Archive for the ‘russia’ Category

International pants

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

Garbage, does it really get the appreciation it deserves? Probably not, but this weekend it was pointed out to me that garbage can actually be surfed.

I was at a dress-up party, sporting a casual but fitted navy blue overall, a worker’s blue shirt knotted shut, Mongolian desert boots lined with goat hair and of course a handkerchief around my head, the theme of the party being ‘the 46th International’ and all.

It was the biggest congregation of inhabitants of the Soviet Union in history, with represenatives coming from everywhere, from Vladivastok to Baku to Minsk to Novaya Zemlya. Hammers and sickels everywhere, pumped up gymnasts conversing with field labourers, and then, when nobody was expecting it, there it was. It had come all the over from Stalin’s datsja to celebrate wodka and gherkins and Russian eggs with us: snow.

And as if this wasn’t enough, I met a guy wearing nothing but fancy international pants (latex ones) and glasses who introduced himself as Tomoe and who said that people tended to think he was a little crazy, for instance when he decided one day to bike from one side of Canada to the other side (if I remember correctly, I mean it was still a party).

He was not crazy at all. And he and two other people, who were also at the 46th International that night, had made a musical documentary that premiered the next Sunday at the idfa! I was quite stunned, and asked him all about it, but as I look back I think I only really asked him about film making in general and not really his film in particular which could be interpreted as rude, but I was planning on seeing the film so I didn’t want to know too much about it. Read about it through the above link, which I will now give again.

But still, he was very helpful in explaining cinematography to me. He drew a schedule on his stomach to illustrate what is called ‘the rule of thirds’ and some basics for shooting a dialogue or just a scene with two people. So now that I know just a little more than nothing about making films, I want to make films too. Especially when I think about what one of Holland’s greatest film makers (Alex van Warmerdam) said about his first time on a movie set. He was really relieved because it turned out that the director really doesn’t have to know all about operating a camera or handling lighting or how the movie is going to be edited later.

“When I found out about that, I thought ‘Man, even I can be a director then!’.”

Earlier that night I had also been introduced to the basics of a neuroscientific experiment. The fact that I was immediately intrigued by this as well and started questioning whether I had done the right thing not choosing a career in exact sciences, doesn’t mean I have a split personality at all. The conclusion that should be taken from all this is that am addicted to learning new things. Nothing less and nothing more.


Sunday, August 31st, 2008

So I’m а little unemployed… So I have no real clue what the year is going to look like, and how I’m going to manage being accepted into art school next time. I don’t feel bad at all.

The job ended with a bang, the busiest week since I started working there. We had Russian Couchsurfers over at the same time, and the weekend was a camping party with games (which my team won). I had no problem with being so busy, all my activities were worthwhile and the Russians became friends overnight*. To top it all this weekend turned into a warm and sunny one, and I had some time left to knit on our rooftop terras while the sun went to fulfill it’s duties on the other hemisphere slowly, leaving twilight and heat, my favourite when I’m knitting and looking out over the roofs of downtown Haarlem.

Muir at dusk

*Спасибо Ира и Андрей! Было так приятно вас хостить. Вы нормальные ребята 😉 , можно это так сказать? Я надеюсь что мы скоро поедем в Питер!


Wednesday, May 14th, 2008

Home in bloom

What a clash. Ever since I left Moscow at dawn yesterday, waking up at 5 a.m. looking out on the sun rising over Stalin’s ‘Skyscrapers’ and the domes of the St. Basil’s Cathedral at the Red Square and feeling sad that I already had to leave the guys who had hosted us the last two nights of our trip around the world, well… ever since that time everything that used to be normal when I was still home is now so strange and new again. People speaking Dutch on the street, the lack of kitchen cabinets that have a little rack inside them where you can put your dishes to dry, the smiling people on the street. It’s all normal but also new in a new way, because the last months we got used to seeing new things. But this is different.

Also I don’t have my cosy own room/house to come home to and this makes it that much harder. I really like having my own things and my own room and my own style, but in the new house where I’ll be living it’s just one big fucking mess and I have the coming weeks to fix it up and live there at the same time because my old room I already gave up to save on rent while I was away. So here I am, taking it all in, making the best of it by pulling the coffeemaker out of a box, finding my favourite coffeecups, making myself a cuppa coffee and enjoying my very own, free to unlimitedly be used Laptop (I’m so happy to see him again I think I should name him). I’m catching up a little on reading neglected blogs, who knew the pleasure that could bring could be so complete?

To get the opinions straight: all in all I’m happy to be home, I’m fiercely enjoying the weather and all the green leaves and blooming flowers and finding a new appreciation for the cosiness of my mother’s place. Let the reminiscing over the last unbelievably nice months begin, maybe tomorrow will bring the beginning of a plan to turn this big dark hole where I still feel like a visitor, filled with cables and junk, into the first place where I’ll live with my boyfriend. It should be a NICE place.

Home in green

Getting homesick already??

Sunday, May 11th, 2008

Yes a little to say the least. I miss all the comforts of home, but at the same time I would love to spend more time with all the great people we met the last few weeks. I actually wish I could take them all home, or all to Mongolia or all to Moscow or….or….

We are flying home on tuesday the 13th, so no more trainriding, no more providnitsa’s (carriage attendants, ladies with moods) but still two more days to go in Moscow with new hosts since today, and again they are turning out to be really interesting and nice people. Of course it sounds cheesy to say this but they really all have been people really worth getting to know. Maybe it’s Russia or maybe it’s just the fact that we’ve only tried to surf people’s couches in Russia, but in any case we are so lucky to be welcomed so warmly all the time.

Church on the blood

Since Tomsk where the partying was on we visited Yekaterinburg and Moscow, the church you see here is a church in Yekb that may or may not contain the most valuable icon in the world, so I may or may not have seen it. Pro Stalin, Pro Communism, Pro ParadingWe did see communist parades in the centre of Moscow on Victory Day (9th of May, when Russia troops defeated the Germans in 1945), and found out that Stalin is still very much adored and apprecciated by especially the older Moscovites. We bought airtickets (which was a days work, sadly), and visited a number of pleasant parks in the Moscow area because such nice weather should be cherished. Up until the day we drove to Moscow by train we could see snow everywhere along the tracks, it only stopped at around 200 km from Moscow. And here in Moscow it finally got warmer, then colder again, and then again warmer. Today was the best weather yet, and today we switched hosts and with our increasingly heavy backpacks chugged through the maze that is Taganskaya (a central neighbourhood of Moscow), the sun shining down on us like everything was a-okay. And when we finally got there the feeling was even nicer than if it would have been easy.

My face is glowing like it always does after a day of hard work and being in the sun, W. is cooking his favourite dish macaroni again like he does in every city we get to so it is only a matter of minutes before my stomach will be satisfied too… This W. cooking macaroni in Yekaterinburg.

мистер макарон

I wish I could tell everything that happened in the weeks I skipped blogging, and I hope I will when I get back, but for now you just have to trust me when I say that this was one hell of an incredible journey/adventure/dream and it was everything I hoped for, and I’m not kidding. I don’t know who to thank in particular, but I’ll just thank them anyway, they will know who they are. THANK YOU!