Hello everyone! Yes, I did. I can’t believe I survived my first week in Krasnoyarsk. It is SUPER COLD and a bit lonely here. There are so many things I want to tell!
The city of Krasnoyarsk is located in the heart of Siberia region, Russia Federation. I arrived here Sunday morning last week with twenty-hour layover in Beijing. Speaking of Beijing, I got to meet my two friends V and D again! I met them about two months ago, also in Beijing. V is a former Jakarta Sister City delegate and currently a student at 北京大学. She’s nice and fun. And J, he was one of the local volunteers at Beijing Sister City Youth Camp 2016 in which I participated, and happens to be one of my best friends now! He’s a really great guy!
He took us to the Summer Palace and asked his roommate who’s studying Tourism to be our personal tour guide. He doesn’t have any English so D became our interpreter… Absolutely brilliant! Well, V didn’t really need one since she speaks fluent Chinese. I’ve been learning Chinese these past weeks too but it is no way near her fluency as she’s been studying the language for years! I also find Chinese culture quite interesting. Although the pollution level was very high that day it didn’t stop us. We travelled from one place to another with underground trains (or if you’re American, ‘subway’). It‘s great and cheap, and HUGE! They have around 14 lines so if you’re a first timer, always carry a map or you’ll probably get lost! We talked about a lot of weird stuff, had lunch and dinner together. Then I went back to the airport and departed for Krasnoyarsk.
First day in Krasno, I just stayed in bed and tried to get some sleep. My flatmate J is pretty cool. He’s from Bradford but has an Australian passport as well. He helped me a lot with getting along and everything.
Tuesday my first day of work. They school sent me to Divnogorsk, a nearby town located 40 km away, all by myself. I mean I’ve been here barely for a week, speak no Russian at all. CRAZY! So on my way back to Krasno, I rang J and asked for directions. Luckily I got back safely and to be honest it was all miraculous. The students in Divnogorsk were a bit quiet. I didn’t know Russians are shy when it comes to speaking a foreign language. I’ve only had one meeting with a student in the main office so I can’t make a comparison just yet. Also, I was quite surprised that they’re very superstitious! Divnogorsk is a beautiful town though. There is river, hills, forest, all in one package. Might come back again when it’s not too cold.
Saturday the temperature hit -40 degrees and yes, it was effin FREEZING. We went to Planeta. It’s a popular shopping mall. I’ve been eating in cafes and restaurants and it cost a fortune so I decided to cook. Groceries are much cheaper here! I spent 700 rubles or around 10 euros for three bags full of groceries. I got lost on my way back home because it was way too dark and spent an hour in the cold. My lungs got frozen, I had trouble breathing and almost choked to death. To make it even worse, my hands hurt so bad! It was the most intense pain I’ve felt my whole life! Feels like getting your hands and your fingers caught and sandwiched in a closing door so I fell over right before the flat door. I really thought I was going to die, seriously. And the pain, it lasted for about half an hour. Worst 30 minutes in my life. Most of the eggs I bought from the supermarket cracked. But don’t worry, mum, I’m fine now. Meanwhile, J plunged himself into the freezing Yenisei river and posted the video on Facebook. Oh, I’m loving Siberia.
Anyways, happy holidays everyone! This holiday season is a perfect time to reflect on our blessings and seek out ways to make life better for those around us. I’ve been thinking about yous all the time!