a big beautiful mess

At Dobrolyubova Library

I have got to get myself onto a better sleep schedule! Not getting enough sleep here has a much more powerful effect on my general wellbeing than it used to back home. I’m still procrastinating like a college student, but my body is demanding to be rested like a grown-up.

In other news, I got a library card today! I had to pay 15 rubles for it, and I’m not allowed to actually check out any of the Russian books, so this feels like a kind of qualified victory. But, it means that I know where the library is now, which means I know where the American Corner is, which means I’m that much closer to actually meeting the woman who works there. And, the reason I was at the library was a Norwegian-Russian folk music concert. Which. Was. Wonderful.

I went with the Norwegian teacher Liv, and her boyfriend, who are friends with the harmonica player in the group. On the bus on the way there, we ran into the Norwegian-American guy who is also a student at the university (SAFU) and lives in Centrin with us. Arkhangelsk is supposed to be as big as Pittsburgh, population-wise, but it’s still a place where that kind of serendipity can happen. I mean, I guess we were all going to the same place, so it’s not that serendipitous, but still! And then a bunch of my students were there, because they also study Norwegian, something I hadn’t pieced together when Liv invited me to the concert, so it was fun to chat with them before the show.

The concert itself was lovely. The music was new and beautiful, and the musicians were all so unassuming and relaxed; they just looked like they were hanging out together up on stage, playing some of the songs they love. They are two Norwegians (the harmonica player and a violinist) and a Russian guitarist, touring northern Russia and Norway together for a couple of weeks. They were communicating with each other in English mostly, and most of the audience understood English too (partly because most of the audience was students from the English department at SAFU), but the guitarist translated part of what they said into Russian. It seemed like such a wacky way to do things, just sort of throwing languages out there until one stuck. And then the music started, and all at once language didn’t matter anymore.


  1. Jefe B Jefe B
    8 November 2011    

    I liked your comment, “just sort of throwing languages out there until one stuck.” That’s probably going to be a big part of your life.

    • 8 November 2011    

      I definitely feel like that’s how most of my day goes. I kind of miss English.

  2. 10 November 2011    

    This is beautifullly written, Ruth! I know that English online is different from English in real life, but if you’d like to Skype with someone a little closer to your time zone, I got you, babe. =)

    • 12 November 2011    

      Thanks, Jamie! We should talk sometime!

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