I will start by sharing the link to an episode that the Irish TV made after interviewing me last season in the theatre. (Ignore when they say that we are students in a school… sigh). Here’s the link below. Choose the episode, ‘Hector O Siberia O go Saigon’ and skip to 20mins to see my flatmate Paolo and I introduce you to the Novosibirsk theatre! The whole episode is solid entertainment though, if you have the time.
Yes, the footage was taken a while back – in february or march I believe, but it is finally broadcast and was worth the wait! Don’t tell me that you don’t have an opinion after listening to his gaelic language… it really is something my ears hadn’t previously experienced. I had no idea how much would be put into the one episode – all I know is that they took quite alot of footage of us – it’s crazy how much they cut when creating programs like this! The whole episode is quite interesting to be honest – I learnt new factsabout Tomsk and Novosibirsk… and Hector is an absolute crack up! It also gave a bit of a feel of the Irish culture, when he switches between languages. I remember the first time he was interviewing me and I was showing backstage – he suddenly changed to Gaelic language as he spoke to the camera. A shock and a half!
It’s days like these when I am grateful for the experience of living in Siberia. I mean, how many places are there in the world where you can see the seasons change so dramatically? (The photos above were taken on my morning walk to work, how cute are the little mushrooms on the trees!) The snow has started falling and it’s given me an excuse to begin wearing my favourite maroon fur coat which I bought second hand last year – I’d say of of the best buys of my life so far. This morning I discovered an even more wonderufl thing about it. As I was walking to the theatre, snow was floating down around me and as I looked down could see the little, individual snowflakes (snezhinki) accumulating on the fur at my collar. If you touch them, the heat of your finger immediatly melts them, but a they settled on the purple fur, the perfect symmetrical flakes stood out against the dark purple. Perhaps I’m crazy, but it was mesmerising. I’m any of the locals who noticed my fascination thought I was bonkers. Growing up with this snowfall, I assume for most the novelty wears off after childhood (I accidentally typed ‘chillhood’ but that’s quite relevant)! Anyway, the snow is beautiful and the temperature isn’t too cold at the moment – sitting around 0. Considering that next week its meant to be -20, I’m making the most of this small, blessed period!
Yesterday was a good example of a day in my current life. I woke up to a city covered in a blanket of pure white. I believe it will stay there until March! Just grow in height, inches at a time. After class and rehearsals in the morning, I showed one of the new international girls where to find a fabric shop so she could buy chiffon to make ballet skirts. There were the most beautiful patterns. She chose a dark blue with flowers on and strands of gold threaded through. It was a hard decision between that and a lighter, summery fabric which we both fell in love with. I bought the summery one (it made us homesick for summer dresses) and she said she’d show me how to make one! We then headed to the lone, small ‘grishko’ ballet shop of Novosibirsk to buy ballet flats for class. I will admit that the selection is rather petty in comparison to Bloch or Freed. But then again we are in the middle of nowhere. Next, I had time, so headed to the markets where I bought some little wool socks for my friends new baby and was convinced by a babushka (old lady) to try some of her marinated produce on display. I was actually on a determined hunt to find vanilla sticks, as my vanilla essence (which is also impossible to find here… how do the russian survive!) supply is depleting and I want to make some of my own, but the mission was waylayed by other discoveries. The babushka led me to purchase something that she said was something related to a mushroom but didn’t look the part, marinated asparagus (‘sparsh’, very popular here and I do like it), as well as roasted eggplant ‘baklazhan’ marinated with garlic ‘chesnok’ and pepper. After these purchases she still insisted that I try her different types of marinated cabbage (how many types of cabbage are there?!) and she asked me which was my favourite so she could throw it in as a present (podarok). When I went to pay with 1000rubles (about a $20 note), there was a little bit of a delay because neither she or her neighbouring stallholders had enough change. That goes to show how cheap purchases generally are. Eventually she returned with the correct change ‘zadacha’, consisting of some 10ruble notes, which are only really found at the markets now as only 10ruble coins are produced nowadays (definitely more practical. The money is all paper unlike Aus, and rips so easily).
Here is a photo of the strange ‘mushroom’ that I bought from the lady at the markets! You could say I was game! It doesn’t have much taste, but a sort of crunchy texture, like seaweed. We found out what it is – here’s the link! Tremella mushroom
My next discovery was a little asian shop in the area of the markets. After one year in Novosibirsk, I never found a packet of miso paste larger than 20gm. FINALLY, there it was! And so I now have 1kg of miso paste sitting in my fridge… it was the smallest quantity they had. I think it’s fair to say that a few of my guests may be treated to miso soups!! Another favourite of mine at the markets are the chocolate whole roasted pecans. They are roasted and mysteriously taste like chocolate, I’m not kidding. I still have some in my dressing room. They’ve only lasted so long because they are still in their shells and a bugger to open. Especially if you’ve got into the habit of getting a manicure. Call me indulgent if you like.
Last month I had my premiere in ‘Per Gynt’ where I danced ‘Crazy house’ (Guess which photo that is) and the ‘Moroccan dance’. I had always watched this ballet and wanted to be a part of it, but in my first season there was always a full cast and therefore I wasn’t written on the cast list until now!
Another thing to mention – the stage has been cold lately because they’re doing lots of renovations around the theatre building. Yesterday we had two shows of Cinderella and there was a slight draft side stage and on stage! Crazy, crazy. I guess if they don’t do it now it will be far too cold soon! Also, there are men on the scaffolding outside our dressing room window so when you’re doing your makeup before a show there is always knocking on the other side of the wall! They don’t rest, like us! Ahah, the shops are always open in Russia, it’s nothing like Norway where it’s impossible to find anything open on Sunday and you can’t buy alcohol after midday! They have 24hr everything – pharmacies, nail salons, flower shops, supermarkets (of course). One thing my friend said they don’t have though – banana bread! I need to bake this beauty and introduce it to the girls in the theatre – how can you live without trying, I don’t understand. The russian’s have some strange traditions. Talking about cold, I was walking to work the other day when I went to take out my plastic retainer (yes, I still wear it) and as I took it, it promptly snapped in half because the plastic had because so brittle when it had frozen! Now that’s a new excuse for my dentist to say I can’t wear it anymore! I also noticed that by the bus stop there are little sand boxes, or that’s what the look like. I wonder if they’re to take the snow off you’re boots. If anyone knows, please enlighten me about this!
Above is a video and photo from the show, ‘Cipollino’ today! It was the premiere for our two new Japanese soloists.
Random thought. My friend mentioned the other day that Dumbledore in Harry Potter is meant to be gay. Am I the only one who didn’t pick up on this at all? She mentioned something about the fact that perhaps Russia won’t let it play here because of that fact. Sad truth of how homophobia is treated in (not so) modern countries.
I’ll leave you with this photo of me in the middle of Krasny Prospect today – the longest street in the world. It was a holiday for most people so they shut of the road, a rare occurence! (No snow has settled because of the cars).