So, I have now been in Krasnodar for over a month. At the time of such colossal milestones as this, one should take the time to review one’s progress. So what have I learned?
- In France it is illegal to be homeless unless you have a dog.
- In every country except England it is acceptable to date children. (We discovered this whilst relating the story of Mike’s botched attempt to find a Russian lady friend, which so far has only resulted in him going on a date with a 16 year old girl who asked which floor the driver occupies on a double decker bus. The reaction from a variety of nationalities consulted was shrugging and giving us that “Oh-the-British-are-so-repressed-and-live-by-unnecessary-rules-which-are-detrimental-to-their-general-well-being” sigh.)
- Pizza-Sushi-Pasta restaurants are normal.
- Давай! (The most important word in the Russian language. When in doubt, say davai.) Irina also favours calling us молодцы each time we answer a question, read something out of the book, ask a question, breathe or just generally exist. This translates as something like "Good boy/good girl" in the sense of acknowledging a job well done. A bit similar to the praise I receive at home when I do the washing up. Annually.
I have also learned that sometimes nodding and saying yes when people speak to you in words which you don’t understand results in telling accidental lies. One tendency that I have is to say yes and nod profusely whilst somebody talks to me in order to appear engaged. This has never failed me. Until now. Consequently, my Russian friends are under the impression that I saw Radiohead live in concert and subsequently think I am awesomely cool as when I answered said query regarding this matter I shrugged nonchalantly and said “da” as though it were the most standard, uninteresting occurrence on the planet. It is entirely possible that I have become a pathological liar without even realising. It remains to be seen how this will pan out.
In recent weeks we have obtained a new neighbour by the name of Sascha. He is a middle aged, bald Tajik whose hobbies include staring at Helena’s breasts and pissing on the toilet seat. Catriona has also accused him of doing other unpleasant things on the toilet – but not to his face, obviously. In typical English passive aggressive style, Mike and Sam tackled our problem by putting up an anonymous sign in the bathroom. A few days later I was accosted by the Kommandantka (unstable Babushka who seems consistently drunk) on my way out of the building and asked who had written the sign. I used my expert knowledge of the phrase "I don't understand" and my confused foreigner look to weasel my way out of any awareness of the existence of this sign.
To further support my previous description of the Kommandantka, I left my room on Monday to brush my teeth, leaving the door open with Helena and Catriona still sleeping inside. On my return I found the Kommandantka standing in the middle of the room screaming maniacally and incomprehensibly and my roommates looking sleepy, confused and generally disturbed.
April's Fool's Day came around last week and our teacher Irina Alexandrovna informed us of the favourite Russian joke, whereby you tell someone that their back is white. It is not white. Hilarity ensues. Probably. Having said that, I actually found this joke hilarious. But I find many things hilarious in class. I laughed so much that Irina deemed me a Haha-tushka. I was pleasantly surprised by the April Fool's joke from the Russian version of Facebook, whereby it was renamed "in the union" and all headings were accordingly renamed in Soviet style - friends became "Comrades" and so on. молодцы, comrades, молодцы.