Greetings from Siberia, friends and family! First and foremost, let me express my sincere gratitude for the positive feedbacks I received from the previous mail. I was blown away! THANK YOUS!
Today marks my third week in Krasnoyarsk. As time goes by I have met new people, visited new places, and obviously experienced new things I would’ve never thought about. I couldn’t write last week because the school office was still closed for the holidays and still is, means no internet for me. But luckily, the school director came to my flat this morning and gave me a loaded-up prepaid USB modem. It’s not the fastest connection but I’m so glad I have 24 hours of internet access now! Fantastic, right? Apparently there’s not much happening this week either because I only spent most of the times in the flat and to be honest it’s been a pretty rough and challenging one.
Let’s start with New Year’s Eve. So a few weeks ago my flatmate J told me he met an Indonesian guy who lives 5 stops away. I was immensely in shock and absolutely starstruck! I mean WHAT ON EARTH IS AN INDONESIAN DOING HERE? (Where are you from again, Deny?). Turns out he is a student at Siberian State Technological University and has lived here for 2 years so his Russian is flawless! I got to meet him a couple of times and he invited us to a New Year’s Eve party at his friend’s. Though it wasn’t really a party because there were only five of us. Nevertheless, it went great and I made some new friends!
Thursday J took me to a Turkish restaurant called Sultan Suleiman. He probably noticed that I got tired of eating the same boring food everyday. The food was so incredible it literally made my mouth water all the time! Best meal I’ve had since the day I came here.
Friday the power went off for more than 7 hours. It was a long and bitter story. At first I was fine. I told the people from the school about it. They didn’t answer, all the messages I sent on WhatsApp were only read but never replied. I knew they were busy with things but at least they should’ve told me what to do, not just kept me hanging. As the day got dark, I completely lost control of my anger and pissoffedness. I had to wait outside because I couldn’t stay in the flat anymore. It was too dark I could barely see anything. It got colder as well so instead of waiting for nothing, I asked around for help. Surprisingly, all of the people I asked refused to help me. On top of that, I got called a racial slur. Yes, it was the first time ever someone had called me racist names in my four years of travel. Unbelievable. I was hopeless, my toes were numb and my phone was about to die in a few minutes. Then someone from the school replied at around nine o’clock in the evening, only gave me the number of the flat service, told me I should call them, and that they could only speak Russian — absolutely useless. So the only idea that came up to my mind was to call the Indonesian guy, who was out of town at that moment, and ask him to speak with the flat service. It worked! A few hours later they came and fixed the electricity and the power was back on at 11:30 pm.
That experience got me thinking that Russians are the most unsympathetic, rude people in the world. The Russian mentality is just difficult to describe and a little shabby. I don’t like the way they treat foreigners. I would love get to know the locals because that’s what I always do when I come to a foreign country. But here it’s almost impossible. I told the story to Flanna and she probably told her mum too because she reached out to me immediately. She said Siberia probably had so many scars from its political past, it had left a mark of extreme toughness that might be very difficult to break through and oppression often took generations to heal. Now I realised why they are the way they are now. People are so complex and maybe I’m just not there yet. So I’m really sorry for generalising.
Living in Siberia is definitely not easy; extreme weather, different environment, blunt people (again, based on my personal experience), and any other limitations. It is said, “Difficult roads lead to beautiful destination.” Sometimes I feel like I’ve been on a path that I thought would bring happiness, but instead I’m feeling very far from it and each and every step seems to get a lot harder. But I keep telling myself that it’s going to be worth it. It’s just amazing how I can see myself growing along the way. So if you ever find yourself in a similar situation, just keep going my friend! Remember why you started from the first place. Have a wonderful week x