With a little bit of trepidation, I agreed to get on a boat with a new friend, Olga (I don’t even know her last name), and travel 2 1/2 hours up the Volga to her home in Zol’noye, a small town (I would call it a village) right on the riverbank, where people live quiet, peaceful lives away from the noise, heat, and general stress of the big city.
My trepidation had two facets–one, that Olga speaks NO English. Zero. That put the burden on me to communicate and comprehend. No easy task, I guarantee you. And she LOVES to talk. The other facet was just not having any idea what to expect. What I did know was that in our two or three previous meetings, she had been a super sweet, open, and generous person. Also carrying some hurts — especially concerning her son, Maxim, who has relapsed badly into his drug addiction. Ugh.
Anyway, as it turned out, I had nothing to fret over. Yes, my Russian was horrible, but she made the best of it. Even when I didn’t fully understand her, she pressed on. She showed me around her village, shared the bounty of her garden with me, and gave me her room to sleep in (because no mosquitoes had made their way in there.) I thought I’d share some pictures of this delightful, PEACEFUL, and restorative time with you. It was absolutely what I needed now that I’m halfway through my time in Samara.
We stopped at the local market for ice cream bars. (It’s never too early for ice cream, right?) Then proceeded past the “Palace of Culture” to the fish market.
After making our purchase, we walked back to her place along the edge of the river.
All too soon it was time for me to leave on the 2:15 river taxi. Olga and her neighbor, Sveta, stood on the shore and waved until the boat was no longer in sight. Cuz that’s what you can do when you live in Zol’noye.
This SOOOO reminds me of life in Jocotepec. An excellent essay and foto album!
thank you Deen-0. Glad to know you are following my adventures. Hope to make it to Jocotepec soon and experience your life as a foreigner there.
Cathi Fagan says
Absolutely pure delight!!! That’s good stuff all around! Happy for you Jeanette ( :
Lora Dawes says
Loved this post, one of the best. It just totally captured your experience and put me there. Thank you for the restful vacay in the middle of my work day. I could smell the river and taste the fish.
Awe. I absolutely adore the picture of her before scaling the fish. She seems so happy and beaming with pride too. I didn’t know you back then, but Your trepidation about the language barrier had me thinking of your very first trip to Russia. I wondered if this visit with Olga was in anyway similar to your first time in Russia. I hope you are well my friend. Blessings on ya too Jeanette, Timbo
Yes, she was excited about preparing this fish for me. (As was I excited about her doing so!) As for comparing this trepidation with my first year(s) – I can’t say it compared at all. When I first came to Russia, I couldn’t say much of anything, but had an interpreter with me most of the time. I never went ANYWHERE alone – and always used a private driver to go back and forth to meetings and home visits. This visit was a cake-walk compared to those earlier years. Now, I don’t feel like a guest here–but more like I belong, albeit a temporary belonging.
tom gaddis says
Thanks Jeanette for sharing these pics. You’re awesome to do the unscheduled and flow with the day. This dear lady will never forget the love you showed her by accepting her invite. We miss you. love tg
Yes, God definitely blessed this meeting.