Thursday, March 23, 2006

I’m not going to let any literature professor fool me again by letting me think that spring is symbolic for rebirth, beauty, and life. Spring in Russia (and by spring, I clearly am meaning temperatures that hover right around freezing) thus far has been anything but. It’s funny, but it seems like spring is an even more dangerous time the winter in terms of general safety and well-being. Child-sized falling icicles aside, a slightly warmer Russia has created absolute havoc on the roads and sidewalks. Where there use to be only snow and ice, there now exists snow, ice, slush, and lake-sized puddles. Basically, every from water that can possibly make now fills the streets of Vladimir, not to mention creating a good deal of deception – solids that look like liquids (and cause embarrassing falls) and liquids that look like solids (and cause embarrassing falls and ruined clothes as well). It’s a good thing that roughly one third of the population of Vladimir is employed by the city to move said substances around. Though of those people doing this heavy labor, roughly ninety-nine percent of them are over the age of sixty-five. In my opinion, these are the last people in the world who should be doing this kind of work, but this is, afterall, Russia (not to mention that fact the elderly people are so few here- they should be in a museum, not cleaning the streets). Regardless of who’s cleaning the streets, I’ve slipped more times on my way to school this week than I have the whole time I’ve been here.
I’m also beginning to realize why there are so few runners in Russia (other than they fact that the amount of fat and oil they consume renders them completely unable to move). It is unbelievably hard on your body (my host family would whole-heartedly agree, as they blame my current cold on running). I’ve had more injuries resulting for the small amount of time I’ve been running in Russia than I did in a fourteen-year soccer career. Running on ice and snow (and currently, a whole slew of other substances) is simply not something any body likes doing day in and day out. Not to mention the fact that for most Russians, life is far from easy, so adding more strain on their bodies doesn’t seem terribly logical.
I had my first big fall running on Monday in a miserable attempt to leap over a small version of the Black Sea onto a mountain of snow to avoid totally ruining my clothes. Sadly, I didn’t buy running shoes that come with an attachable ice pick; I think that would have been an invaluable investment. Needless to say, clothes very dirty, pride very hurt.
Spring is in the air – Russian style.

The pictures are of the lovely Russian sidewalks and there amazing snow dump trucks and take mass quantities of snow to unknown places- Gulag style. (note- I was almost run over by not one, but two, of these dump trucks once while out on a run)


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