to come to his house as a guest.  He explained to me which house it was by the station and told me that anytime I’m around I should just stop on by.  To be polite, I neither accepted nor declined the invitation, but tucked into my memory his description of his house.  Who knows?  There’s still 8 weeks of summer left here and anything could happen.  There’s probably a nice old babushka also living in that house who would stuff me to the brim with her delicious babushka cooking, worry about my “organism”, pester me as to why I’m not married, and then send me home with food as if I hadn’t just eaten enough for a week. And I’m sure by the time I’m writing this the entire village has already caught word that there is an American in the near ;)

Victor (my new acquaintance) drove me right up to the supermarket and I thanked him for being so kind as to pick me up and drive me there.  The supermarket itself was a bit of a madhouse.  There was hardly enough room for all of the products in that little building, let alone for all of the people in there doing their weekend shopping.  Everyone in the supermarket seemed to know everyone else and I got quite a few stares.  I’m not sure if they were “who’s the outside?” stares or just the typical Russian people stares.  Anyhow, I bought a little of this and a little of that, did a lap around the village, and then headed back to camp.  It only ended up taking about 20 minutes to walk from the supermarket to the road leading to camp, so I was back home in not too long at all.  The rest of my day was pretty quiet and relaxing and I got several lessons planned for the coming week.  It’s so nice to be able to enjoy the slow pace of life here in the middle of nowhere.  Yes,  I am quite busy on teaching days, but even on those days there is always a moment to sit on a bench in the sun, take a long walk, or sit on a bench in the sun.  And I wouldn’t have it any other way J

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