Category Archives: My Russian Fever

Since my sojourn in Russia in 2011, I have been fascinated by the beautiful culture and rich history of Russia. This category of blog posts is about my love of Russian art, music and culture.

From Siberia with love (Part 2): The Saint Petersburg dream

From Siberia with love (Part 2): The Saint Petersburg dream

I told Misha that I was coming to Russia after a year I left Sochi. He said I should come to Saint Petersburg, the most beautiful city in Russia with the white night. So I decided to stay with them for a couple of days and we would meet in a metro station in Saint Petersburg.

Surrounded by the canals, the underground in Saint Petersburg was so deep. Walking down to the platform was a kind of dreamy experience. Amidst the crowd in the station, I saw Liza on the other side. Then we ran to each other and had a big hug. Someone captured the moment with the camera. It was Misha.

When I came to their place, I saw a small black cat. “His name is Anatoly. He comes from Sochi.” Misha said, “He evolves from your landlord to our cat.” We laughed.

“Do you still enjoy reading and writing, Brian?” Liza asked.

Misha’s humour and Liza’s question reminded me that there was a kind of friends whom you may not meet them often but they know you and your past so well.

They showed me around the city and told me the stories of Saint Petersburg. Until very mid-night, Liza was in bed but Misha told me their life stories in the balcony.

The happy couple wasn’t always happy. Getting married in their early twenties, the outside world appeared too interesting, but distracting. With the same kind of curiosity, they were both unsure about a committed relationship. They both wanted to try and explore more about this fascinating world.

Then Liza went to Saint Petersburg, leaving Misha alone in Siberia. Later they were both with someone else.

“Despite separation for a couple of years, I still thought of her in those days.” Misha said, “So I realised that the new relationship wasn’t right for me.”

Since then, as Misha described, he had gone through a tough period of lifetime. He was overwhelmed by a sense of loneliness but being with someone else only made him feel lonelier. So he was lonely but chose to stay single and alone.

One day he decided to call Liza and proposed a meeting in Saint Petersburg. “She didn’t sound interested until I said ‘I need your signature for the document of divorce’.” His tactics worked well and they confirmed a meeting on a bridge.

Before the meeting, Misha withdrew 10,000 rubles for a big feast with Liza. He put his cash in the pocket of his jacket.

The moment when they saw each other from the different side of the bridge, they pretended to be calm and walked slowly to the other side. But once they saw each other in the eyes, they knew they couldn’t lie.

Sitting in a café, they talked about many things – the city of Saint Petersburg, other good reads and their life without each other.

Instead of showing the document of divorce, Misha proposed getting back together.

“She smiled in the way that I knew her answer without a second guess,” Misha said.

When he was about to ask for the bill before another walk with Liza, he couldn’t find the10,000 rubles in his pocket.

“It was a bit unfortunate. But on that day, I still felt like the luckiest person alive.”

Looking at Misha, he smiled in the way that I could imagine the joy of the happy couple in Saint Petersburg.

Since that evening, I never ask Lisa and Misha again where they plan to go. I know no matter where they go, they will stay together.

From Siberia with love (Part 2): The Saint Petersburg dream

From Siberia with love (Part 2): The Saint Petersburg dream

I told Misha that I was coming to Russia after a year I left Sochi. He said I should come to Saint Petersburg, the most beautiful city in Russia with the white night. So I decided to stay with them for a couple of days and we would meet in a metro station in Saint Petersburg.

Surrounded by the canals, the underground in Saint Petersburg was so deep. Walking down to the platform was a kind of dreamy experience. Amidst the crowd in the station, I saw Liza on the other side. Then we ran to each other and had a big hug. Someone captured the moment with the camera. It was Misha.

When I came to their place, I saw a small black cat. “His name is Anatoly. He comes from Sochi.” Misha said, “He evolves from your landlord to our cat.” We laughed.

“Do you still enjoy reading and writing, Brian?” Liza asked.

Misha’s humour and Liza’s question reminded me that there was a kind of friends whom you may not meet them often but they know you and your past so well.

They showed me around the city and told me the stories of Saint Petersburg. Until very mid-night, Liza was in bed but Misha told me their life stories in the balcony.

The happy couple wasn’t always happy. Getting married in their early twenties, the outside world appeared too interesting, but distracting. With the same kind of curiosity, they were both unsure about a committed relationship. They both wanted to try and explore more about this fascinating world.

Then Liza went to Saint Petersburg, leaving Misha alone in Siberia. Later they were both with someone else.

“Despite separation for a couple of years, I still thought of her in those days.” Misha said, “So I realised that the new relationship wasn’t right for me.”

Since then, as Misha described, he had gone through a tough period of lifetime. He was overwhelmed by a sense of loneliness but being with someone else only made him feel lonelier. So he was lonely but chose to stay single and alone.

One day he decided to call Liza and proposed a meeting in Saint Petersburg. “She didn’t sound interested until I said ‘I need your signature for the document of divorce’.” His tactics worked well and they confirmed a meeting on a bridge.

Before the meeting, Misha withdrew 10,000 rubles for a big feast with Liza. He put his cash in the pocket of his jacket.

The moment when they saw each other from the different side of the bridge, they pretended to be calm and walked slowly to the other side. But once they saw each other in the eyes, they knew they couldn’t lie.

