Prepare: Culture Shock 1

Before arriving in Tomsk I had prepared myself for no wifi and grim toilets. That was pretty much the extent of my knowledge of Siberia. I’m fairly far away from my home in the UK so it’s bound to be massively different over here. I thought I’d share with you some of the little discoveries I have made since being here:

First of all – Food.

I’ll be writing  a little bit on this separately so keep your eyes peeled for updates! I’t’s fairly bizarre though I’ll tell you that much.

2 – Ladybirds

Whilst in the UK ladybirds are red with black spots and the opposite colour combination is seen as poisonous, over here they are only black with red spots. I’m not quite sure if this means that all ladybirds are poisonous yet but I should probably find out. Nature in general is different to how I imagined it. Bears do not, much to my delight, roam the streets of Tomsk. Mosquitos are EVERYWHERE; I ended up sleeping in the living room in an armchair on my 4th night here as I was under constant attack in my bedroom. And walking around the state university grounds you can see several red squirrels merrily scurrying about which is such a lovely sight seeing as they are quite rare in the UK.

3 – Roads.

Turns out it is illegal to cross the road where there is not a crossing and when there is a red man. It is a criminal offence and if I get caught then I’ll get arrested and if I get caught twice in the space of 12 months then, as a foreigner, I will get DEPORTED! For crossing the road in the wrong place! Thank goodness I found this out on my 3rd day because I was crossing the roads all over the place. At these crossings cars do not stop for you, they wait until you have stepped out onto the road before they feel obliged to stop. It takes me several seconds to build up the courage to step out  into the road into the path of an oncoming car as it is a natural instinct to definitely not do this.

4 – Dress sense.

Obviously the dress sense over here is very different from the UK and America. For starters ALL the girls wear heels. Ok, so a few don’t but it’s the majority who do. I don’t mean small, sensible heels, I mean huge heels that I would only consider wearing out to a bar or a club. I actually quite admire the women for being able to do this but I can’t help thinking they’re going to get terrible bunions when they’re older. Some girls honestly look ready for a night out in the outfits they’re wearing. I’ve seen some girls in mini skirts and high heels or mini dresses. I feel like the ugly duckling but I think I’ll just roll with it as it all seems like a lot of effort. That probably means no Russian men will be knocking at my door but judging by what I have seen so far that is A ok with me. Matching tracksuit sets aren’t really my thing. No hot Russian totty for me.

 

5 – Toilet paper.

Not much to say on this apart from that the toilet paper in my flat is like bark. It’s as if someone has thinly sliced the bark off of a birch tree and rolled it up so that it looks like toilet paper. I’m not fooled though, it is definitely just tree.

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