Thoughts

Things Siberians Say to Other People When They Don’t Live in Siberia

(We don’t have to say it in Siberia, because, attention, everyone knows their stuff.)

Let’s be fair, it goes both ways. Things are said to us as soon as we say where we’re from, we say something in return, but we also transfer our Siberian ways to our conversations without needing prompts from others after we reveal our roots.

Actually, the cold bothered and bothers me personally quite a bit, but that’s another story.

Things we might say to you

“I love summer! What heat wave?”

“It’s so nice to sit on the grass! No ticks!”

“I don’t need to go on a ski holiday, I’ve seen enough snow in my time.”

“Let’s just sit together for a little while.”

“No, I’m not cold” / “No, it’s not that cold”/ “Wow, snow, finally!” (I don’t say this, but it’s a matter of preference)

“My bike is locked up, there’s ice on the road. Yes, it can be dangerous to cycle on ice.”

“Well, it’s a good idea to wear a hat when it’s below zero outside.”

“I’m quite used to the forest, there was a lot of it where I grew up.”

“Yes, I have worn a fur coat before. Real fur.”

“Do you know pelmeni? No, they aren’t completely the same as pierogi.”

To guests: “Would you like some house slippers or warm socks?”

My personal favorite: “Actually, I don’t know anything about vodka.”

“I could see my breath this morning, it’s cold.”

“Don’t you have gloves with you?”

Almost said many times: “Is hunching into your scarf really all that helpful in staying warm?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thoughts

When You’re Siberian

For the most part, you…

Wear a hat when it’s colder, especially in winter, because, at least for me, piling up a scarf or a snood up to my ears, shoulders hunched, stepping in place at a bus stop is just not my look.

Don’t ride a bike after it snowed. Since I can’t get used to the sight of this after 11 years in Europe, I probably never will. A colleague of mine broke her leg cycling on icy pavement and once again I asked myself, why do this after Elsa clearly had her way with Let It Go on your street?

Have a built-in winter radar. You know when to layer up and when to pack it all away (only not too far, Hamburg is a city where you may need these layers any day).

Divide the year in two seasons: with snow and without (homegrown wisdom).

Barely use heating once you discover you’re in total control of turning it on, unlike back in the homeland.

Conscious of slippery surfaces underfoot in ANY season due to annual prolonged winter ice exposure. The careful step is an inner setting, ready to be switched on at a moment’s notice.

Aren’t immune to cold, but you’ll still meet plenty of people who will ask you if it’s “like summer” for you on a colder day.

Enjoy saying “I don’t find it that cold, just the wind has changed,” and mean it, too.

Know that not all your countrymen and women are obsessed with winter sports and activities.

Consider 1,5-hour flights similar to taking the bus, since flying from one city to another within Russia may take as long as 4 hours, maybe more.

Get used to the following questions once you say you’re from Siberia specifically:

But it’s in Russia, right?

Do you speak a different language there?

Is it that place where it’s really cold?

Is it dark all the time?

Is it close to Vladivostok?

Where exactly does the Transsiberian railroad run through?

But it’s really far away, right?

Where is it?

How come you speak such good (insert language here)?

Why don’t you have a Russian accent? / I can’t place your accent.

Can you go outside in winter?

Are you from a village?

Sometimes I relax my rules of polite conversation and remembering that it’s not a given person’s fault they are asking me something I’ve already been asked by other people they don’t know an x number of times, and tell the obvious truth…that I grew up in a forest. But that’s a story for another blog post.

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