Purebred American Jonathan Engels spoke about the Russian winter and how it is better to go through it. I never thought that in Moscow will want snow. Nov. pleased frozen mud and ice pools. In late autumn snow covers melted in just a day or turned into ice.
It was not what I expected: it was almost Christmas and still no snow storm.
Stage 1: The fear of frost.
Most of the summer I was worried about the Russian winter, which can destroy me. In my guidebook it was told that the temperature will drop in late October. By the end of November, it would be a full pi ... frost. And heat would not be until April or May.
Family and friends were laughing at my wife, Emma, and my decision to spend the better part of the year here. "You freeze" - they said. In September, my Russian colleagues and students continued to feed my fears, talking about the record temperatures, reading stories about people frozen to death. Grimacing at the mention of the winter, they are constantly repeated: "Colder".
Soon everything began to change. Clothing sold in stores, becoming warmer, so, buyers are willing to polar cold. The owner of the apartment has replaced windows with new energy-efficient, ridiculous explaining that they will be better. Heating You will not be able to manage and running too early, making our apartment unbearably hot. "Just open the box," - advised us.
One student bought me «valenki», traditional woolen boots, thrust into galoshes. On my birthday the local staff gave me a «ushanka», the brand hat with a furry ear flaps. And it scared me ...
Step 2: Wait for global warming.
Strongly all pedestrians take precautions. Fluffy headdress has become a standard occurrence. All people have from the huge puffy jackets. Emma and I'm not particularly ready and our colleagues followed me, demanding to get her a warm coat. "She has no additional insulation" - they joked. Finally, our Russian "director of education" offered to her old coat.
The temperature dropped a little below zero froze. I felt disappointed. All of my concerns were in vain. I checked the weather forecasts, hoping for the promised mountains of snow, cold weather impressive, which could write home. Some part of me, part of it, Rejoicing the fact that I froze ass, felt cheated by Mother Russia.
The first time I visited a Russian bathhouse in November on a night out. I have learned that between the gatherings in the "steam room" people take to the streets to plunge naked torso in the snow. Sometimes they make a hole in the ice and jump into the frozen ponds. "All men do it" - he said my staff smiling broadly. They assured me that would be great. But an unexpected period of heat turned the landscape into one big puddle of slush. And of course, the snow was not enough to prove my manhood.
This continued throughout December and the week before Christmas, all wore gloves, but had no snow to play in the snow. I spoke to students and colleagues in search of answers, but they just shrugged their shoulders, repeating the catch phrase "global warming". I did not understand, they said they were joking or serious. From time to time, students do weather forecasts, giving little hope: "I think it's going to happen this weekend," or "It's always a lot of snow on my birthday." They seemed worried.
Step 3: The first snow.
On the Sunday before Christmas to our (Russia's "Christmas" note after the New Year), I went home in anticipation of the real Russian snowstorm.
On the way home snow I close up my face, denying the opportunity to contemplate the beauty and strange reason made me feel that my eyebrows are wet. I wrapped a scarf around his face, pulled his cap and walked, vzhav his shoulders.
Upon entering the apartment, I undressed with the speed with which allowed my frozen fingers, leaving his shoes, is covered with a white crust at the door. I put the kettle on and sat by the window, safe and warm for a new energy-saving glass. The wind howled mercilessly, spinning snowflakes. The lake in front of our house, the highway, parked cars, trees - everything was monochrome.
I could not wait for the return of Emma. She would understand my joy of victory over those people who laughed at our failure in Russia. Yes, we had snow!
Step 4: Sledding.
The temperature dropped every day. The streets have disappeared under the white veil. Roads and sidewalks were cleared and sprinkle reagents.
By Thursday morning, I gave in and bought a cheap plastic sleds, bright red. I made the first descent among a group of kids. Pope rolled them down the mountain; Mom cheered below. Emma was filming me, the only adult involved in the fun.
I told my students about my new toy. One of them, Alex - who seemed benchmark Russian men looked at me with surprise. "Really?" - He asked in a tone implying that it might be good for kids, but ... I have at least made it to the bare-chested?
Emma and I went sledding late at night, after the kids are gone. With cans of beer cooled in snow, we went one by one, checking who will be able to go further.
Step 5: Four months later.
I went to school again, flinging snow mountain. He went all week. Everywhere frozen dog shit. Snowmen all in yellow smudges. My eyebrows are wet. And I wanted to cry ... ... Enough is enough !!!