January 23, 2011

Большой снег! Bolshai Sneg! Big Snow!

We arrived in Yuzhno very late on the evening of January 13th, 2011.  It was a tad bit chillier than the temperatures in Virginia.  I was able to do a bit of shopping on Friday morning up at the store in Olympia (our neighborhood), but saved the majority of it for Saturday, when Matt and I were planning to head to town.

Then a few things changed.

I was hanging out at Amanda's house that afternoon when all of a sudden she gets a call informing her that the kids are stuck at the school because the main road is closed due to snow.

Um, what?

Sure, it had been snowing that day, but only about half a foot or so...maybe more if you take into account the fierce wind we'd had all day.  Still, not enough for the roads to be closed up here in the cold, cold, north.

We raced around calling everyone who has kids in school, informing all of the Moms that their kids would have to go to town and stay with the Dads at work (there was just a bit of laughing at that plan) and then I quickly came home to tell Galina (our nanny) that she would not be able to get home as the roads were closed and the buses were not running.

Now, I don't speak much Russian, and the little that I learned I did not yet recall as I had only been home one day.  Galina knows a very good amount of English and yet it seemed that the more that I explained things to her the more she looked at me like I was crazy.

Finally she told me "Paige, this little snow.  Not big snow.  Maybe school.  Maybe bus work."  Basically, she thought I had lost it because hello, this was not enough snow to close the roads.  She thought that the school had made some silly decision to not run the buses or something and she promptly put on all of her winter gear and headed up to the security gate, telling me that someone would take her home.

Uh huh.

She was correct, of course.  Apparently there had been an accident of somewhat sizable proportions (as far as how many vehicles were involved, not how damaged they were) and therefore the officials who hold the power closed the road.  This is a normal reaction, when warranted.  They clear the vehicles, then the road, and then all is opened up again.

It just would have been nice to know the accident part of the equation when I was talking to Galina; then perhaps she would not have thought I was looney.

It continued to snow all weekend.  We had about 72 hours of snow total, I believe, and it was fabulous.  The flakes were huge and made for some fabulous snow-filled hours.  The whole place is beautiful because of the snow and it makes for some fun new activities (for us, anyway).

Mama, bolshai sneg!!  Mama, big snow!!

"Do you want to get out?"  "No thanks."

Once you get a bit of melting going on, things can get a little hairy.  The men who spend all summer making things look nice and spreading dirt, mowing lawns, etc. spend the entire winter moving snow.  When the snow on the roof starts to hang over precariously, they get up on the roof and remove it.

They come in through the house, go out through the window, tie themselves off for safety, and proceed to scoop and toss until the roof is cleared...you know, so that it does not fall off and bop you on the head at some inopportune moment.

The snow is still around this weekend (as it never really melts that much all winter) and yesterday we went into town to purchase some sleds.  Matt and Miss Thing hiked up the hill just beside our house and took a run down.  Matt had to go one time all by himself so that Miss Thing could see just what was going to happen with the sled and the snow.

Then they took a trip down together, slipping sideways and getting a bit of snow in their snowsuits.  Miss Thing enjoyed herself, but then informed us that she did not need to have another turn.  In literally those exact words:  "I just have a turn, Mama; I don't need to have another one."

Later that afternoon the first winter street hockey game of the season began.  The men-children get together and play in the street.  No worries, folks, safety glasses are worn, so eyes are safe.

Not that they do much to protect the remainder of their bodies.  To say that a little checking goes on would be an understatement.  In the bottom left of the above photo, you can see our head-boss-man, Mr. Jim, giggling.  This would be because he is the chief mischief-maker.  It IS all in fun, and everyone seemed to have a lot of it.

Of course, Matt can hardly move today, but hey: no pain, no gain...right?

We are all having some fun getting used to to snow.  Miss Thing, since she has never before experienced it, is having the most adjusting to do.  Here is an example of her not quite being able to get up.  The shoes, they just don't always grip like you'd like them to.

Soon she will be able to traverse the snow with ease, but for now it is really a tough job.

Especially if you want to be king of the hill.

The best purchase of the day?  A sled, approximately $100.00 US (things DO cost a tad bit more over here), that allows us to cart Miss Thing around with ease.  Oh, yes.  This is a stroller-replacement vehicle.  She sits, we pull, and we can go anywhere.  At least for now.  Since she weighs 30 pounds, it is a nice workout for the legs as well.

Of course, pulling her up to the Community Center on this has its perks, mainly in the form of getting to ride it back down to the house.  One adult can fit on here with her, and we've taken quite a few rides.  During out first, we were both giggling like crazy and at one point she shouted "Wheeeeee doggies!!!!!"

Can't wait for the two of us to visit Miss Amanda...should be fun getting there!


Brianne said...

Oh how I miss street hockey!

Britney said...

ahhhh, how awesome!! glad you're enjoying the snow...I don't know that I could say the same...

K.P. said...

That is a LOT of snow. I'm glad you guys are enjoying it. E is so cute! Love a kid in a snow suit. :) Reminds me of The Christmas Story. Thanks for sharing.