Sabtu, 11 Februari 2012

Babs: Not to be messed with.

Right now I'm sure you're all aware of the political furore surrounding Putin's presidential campaign. This would lead us to believe that it is the politicians that are in charge in Russia and that they are the ones who govern the people.


It is the babushkas.

These women are afraid of no-one.
They think nothing of informing strangers on the metro that they are dressed inappropriately - I remember my friend in Moscow being told off by a babushka for wearing Ugg boots when it wasn't winter.
They do not put up with time wasters - they would regularly push infront of me in the supermarket queue when I was taking too long.
They DO NOT need a man's help - more than once I've seen a little old lady carrying hundreds of bags at train stations and refusing help from young men.

Basically, they don't let anybody mess with them. For all his bare chested horseback riding, deep sea diving and matcho judo playing, I doubt Putin would ever dare take on an irrate babushka.

Babushkas have a certain look. To pull off your own babushka chic simply wear thick socks with all your shoes (even sandals in the summer), a below the knee floral skirt, a big baggy top and (of course) a scarf over your head.

(Thanks for the picture Toby.)
What my friends and I never understood is when exactly Russian women become babushkas. It is a fact (not a stereotype, a fact) that Russian women are beautiful. I've lived there, there is seriously something in the water. So when do these beautiful women become scarf wearing babushkas? Is there a time in every Russian woman's life when she morphs into a babushka?!

Joking aside, the babushkas may seem a simple source of easy humour but if you ever live in Russia for a bit it is more than likely that your khozaika (landlady) will be one. Then you will see that behind their tough exterior, the babushkas will really, truly care for you in their home. I guarantee you will never leave their home hungry.

Plus, they are the inspiration for one of my favourite Russian things....

Some of my collection :)

Rabu, 08 Februari 2012

Sabtu, 04 Februari 2012


WELL, today there has been drama in the UK. The worst has happened. It is likely that the economy is going to collapse (again) and basically our lives will have to be put on hold because the enemy is back...

It has snowed.

The fact that it has SNOWED is actually the second biggest news story on the BBC News website. If there is anything that the UK is not equipped for, it is snow. When it snows we cannot leave our house for fear of cars skidding, public transport failing and falling flat on our faces sliding all over the pavements.

Now if there is one thing that Russia is prepared for, it is snow. When it snowed in my second year of university naturally everyone skived their lessons... presumably their legs all stopped working due to the snow, as we only lived a 15 minute walk away from uni. However all the Russian Studies students received an e-mail from our teacher saying, "Our Russian class is still on today. In Russia, snow is not a reason for skiving." She was right - I'm sure all my Russian friends will agree that if they told their teachers they could not come into class because of 10cm of snow they would be in serious trouble!

I remember when it started snowing for the first time during my year abroad in Moscow. I was walking along Tverskaya with some friends and as soon as there was the first hint of snow loads of "snow mobiles" (road gritters or whatever they're called) appeared from nowhere. Their summer of hibernation was over and they were back to clear the roads and keep Russia moving!

The UK however is not so ready. The half hour of snowfall that Huddersfield had today has already affected my life. We were supposed to be going out for a meal for my Grandma's birthday tonight but because Huddersfield is a town of hills it is never a good idea to drive in the snow so we had to cancel. There is literally a tiny smattering of snow and yet I know from experience that our car will just not cope!

When I came home from Russia for Christmas in 2009 I had left a country where it was -20°C and metres of snow lined the pavements, to arrive in a country where it was -3°C and had around 10cm of snow. Russia was running as usual and England was in chaos. As soon as we British hear a mere mention of snow we panic. Tonight as I browse through (stalk people on) Facebook all I can see are status' (statuses? stati?... someone needs to clear this plural up for me) about how everyone's plans had been ruined because of the snow. I'm to blame too... I'll admit that tonight when I first saw a drop of snow I immediately worried about my boyfriends safety in getting home from work... he was unfazed as 1. he is a boy and so does not worry about a silly little thing like snow and 2. he was wearing Doc Martens.

Anyway, I'll leave you with Charlie Brooker's hilarious "report" on snow from 2010.