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Russia blog: R+ in Moscow & the Rules for Good Health here!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Welcome to my second Russian blog friends! Since it has been about a month since my last entry I thought it might be nice to catch you up on teaching, staying healthy and overall life here in Russia while I have a spare moment (my students are eating lunch!)

I am going to devote a little bit of this entry to the amazing Rammstein (my second favourite band) concert I saw in Moscow last Saturday…if that doesn’t interest you too much just skip/skim what is written between the German flags (LOL!)

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I am so tired but what an awesome day (yes literally less than 24 hours) and show were ::Incredible:: in Moskau! I figured since I am American and just moved to Russia two months ago I could share a really unique pespective...

I flew just yesterday morning from a city called Kazan to Moscow. Hehe!! the fun started with my plane ticket which literally said: `10:10 Board Till`--- all the awesomely dirty thoughts that ran accross my mind! I was stuck in lovely Moscow traffic with my hostel cab driver for an hour and half but when I arrived the staff all remembered! `So you are back for Rammstein!? They helped me locate the ticket agency when I first arrived to Russia two months ago and were very genuinely happy to see me back and excited for me.

Concert time...

Expats who live in Moscow all advised me that I should arrive at the Olimpiskiiy Stadium at least an hour ahead of time since both shows had sold out and I might need extra time to get sorted as I cannot speak (just read) Russian. I arrived thirty minutes before I thought doors were to open only to find that it was actually an hour to wait!

No issue right? Haha, not so in -23 (around -16 farenheight) and snow! No matter though, I grew up in Wisconsin/Montana and went to school in Minnesota...I can handle it People were waiting in about six huge lines outside the venue. The police, who are very intimidating dressed in blue camo and big fuzzy blue hats were yelling periodically for people to move away from the busy street. Russian or not everyone was turning red and jumping around to stay warm! I was so nervous I might be standing in the wrong line or something so without expecation I said to the guy standing ahead of me: `Angliski?` or `English?` Not only did he speak English he spoke fantastic English and was incredibly warm and happy. This might not seem like such a big deal to you, but many Russians, especially stressed out and freezing Moscowvites, when compared to Americans and some other Europeans are not friendly at all We talked about everything to stay warm and it turns out that he had studied one year in Germany and was a long time fan like me. LOL to take his mind off the weather he periodically sang `Raaaamstein` with that famous rolling R (naturally occurs in Russian language) and began singing `we`re all living in Amerika...` laughing I replied `I do!!` he and his friend began laughing uncontrably with me.... Not so ironically at some point when we were talking, to get to another line a police officer PUSHED directly at me to get through...luckily we were able to laugh that off too as distinct Moscow behaviour!

After about an hour something was announced and all the sudden everyone moved right to enter the venue and some people began hysterically running to one of the three entrances. I assume they had pit tickets!! It was facinating to see people run on thick layers of ice and powdery snow with huge leaps like their life depended on it!

Getting arranged in the venue was way, way easier than I thought it was going to be. Security seemed patient when they realised I didn`t speak Russian. I had to go through twice as I had a big bag with me. In Russia foreigners are officially required to carry their passport and visa (or registration for visitors) with them at all times. The police or these really scary looking dudes called `Militsa` who wear old school Soviet uniforms with giant hats can demand to see your documents at anytime and if you don`t have them or just because they want to (bribe) can fine you on the spot anywhere from 20- 300 dollars! Similarily, you might be wondering why there are no concert pics...because my phone doesn`t have a camera and my ticket said distinctly no cameras...and here you don`t break the rules given the crazy police presence everywhere! People were allowed to take pics on their phones however.

Not too much to say about the opening act, I believe they are from Sweden but poor all opening acts nobody seemed to listen or care too much! I think they did a great job actually...but due to the audio I could only start to decipher the English songs...I doubt many of the Russian crowd had an idea.

Rammstein time!

...So this is the best part but the part that I don`t want to spoil for anyone! So I`ll stick to what the highlights were for me.

Their entrance was insane! I thought they were going to be on the platform lowering from the ceiling but out of nowhere a giant spotlight hit towards the side of the crowd not far from where I was and you could see the band walking very solomnly in solid formation. Till carried a giant fire torch, Richard a giant German flag, Paul a Russian flag and the others followed suit. When they reached the stage the stadium went dark for a moment before the countdown at the beginning of `Sonne` started...!

