Where the world still looks analogous
I'm standing in front of the map of Russia. On the left edge I can see Moscow, on the right edge Wladiwostok and in the middle, the russian State „Sibiria“ is located. Russia is unbeliviable huge in its size, I can only realise, as I compare the size of Europa in relation to the rest of the huge map. Just Sibiria seems to have the size of whole Europe! Thousands of kilometer to the north, nothing but forests. Only Taiga, without villages, without streets, until the artic ocean.
My heart starts throbbing faster, when I try to image how wild this part of the world must be. And I also get sad, realising, that it would take 20 years, to discover all of this countryside and to get to know Sibiria in his real size.
It is midsummer, when we get to Sibiria, everything is flourishing. Between Ladas (old sovjet cars) and wooden houses, sibirian grandmothers sell their harvest. Everything which the short but warm summer is glamourising into the forests. Bluebeeries, Raspberries, wood strawberries, mushrooms... the little camping tables beside the roads are covered with all these beauties. It looks very healty.
And they do speak russian, of course. And mostly nothing else beside. Doesn't matter if we understand or not. Everyday we pick up some new words. I always carry a pad of paper in my pockets, writing down (in my own phonetics) what I listen to. Everyday it is getting more and more, slowly we start speaking our first russian sentences.
We see Lake Baikal, Gwens family is visiting us in Sibiria for three weeks. We have not seen them for more than one and a half years. It is a beautiful sibirian summer.
Then short autum passes by and suddently it is – 11 degrees one morning. Meanwhile, we are in „Istok“, in the north of Irkutsk and we help in a communtiy for handicaped people, for some weeks. They live close to the forest, far away from the main road, getting prepared for winter. A winter which fascinates us so much, that we start regreting, that we cannot stay till the real cold comes. They tell us, that -30 degrees for winter is normal, -40 is what they call cold. „Then you have to dress well“, the russians suggest. First snow falls, the temperature is dropping below -20, my beard is frozen after just a few minutes beeing outside. As we step out of the „Banja“ (russian sauna) our bodies fume their heat in the cold sibirian birch forest.
We would love to stay longer, we would go for ice skating on Lake Baikal, would learn more and more russian, would try to understand what it really means to be far out in Sibiria...