For a while, Seattle was actually colder than St. Petersburg but I think we are doing our part over here to catch up with you Seattleites. This morning I woke up to more snow on the ground and a temperature of -14 degrees Celsius....which is somewhere around 7 degrees Fahrenheit. Brrr. That's chilly. My students love to tell me that it's only going to get colder. I tell them to shut up. (Okay...I only think about telling them to shut up...)
My friend Arina and I have gotten into the routine of running on Tuesday evenings together. It is nice to run with someone because on days you normally would wimp out if you were going by yourself; you have someone there to tell you to suck it up. Today was my day for wanting to wimp out. I tried twice to convince her that today probably wasn't the best day to go running. The first time I texted her and told her my face would be cold (wussy excuse, I know.) She told me she had cream for that. Dangit. Then I reminded her it was really, pretty chilly out there. She said she was aware of this and that she would see me in fifteen minutes. Man, those Russians are tough.
So I sucked it up the best I could and we went for our weekly run. Once I had warmed up enough to feel my fingers and my vision was no longer blurry, I really was glad for her persistence. I got to experience snot freezing in my nose for the first time. It was an odd and disgusting sensation. But that is beside the point.
As we were running, Arina asked if I was cold and I told her the only parts of my body that were cold were my nose and my thighs. She said I needed to wear warmer clothes and to this I replied that I was wearing long underwear under my workout pants. She looked at me kind of funny and then went on to tell me that she was wearing underwear too, but she also had tights on underneath her pants. I lost it.
Sometimes language/cultural barriers can be frustrating. Sometimes they can be downright funny. "Long underwear" meant nothing to my Russian friend. To Arina, it simply seemed like I had decided to wear underwear for our run and was randomly telling her about it. I explained the meaning of this mysterious long underwear and we had a pretty good laugh about it. I still smile when I think about it. But in addition to giving me a good laugh, I also had a moment where life...this crazy Russian life I am currently living... felt incredibly comfortable and normal. I've missed that feeling of comfort and normalcy but I've done a better job this week of embracing and appreciating all that life overseas entails. Sometimes life here is hilarious. Sometimes it is difficult. Sometimes it is downright ridiculous. And sometimes, on long runs with snot freezing in your nose, laughing with a not-so-brandnew-friend...it just feels like home.