One day American women in the Russian village

Hello! My name is Shannon and I am a traveler from America. I run my blog on LiveJournal in English, however, I communicate with English-speaking readers. I traveled to Russia 4 times in the last two years, having been in different parts of the country. Today I want to tell you about a day I spent in a Russian village. With the translation into Russian I helped one of my Russian readers. We hope you enjoy this day! The day was filmed March 1, 2015.

Source: Jjournal/odin-moy-den

1. Early in the morning, I woke up at Ivanovo. Then I went to Kostroma by car.

2. On my first trip to Russia I was shocked by the depressed villages in the Central part of the country through which we passed. But this time it seemed to me that flashed a ray of hope! I spent a day and a night in a very picturesque village in the Kostroma region, met with many kind and thoughtful people and fun kids. For the most part, they are proud of their homes and their community, and one of them even invest their own money in attracting tourists, including foreigners like me.

3. In rural areas continuously meet the abandoned Church. Every trip I had to constantly remind myself that just a few decades ago, religion was not recognized by the broad masses of the population, however, today the Orthodox Church plays a very important role in society, and even in the formation of policy. I don’t think this is a positive trend, as are strict supporter of separation of Church and state power. And this, which has already become a familiar sight that greeted us at the entrance to Chukhloma district.

4. I didn’t know what was waiting for me, and at the sight of an abandoned Church I felt an unexpected sense of hopelessness. I had a premonition that I, like a few years ago, will have to see apocalyptic pictures of abandoned villages, and to be honest, I really didn’t want to go through that again. It’s very easy to adjust to depressive wave, when you are again and again confronted with similar landscapes. But a few minutes later all my fears were dispelled. On the sturdy wooden houses with colorful shutters once it became clear that the living conditions in this village is much better.

5. Basically we were in the town of Astashova, the Kingdom of the wood! If I remember correctly, the timber – based exports of this region, so many men are employed in harvesting and transporting wood, carrying huge logs to build houses in larger cities.

6. You can spend hours driving on a rural road, without meeting a single car but for a few moments we shared forest glade with this truck.

7. In this place I was lucky enough to stumble across a project on tourism in Russia! For me, the lack of tourism infrastructure is a constant cause for frustration. Not only because it makes getting around the country is extremely difficult, but also because I’m sorry that so few Western tourists go to rest in Russia. Muscovite Andrei Pavlichenko came upon an abandoned mansion in the village and decided to invest in its restoration.

8. Construction continues for three years, and he expects to finish work by next summer. Andrew is a very nice man, he studied in North Carolina and speaks English quite well. He now travels across America, exploring Utah and other Western States. The tower is planned to organize the hotel, operating on the principle of European or American bed and breakfast, the upstairs will be equipped with several guest rooms, as well as the normal showers and toilets. I promised the owner I’ll try to come next summer for the opening of the towers and be one of the first foreign guests. Unfortunately, the injured leg is still bothering me, so I couldn’t climb up a creaky wooden staircase. See how I wave my hand from the bottom in this photo? ?

9. This man is the Glory of a foreman. Tall and good-natured. He was our main contact person in the village and introduced us to many residents. He swore he did not speak English, but on his face it seemed to me that somehow he understands everything perfectly.Most likely, like many Russians, he’s just too shy to try to speak with a native speaker.

10. House of Glory there is nothing superfluous, but all very neat. A few beds, a stove, wooden benches and a kitchen table. Here it is slept four men, while I alone had spent the night in the house in the woods. I want to Express my special thanks to Glory for what he made me a hot bath, Natascha firewood and explaining how it all works.

11. For me every trip just to see how ordinary people live. Without doubt, the Russian village most of them are now extinct, inhabited mostly by old people, but these houses still have a life. My first stop was the house of Hope, a pensioner with a very tragic fate. I hope you can still see the kindness in her eyes, before ever meeting her in person.

12. This is her chapel, where she spends 5 hours a day in prayer! I don’t really understand how this is possible, but I believe her word for it. In this room once occupied by her son, who died 15 years ago. Since then, Hope dedicates every day of his religion, because, according to her, without it she would be unable to survive the loss, yielding to grief many years ago.

13. The most beautiful oven ever seen done for the trip. Flowers and patterns painted her granddaughter.

14. I noticed that almost all the houses in the village on the walls hung bunches of onions, garlic and other vegetables. It’s eat or vegetables are purely for decorative purposes? I’m not sure about this. Perhaps this kind of method of storage in a limited space kitchen. Explain me that, please!

15. One of the bedrooms with multi patterned carpet. In Russia, these carpets laid on the floor, hung on the walls and cover the furniture!

16. The main living room in the house is very spacious, filled with plants, utensils and, of course, carpets!

17. And here Nadezhda’s husband spends most of the day. He suffers from Parkinson’s disease, which causes weakness in the arms, trembling and hearing impairment. The main objective of Hope now is to take care of him, cook food, help to take the medicine and keep the company of man with whom she shared most of his life.

