As the third week came around I decided to try and truly embrace Russian life. So, naturally, I went along to the International Cat Festival. I had no idea what to expect of this event and I have to admit that I don’t even like cats that much. I’m also ever so slightly allergic to them. But that wasn’t going to hold me back! I’m so glad I went as there were puppies too and I was so tempted to just grab one and run but then realised if I can get deported for crossing the road in the wrong place then who knows what would happen if I attempted to steal a dog.
Second on my list of becoming Russian was to take myself, along with my friend Rachel, to a beauty salon (I hope I do not have to spell this out). First of all, we could not find the salon anywhere and ended up walking in the rain for a good half hour. We should have taken this as a sign that the salon does not want to be found but we persisted and eventually phoned our teacher Natasha, who had booked our appointments for us. She couldn’t understand why we couldn’t find the place and told us to look for “a five storey grey house”. Now, I don’t know if you’ve been to Russia but let me tell you that nearly every single house I have seen here has been multi-storey and some shade of grey. After the salon owner had run down the street to come and find us she took us to her salon which was BEIGE and we were greeted by a woman wearing a dentist mask. Another bad sign. I decided to be brave and go first and that is the last time I will ever decide to do such a thing. I was in hell. 45 minutes of hell (approx. 3 times longer than it takes in England). Luckily, the beauty therapist didn’t speak English so I was able to voice my opinions on her skills and the horrific experience I was enduring which did give me some relief. After this traumatic experience I phoned Rachel, who was in the waiting room, and told her to make up an excuse and to leave, thus saving her from having to go through what I went through. I truly believe that this experience has demonstrated what a good friend I am and I am currently awaiting some sort of present from her.
I also decided to embrace Russian people’s preference for natural remedies when I became ill and ended up sitting with my feet in a bowl of boiling hot water for 20 minutes. It pains me to say this but I did actually feel better the next day!
I took part in the Tomsk Potato Festival at the weekend. What a great day!! (If a tad bizarre) There were stalls selling all kinds of produce from honey to handmade socks to felt hats in the shape of teapots. I got to meet some great Russian women in traditional dress and even got to dance in the concert that was put on in the square! I went with the other English students here and we definitely made the most out of being foreign with one stall owner even taking a photo of Rachel and myself claiming we had “fresh beauty, like you are from Scotland”, spot on my man! I will take my moment of fame, even if it is in a slightly creepy way.