Trying to adjust to Russia...Part 1?
|The sun poured through the sheets above my head. The wind blew them this way and that. My chair was positioned over a fallen coconut tree. My paints, pallet, brushes, and halved calabashes were scattered about and beneath me. I was painting butterflies. I was enjoying the act of doing this task on its own without thoughts of anything but the moment and the action of painting.|
In that moment I felt so very at home and in my skin. I could feel, smell, and hear the distinct texture, aroma, and sound of village life in Antigua and Barbuda. The soles of my feet had madе the fallen coconut tree their footstool. A calabash sat in the palm of my hand, and every now and then the leaves of the banana tree to my right would caress my arm gently. I paused to experience the moment in its fullness.
I would be leaving soon. I would be separating myself from the earth which had nurtured me, from the scenes of everyday life. And I knew I would miss home. I tilted my head to the sun and breathed in the air, felt the sun and its soft burn, the wind and its gentle kiss. I listened to the footfalls of fellow villagers occasionally going to and fro on the other side of the makeshift galvanize fence. I listened to my gran as she engaged these passersby with greetings, and inquiries about health, the progression of the day, and life in general.
I knew I would miss home, I could feel the yearning to be there ever so often, and so I indulged in being there, in the company of the ones and of the things I loved. I would stand in the centre of town simply taking in the view of everything that I knew so well but had ignored before. And I did the same at home to our yard, and to my family. In the middle of the night on several occasion I watched my grandmother sleeping for as long as I could as I stood crying, missing her. I did the same to my mother as she sat in the backyard washing, and also to my little brother. I knew I would miss them sorely.
I arrived in Tomsk on a cold mid-July morning. In the days following I would become familiar with Lenin Avenue, Novo-Sobornaya Square, TSU's University Grove, and the university itself. But at that point I wasn't aware of this. Instead I was caught up with getting to my destination and keeping the Russian I knew in order so as to communicate. I could have spoken English but Nikolai decided Russian would be our language of choice. We arrived at our destination, I was given a bed and allowed to sleep the day away.
During the first two or three days I simply slept and ate minus the few necessary visits to the international department of course. And then I had the fortune to meet two travellers from Norway. The two girl were travelling through Russia by train, and would be staying in Tomsk for 3 days. We were almost inseparable. It was quite fun. I acted as a translator when I could while having a lot of fun exploring Tomsk and meeting locals as well as visitors of the city. The salon, private musical performance, vegan restaurant, karaoke bar, walking-tour with the History teacher.
I became sorely bored after their departure, and I took to walking early in the morning through the city alone. This did two things for me. Firstly it allowed me to have time to think and simply be. During the time I've been in Tomsk I've become stuck with the label of an extroverted, peppy girl. I'm always smiling, laughing, and engaging people. But is only one aspect of me. Unfortunately, when people become accustom to one side of you they find it difficult to accept the other side. It takes a lot of energy to pull people out of their own boxes, or to insert yourself into another person's box and have them accept you. To do this, I leave the comfort of my own box, and pull on all the happiness, joy, and a bit of calm, that I can muster from all aspects of me, and from all aspects of life. To re-energize I needed to be alone, and in the comfort of my thoughts. I found making my way through the city on foot assisted me in this while allowing me to get acquaintance with different areas of Tomsk.