aka ‘How to drink Vodka like a Russian.’

In Russia, the traditional process for drinking vodka is as follows:

  1. The vodka should be stored in the freezer prior to serving
  2. Before drinking, everybody should stand
  3. Make a toast – it should be to something positive, and to something that is happening/has happened
  4. Shot the vodka – 50mL shots are standard
  5. Follow with some kind of pickley thing.

Personally, I’m against eating anything which looks like a dead baby arm, so I skip the pickley part.  I really think that step #3 is an amazing idea however.

After yesterday’s post and its tone of ‘deepening madness’, I’ve got a lot more to be positive about: thus, here are my (alcohol-less) toasts for the day:

Life and its improvement
As mentioned, I went to see HR today.  I can indeed quit one school without being fired from the other, or having my visa revoked.  As it was, I’d set up contingency plans and places to go to if I had to leave the country this week (thanks so much to everyone who helped, my friends are amazing 🙂 :)).  I’m handing in my resignation tomorrow – though I will stay until the end of December, to finish the term out.  Happily, uni have agreed to let me defer my lessons until after I’ve finished working at school #2.  So huzzah – I’m going to have some time to rest and recover.

Fabulous Renglishisms
On popular songs in Russia:

Note, in the next picture it’s someone climbing a rock-wall:


On expats saying hilarious things

  • My Russian teacher asks me what interests me, and the guy next to me starts chanting ‘boys, boys, boys’.
  • A girl in my Russian class: ‘Talking about fucking Russia throwing shit at you and expecting you to deal with it.’ (re sharing one seat on a bus with a friend on an eight-hour trip after pre-purchasing two seats)
  • Drunk Naz: ‘He’s a pedofile because he looks at Laura with his glad eye…  You can’t hear the glad eye, you must look at the glad eye…  No no no, glad eye and pedo eye are different.’
On the ‘normal’ Russian
  • My students gave me some advice re keeping myself safe in Russia: ‘be rude to people, all the time’.
  • During a lesson on taboos:
    Me: ‘Have you ever broken any taboos?’
    S (instantly): ‘Yes, of course!’
    Me: ‘uh.. thanks for your honesty.  Which ones?’
    S: ‘Well, I steal things.’
    Me: ‘What?  What kind of things?’
    S: ‘From the supermarket, all the time.’
    Me: ‘You’re not the first Russian to tell me that!!  Is stealing from the supermarket common here?’
    S: ‘Well yes, of course.’
  • Discussing taboos relating to public nudity:
    Me: ‘So, what would happen if I walked naked, if someone walked naked, down Nevskiy Prospekt in the middle of the day?’
    (students confer)
    S:  Shrug.  ‘They’d just think you were a normal Russian.’

On conversations between Naz and her bf Mikita

  • Mikita wants to set me up on girl-dates:
    When I was staying with them, Mikita didn’t say a single word to me.  But since then, he’ll ask Naz to say ‘hi’ if she’s in the staff room with me, will steal her phone to add Renglishisms to her texts, and constantly asks her ‘Why don’t you go see Laura?’
  • Mikita also wants to set me up with his best friend:
    Mikita and Lyokha carried my suitcase when I was crashing with M and N.  Since then, M continually asks Naz if I’ve said anything about Lyokha.  Conversation between N and M the other day:
    N: ‘I think Laura needs a Russian boyfriend.’
    M: ‘Lyokha!’
    N: ‘No no, Lyokha is too skinny, Laura needs a strong (gestures muscles) man.’
    M: ‘It’s okay, Lyokha knows his situation and has learned to adapt.’
  • Mikita on Australians (or, more specifically, a drunken Queenslander riding a crocodile):
    ‘Why doesn’t Laura speak like that?’
  • Mikita and vkontakte (Russian Facebook):
    Mikita got super excited when he realised I was on vk.  Naz: ‘I guarantee you he’s at work, showing you to all of his friends right now.  Don’t be surprised if next time you come over, there’s ten guys waiting for you.’
  • Mikita on romance:
    During a telephone conversation to Naz re getting a visa to the states: ‘You’re right, it’s easier if we get married.  We can do it Saturday, it only costs $100.’

On teaching environmentalism to Russians
An amazing interpretation of Captain Planet (the noise at the start is greedy capitalists chopping down all of the trees):

Thanks everyone (as always) for your support.


Yes, yes I did.
Just too close

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