18. Before we left, Hope wanted to show us their medals. She brought a lot of boxes with shiny items with symbols of the Soviet Union in all sorts of variations. The conversation turned in a pretty interesting direction, and Hope said that a large part of her life, she worked as a choir Director. We heard the story of her difficult life, in which one tragic episode followed another, and her voice became zipped light notes of bitterness. She was outraged, as so it turns out that the man who all his life worked hard and deserve the number of awards remained in his old age with such a miserable pension. “Why doesn’t the government care about me?” She and her husband receive a pension of 7,000 rubles a month for two. It is not enough to provide adequate medical care for him, nor for any comfortable existence. I really wanted to Hope sang, but she flatly refused – saves his voice for sacred music and now sings only during Church services. A very religious woman. In the end she started to convince us that we must go to Church to be a believer or just pray daily at home is not enough… of course, I do not share this view, but just in case, just nodded his head. I didn’t want to waste time and energy arguing with the “grandmother”! This sport is only for the brave and strong spirit. ?

19. Stop in one of the relatively new churches led to an unexpected meeting. There I met a monk-priest. I wanted to talk to this person in order to better understand the differences between Orthodoxy, Catholicism and other branches of Christianity. The priest spoke no English, but Alexander macos kindly agreed to take on the role of the translator, and he translated not only the conversation, but all of my conversations with the villagers. We settled in and talked for about an hour, and it seemed to me that I even taught his companion a couple of things. I grew up attending a Catholic service so they were able to talk about the rite of communion in American churches about how all do a SIP of grape juice or wine from one Cup and eat of the communion bread…

I’ve always wondered what leads people to the service of the Church, and I asked him this question. He is a musician and former member of the popular Russian pop group. He said that he had no lack of attention and adoration from the fans, but it wasn’t enough. He was always searching for something more… and I found when I accidentally went to Church with a friend. After that, he left well-fed and well-established musician’s life and left in a remote monastery, planning to become a monk. From there, he has already arrived in Kostroma oblast, where he serves in the Church, which is over a hundred years. In Soviet times the Church was used as a garage at a local farm. The restoration was made possible thanks to financial support from two of his former colleagues in the music group. I can’t tell you about that person a bad word. I warned him in advance that I am not a believer, and he didn’t try to read my sermons. It was just a normal, intelligent conversation between two people. Later I found out that the priest and collects funds for repair of roads in the village, because the state does not allocate absolutely nothing for this purpose. By the way, Hope said that the priest saved her life after the death of his son. He spent a lot of time with her helped to cope with the pain, prayed with her. And now she regularly attends his Church.

20. Walking through the village, occasionally stumble upon a at home that look like they don’t belong here. To me it resembled ski resorts in Switzerland, when new buildings are clearly not fit into the surrounding rural landscape. I guess that’s home to some of the rich who come here, except that, in the summer.

21. Dirt road and the old Soviet machine. Looks almost like a toy, surrounded by snow and forest trees.

22. However, in this village was an abandoned house. I think that in the Russian hinterland, it is impossible to avoid such scenes.

23. In the village there is a cafe and restaurants, but there is a small shop. The woman behind the counter was stesnitelniy and refused to be photographed, but I convinced her after I bought some ham. Did you notice that it uses for calculations? Small calculator and my favorite scores. Well, modern scale for meats and cheeses.

24. Varied food in jars: pickles (this is my most hated food!), some fish, lots of canned food and sweets on the shelves. What’s in the jar with a pig? Some prefabricated meat?

25. In the afternoon, we met with Valentina. Another friendly woman from the village, standing in the middle of snowy forest road waiting for us! She took us to the country club, where residents spend their leisure time.

26. The club was built by local management, but on the inside it’s pretty old, has retained the Soviet spirit. For residents there is a large selection of books, movies and sometimes even theatrical performances from local actors.

27. Tonight a special presentation from the American bear. :))

28. Ah… Putin! I noticed that almost all the posters and pictures he is young and with long hair. Local seemed funny that it’s embarrassing. But for me it’s very strange, because in America, presidents are always depicted in their current form, even if they serve two terms. There are many photographers producing weekly new photos of the President with all sorts of events. Obama playing basketball in the service in the Church, drinking beer, working in the oval office… so no chance that the memory of the President has been immortalized in any form, except his current one. This can easily be seen: almost all American presidents leave your post with much more white hair than when they took over. I don’t understand why the Kremlin photographers do not update the pictures of the President?

29. Russian cowboy Eugene! He runs a club and tries to bring a sense of cohesion in the village. He told how life has changed, people have much less to communicate than ever before. “Local residents do not communicate with each other as it was before… all of the young left in the city for a more comfortable life.” I bow to Eugene for the time and effort that he spends on the maintenance of the club and organization of leisure for people living in the middle of nowhere. What would they do on winter evenings without this center? Burnt life behind the TV or behind a bottle of vodka?

