Close but Unknown Country, Russia
Close but Unknown Country, Russia
  • Kee Seong Eun-hye 기자
  • 승인 2008.05.10 21:51
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  Russia is one of the closest countries to Korea after China and Japan.  However, most people hardly know anything about Russia besides famous information such as ballet, harsh weather, and big territories.  So the Sookmyung Times met Vlady (28), a Russian student at Lingua Express in Sookmyung Women’s University, to give you more information about Russia.



The Cold Country, Russia’s Winter Season
Usually people think that Russia has very cold weather.  It is true but due to its large size, there are many differences in the winter season and degrees of coldness.  In my case, my hometown, Khabarovsk, has winter for four and a half months.  However in the northern cities, winter is much longer than in my hometown.  Even though the weather is cold, people go outside in winter as well as in other seasons but they always wear long fur overcoats, gloves, hats, and fur boots to be ready for the chilly wind.  



Russians enjoy skiing in the winter season just as Koreans do.   Also, they really like fishing because there are many rivers, so it’s convenient to do.   They go on picnics, too.  Usually on the weekend, Russians visit country houses with their families, eat barbecued food and have a great time.  Especially, people of my mother’s generation raise tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes and other vegetables at their country houses, because buying vegetables is difficult during winter, so people grow them themselves and preserve vegetables by pickling.




Education, Making Russians Cultured
As a child, I often went to the theater, about three times a month with my school, and once a month with my family.  When a famous ballet or performance team from Moscow or St. Petersburg came to Khabarovsk, I surely went to see them with my parents.  Because my hometown was far from the big city which frequently staged famous performances, we rarely got the opportunity to see those kinds of performances there.  The performance I remember the best is composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s ‘Swan Lake.’



In Russia, family members talk about the performance after they watch it together.  In my case, I also had these kinds of discussions with my parents.  When I was young, I could only say, “It is funny and interesting.”  However, in every performance, there was a hidden meaning which my parents knew already, so they asked me some questions about the symbolic meaning.  That way, I got an idea about the performance.  After I grew up, I could understand the performances by myself.  Moreover, I could catch other meanings that my parents did not find.  




Depending on their Faith in God
When Russians face difficult problems, they go to church because they believe that God listens to their prayers and will solve their problems. When they have worries about the future, they also go to church and pray to God.  There are candles and famous people’s pictures such as Jesus Christ, Mary and Saint Nicolas in the churches.  If I want to pray for my parents’ health, I stand in front of one picture, put down my candle and pray.  If I have lost a close friend and I want to pray for her, I stand in front of another picture.  Like this, every picture has a different meaning, so people come up to the one picture which has a meaning which is close to their situation and pray. 




A Precious Relationship, Friends
Russians really think about their friends and get along with them.  Not only on the weekend but also on weekdays, they surely meet their friends.  Also, they often meet their friends’ family members.  Two families spending a weekend at a country house is a very common situation in Russia.  In contrast with Koreans, Russians like to visit their friend’s houses and spend time there.  It can seem strange to Koreans who always meet their friends outside. 




Delivering Russian's Mind with Presents
One good Russian custom is giving presents to important people.  Russians really like to give presents so this custom continues to this day.   Besides on birthdays or Christmas, whenever they want, Russians give surprise presents to their loved ones.  They may not be expensive but reflect the giver’s mind.  In my opinion people were influenced to do this by education.  I made flowers and toys for my parents when I was a kindergarten pupil because my teacher taught me to give something to others.  That education made me love giving presents. 




Trans-Siberian Railroad, Helping People Travel Russia
If people who don’t know anything about Russia take the Trans-Siberian Train, they will come to know Russia very well.  Through this means of travel, they can see many different regions of Russia with their own eyes.  Also, they can meet various kinds of people on the train.  Every two or three hours, the train stops and rests for an hour.  At this time, people can walk around the town, visit famous places, and eat some food.  If someone travels on this train on their own, it may be a little dangerous but also a very interesting experience. 



For me, St. Petersburg is the most memorable city in my mind.  It’s totally different from my home town.  It’s a very old city.  All the buildings are famous for their names.  Here is Tchaikovsky’s house and there is Pushkin’s house.  Every house seems to be a house in which famous people lived!  When I walked there, I could feel ‘history’ all around me.

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