Sitting in a café, they talked about many things – the city of Saint Petersburg, other good reads and their life without each other.

Instead of showing the document of divorce, Misha proposed getting back together.

“She smiled in the way that I knew her answer without a second guess,” Misha said.

When he was about to ask for the bill before another walk with Liza, he couldn’t find the10,000 rubles in his pocket.

“It was a bit unfortunate. But on that day, I still felt like the luckiest person alive.”

Looking at Misha, he smiled in the way that I could imagine the joy of the happy couple in Saint Petersburg.

Since that evening, I never ask Lisa and Misha again where they plan to go. I know no matter where they go, they will stay together.

Russian Portrait: Russian Travellers in Hong Kong

Russian Portrait: The Travellers in Hong Kong

Artem and Anna are from Cheboksary, a city 700 km away from Moscow. They are like other folks I met in Russia who have a strong curiosity about the outside world. When being asked about their memories of the Soviet days, Artem said: “I only remember the Russian soviet uniform was everywhere. I like what we are – at least we can travel to Hong Kong, Spain or Egypt, and realise that there are other places better than Russia.”

Russian Portrait: Russian Travellers in Hong Kong

Russian Portrait: The Travellers in Hong Kong

Artem and Anna are from Cheboksary, a city 700 km away from Moscow. They are like other folks I met in Russia who have a strong curiosity about the outside world. When being asked about their memories of the Soviet days, Artem said: “I only remember the Russian soviet uniform was everywhere. I like what we are – at least we can travel to Hong Kong, Spain or Egypt, and realise that there are other places better than Russia.”

Russia: A Journey to the Heart of a Land and its People

Russia: A Journey to the Heart of a Land and its People

“How do Russians see themselves in the world today? What role do they want their nation to play? What are the sources and origins of these aspirations and attitudes? And after so many centuries of suffering what is it to love Mother Russia?”

Jonathan Dimbleby, Russia: A Journey to the Heart of a Land and its People

Russia: A Journey to the Heart of a Land and its People

Russia: A Journey to the Heart of a Land and its People

“How do Russians see themselves in the world today? What role do they want their nation to play? What are the sources and origins of these aspirations and attitudes? And after so many centuries of suffering what is it to love Mother Russia?”

Jonathan Dimbleby, Russia: A Journey to the Heart of a Land and its People

Russian Architecture: Train Station of Sochi

Russian Architecture: Train Station of Sochi

The Central Railway Station of Sochi reveals the charm of the city that goes beyond a resort city. The great architecture has been praised as the most beautiful in the city. One may honor the architect for his achievement, and yet he was accused of his popularity in the Soviet Times. Paradoxically, the station appears a mixture of pride and jealousy which vividly depicts the complexity of human nature and the ups and downs of one’s life.

Russian Architecture: Train Station of Sochi

Russian Architecture: Train Station of Sochi

The Central Railway Station of Sochi reveals the charm of the city that goes beyond a resort city. The great architecture has been praised as the most beautiful in the city. One may honor the architect for his achievement, and yet he was accused of his popularity in the Soviet Times. Paradoxically, the station appears a mixture of pride and jealousy which vividly depicts the complexity of human nature and the ups and downs of one’s life.

Russian Drink: Vodka

Russian Drink: Vodka

Whoever comes to Russia, one should always try its national drink – vodka. Russians tend to use a shot glass for vodka without mixing it with the juice or coke. Even if you want your vodka tastier, it is more common to have vodka and coke/juice in two separated glasses. Cucumber and lemon are the best side dishes for vodka.

Russian Drink: Vodka

Russian Drink: Vodka

Whoever comes to Russia, one should always try its national drink – vodka. Russians tend to use a shot glass for vodka without mixing it with the juice or coke. Even if you want your vodka tastier, it is more common to have vodka and coke/juice in two separated glasses. Cucumber and lemon are the best side dishes for vodka.

Russian Artist: Yuri Novikov

Russian Artist: Yuri Novikov

Born in 1946, the Russian artist Yuri Novikov had been taking an active role in the Union of Artists of USSR from 1984 to 1997 in Moscow. He relocated to Sochi since 1997 and he is now serving as an associate professor at the Sochi State University of Tourism and Resort Business.

Russian Artist: Yuri Novikov

Russian Artist: Yuri Novikov

Born in 1946, the Russian artist Yuri Novikov had been taking an active role in the Union of Artists of USSR from 1984 to 1997 in Moscow. He relocated to Sochi since 1997 and he is now serving as an associate professor at the Sochi State University of Tourism and Resort Business.

Birches (Березы)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQyYidgk-0Y&feature=share

I’ll go along the road, I love the scope.
Maybe that’s all I shall ever learn in my life –
Why do the wistful leaves fly like this,
Caressing my soul underneath my shirt?

Я пойду по дороге, простору я рад
Может это лишь все, что я в жизни узнаю,
Отчего так печальные листья летят,
Под рубахою душу лаская

Birches (Березы)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQyYidgk-0Y&feature=share

I’ll go along the road, I love the scope.
Maybe that’s all I shall ever learn in my life –
Why do the wistful leaves fly like this,
Caressing my soul underneath my shirt?

Я пойду по дороге, простору я рад
Может это лишь все, что я в жизни узнаю,
Отчего так печальные листья летят,
Под рубахою душу лаская