30. Valentine prepared for our first night dinner at home. Mushrooms, potatoes and some kind of meat pie. Here are the foods commonly found on a Russian table, including tomatoes, cucumbers and other pickles.

31. She invited me to explore the cave, at least it looked that way. I came downstairs in a tiny room, where they found the whole treasure!

32. Such a mountain of potatoes!! That grew in the area over the summer, enough for the whole winter. Canned vegetables, fruits, mushrooms, beets. All this is familiar to me as my aunt keeps a pretty big garden and does the same workpiece at the end of each summer. However, she keeps them in her basement instead of cellar.

33. Delicious jam and tea for dessert.

34. This is Valentina’s husband. Unfortunately, I don’t know his name, he barely spoke and didn’t join us at the table. He looked deeply immersed in thought, however, I have no idea what so occupies his thoughts. I know quite a bit about Valentina, we have not talked much as with Hope. However, I would like to thank her for the delicious dinner, tea and fruit!

35. The village has a bit of youth and local school. Every time I amaze the stories about Russian children who walk to school walk 5 miles and more just to get an education. In America recently learned about the man from Detroit, who were held daily for 30 km to work. You can find it on the Internet. When the local newspaper wrote about him, the Americans immediately announced a fundraiser to buy him a car. On the first day the website attracted more than 30 000 dollars. Many times I’ve seen the boys riding their bikes behind the trucks. Apparently, the village entertainment. Even the dog joined in, rushing and barking like crazy.

36. Early evening we met with Nadia. It was neojidanno and it’s nice that she welcomed us with freshly baked bread and black salt is a special treat in this area! Every day she rises early in the morning and goes into the field to engage in the hard work, the proof of which was the earth under her fingernails. Nadya — farmer.

37. Nadia covered a wide table and all the food that it was grown directly on her land and in her garden. I think that this is a common occurrence for the house of the farmers, regardless of what country you are in. Very tasty liquid with some yellow sweet fruit, crushed on the bottom. I don’t know the name of this fruit and can not recognize him. Also on the table were three kinds of mushrooms, mashed potatoes, tomatoes, grated carrots and some kind of meat pie.

38. Traditional Russian aspic. But I could not eat it. I don’t like the food, it seems to me strange texture and unpleasant taste.

39. Last stop this evening – the village drunks. Valentine insisted that we meet with them, despite the fact that other residents doubted this. Maybe they thought it will ruin my impression of the village, but there are such people in every place on the planet, be it a village or a metropolis. There is absolutely nothing special, but when I first published a photo of the couple on Facebook and called them alcoholics, people immediately started screaming that I was being offensive. Actually, I just call a spade a spade, and Dimdimich with Anna – alcoholics. I know who are alcoholics, because my own family had a few. My grandfather was tied to the bottle of whiskey his whole life, leaving grandmother alone to care for ten children. So I do not doubt the seriousness of this disease, but people choose their own way, and can modify it too, only they and no one else.

40. My grandfather was rude and aggressive drunk, I can well remember, even as a child. But I can’t say anything similar about Dimdimich and Anna. They were charming, sweet and friendly, hospitably inviting all to his house. I don’t think they even realized I was American, or paid attention to the language that I spoke. Several times Dimdimich tried about something talk to me, completely unaware that I can’t understand a word.

41. The house was dirty, and wildly hot. I don’t understand how they manage after a night of drinking Wake up every morning in this heat and stuffiness.

42. It is evident that they were glad of the new company, to strangers, to the wide smiles… probably our visit was the event of the month. We sat, took pictures and drank one.

43. These two have been together a long time, perhaps in terrible poverty, but being very attached to each other. They are constantly hugging and kissing, and Anna periodically gave Dimdimich cuffs, playfully, angrily. It was difficult to say exactly how J In these circumstances, it is difficult to establish a normal conversation, so I can’t tell you their story. However, I think that you are easy to figure out based on my photo.

44. This day in the village was the most memorable of the entire trip. I admire the residents of this village for their many years of perseverance and persistence. Even now, sitting at my Desk and typing this text, I can vividly imagine the voices, expressions and warm emotions Valentina, Anna and Hope. Their lives are testimony to how strong the human spirit is much stronger than most of us can imagine. I am grateful to all for the hospitality, food and familiarity with a completely different, unfamiliar life.

45. After I took a bath in the Russian bath and jumped naked in the snow in a forest I spent the night in this wooden house, one with heating and a normal toilet. The next morning, I again woke up early, to move to its next goal of Vologda.

46. PS: If you know English, please leave comments in that language if possible. My Russian is terrible, but I can try to read comments in Russian and reply with the help of online translator. Come and subscribe to my blog to read other stories about Russia. Including about how I decided to spend the night in a hut in the woods. :))

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