Toasts
Bread and bears

(the themesong for today’s post – if you, like me, consider dubstep ‘music’).

“You shouldn’t drink with Russians,” said one of my adult students a few days ago.  “They can’t stop, and it will be dangerous for you.”
“They can’t stop drinking, or can’t stop themselves?” I asked.
“Both.  Actually, this is a big problem here.  People drink too much and they kill their friends.”
:/… “And why do you think that is?”
Another student responded that it’s because life is so bad here, and people have to push everything down.  When they drink, the “walls fall down” and they kill people.

This seems completely ridiculous.  It should seem completely ridiculous.  But I’m starting to understand it.  After all, I just left the supermarket, where the cashier and I were screaming at each other in Russian, and it got to the point where the supermarket’s bouncer (yes, really) started moving toward us.  This is obviously completely uncharacteristic of me.  But I am exhausted and hungry and I am incredibly angry at everybody.  I’ve become someone who wants everybody else to feel as miserable as I do – and it’s not even been three months in ze motherland!  If you’re not my friend and you get in my way, you’re going to get unleashed on.

Naz and I got very drunk last Thursday night.  The first bottle of vodka was gone in well under an hour.  Neither of us is especially happy here (her boyfriend Mikita later asked me, “Laura, why did you come to this hell?”) and we’re pretty sure we’ve discovered the reason for Russia’s vaunted alcohol problem.  I’ve been living off around 300 rubles a day (~AU$9) and I’m pretty happy to eat only one meal so that I can use the other 200 rubles for a bottle of vodka.  I should be a lot more disturbed by that.  Clearly, Russia is causing altercations between what I regularly ‘should’ do and what I actually do.

I’m reading the book ‘Ninochka’ by Svetlana Boym at the moment.  It’s on a lot of world literature ‘must read’ lists, though I find it stupidly difficult to follow myself.  It does however have some memorable quotes.  One of them is that ‘every crime in Russia is a crime of passion’.  Well, the Latin root of passion is ‘pati,’ which means ‘to suffer.’  So maybe the author is right.

But I’m pontificating and I need to sleep.  I’m going to see HR tomorrow – time to stop this madness.

Toasts
Bread and bears

4 Comments

  1. Hi Laura,
    Some standard advice that works…
    Think the basics. Get more sleep, eat a good diet, remember drinking just pulls you down. Try to ignore the weather and negative people, and don’t let your environment swing your mood down.
    And good wishes from us.
    Rob

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