My favourite song live has always been `Du Reichst so Gut` and though I knew what to expect of course it didn`t dissappoint. Of all the pyrotechnics I love most of all the giant fire wand Till thrashes about in the beginning. Hehe! I also had a huge laugh at the solo spotlight Richard got for `Jetzt Ich habe dich!`

It`s one thing to watch `Feuer Frei` recorded...another to see it live! Even if you know in the back of your mind they`re going to wear breathing fire masks while`s so incredible to see with your own eyes and naturally proves the instense showmanship has!

Through out the show I couldn`t help but to notice a family situated close to me. The boy, around 13 years old of course was going nuts! ...and so was his Mom! They made me smile the entire time because it reminded me of my first Rammstein concert when I was that age and I went with my brother (who is one year younger than me!) and a group of friends. It was so sweet to watch this family, the Mom and son sway together during `Mutter.` I also loved the shower of sparks Till stands under towards the end of that song.

I wasn`t anticipating that they would play either `Mann Gegen Mann` or `Mein Hartz Brennt` but was surprised! Both of those live were stunning...and not gonna lie...there`s something incredibly fun shouting in unison `Schwulah!` with couple thousand Russians. Don`t be offended readers, if you are familiar with that song you know this word is being used ironically.

Being lame I had a bit of a cry at `Ohne Dich` as it always reminds me of my (maternal) Grandfather who passed away in 2006, his family came to America from Germany, I have always loved the lyric `...Und die vogel singen nicht mehr.` which makes me think of when he left us...beautiful song.

`Buck Dich` was just as deliciously perverted as it was when I saw Rammstein back in the late 90`s! If not more there anything more delictable than Till & Co crawling accross that bridge?! Hehe and Frau Schneider...awesome.

No spoilers here...I bet you can guess the encore...`Moskau!` Rammstein taught me the first bit of Russian I would need to know even if I didn`t know it at the time!

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Obviously I am doing pretty well here in Russia! Unless you are in some parts of Canada/far north USA you probably don’t experience the cold we do here on a daily basis. Despite the tundra friendly temperatures I have been staying quite healthy and optimistic here by following a couple of basic life style rules:

a.) Sleep is serious business: Outside of Russia if I occasionally got only 5 or so hours I could be ok. Here anything less than say seven and I start to feel it, given the nature of my job chasing kids and on my feet all day if I don’t sleep enough I cannot be the best teacher possible. Full stop. Given that the sun doesn’t rise until 8:30 on a good day this can be tough but my health thanks me. Also, if placing a workout later in the day than intended gets me an extra hour of needed sleep….I do it!
b.) Eat simply: I eat throughout the day but small portions and very simple foods. The last time I had anything fried I was able to freely speak English with anyone. Russians are really big on soup in winter and I have found this not only is helping me lose weight pretty quickly and stay light on my feet I have avoided a lot of the illness newly arrived expats get when they first arrive here.
c.) ‘Da’ to an increased carbohydrate intake: coming from a part of the world where it seems so many people are obsessed with a lower carbohydrate intake this sounds funny but yes…I eat more wheat bread here and I am still losing weight and full of energy! I believe, at least for myself, increasing the carbs has given me that boost anyone would need when working with 20 small Russian children…and I am still losing weight.
d.) Everyday a vitamin: at home if I forgot my vitamin for a week or two it didn’t matter too much. In Russia especially during a bitterly cold winter and hanging about with kids who are…hmmm…sometimes not so hygene focused this could be the difference between feeling fine and feeling good.
e.) Laugh a lot and don’t take yourself too seriously: I am a pretty bad singer and used to be pretty shy about it. Now I belt out our circle time song twice on a daily basis! I am finding I am loosening up here…becoming even crazier (in a good way) and adjusting the best I can to the way things are. Russia is not easy---people can be rude, people can be greedy and winter just sucks but if you keep focused on what is important (for me that is the kids) and keep a sense of humour…it’s all “karasho.”

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Lived in russia for 4 years....although it seems longer....would love to converse w/ a native speaker in russian....You might want to try the pimsleur tapes since speaking russian is a goal....of course, you already have the best clerks, taxi drivers....etc. Enjoy the kids! Are you teaching at a K-12 school. We lived in Komsomolsk...on the Amur. I tease my students here (high school) that I saw only two russian men who were fat....and they were on a plane leaving from an extended stay in America!
    3167 days ago
    First off, I am madly jealous!! Not only did you just attend a Rammstein concert, you attended one in Russia!!! And for the record, 'Ohne Dich' gets me every time and 'Mein Hartz Brennt' is one of the songs I crank up and belt out whilst driving in my car (even with passengers, and I can't sing, hehe)

    Secondly, I'm glad to hear you are adjusting so well to life there. Keep up the great work!
    3295 days ago
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    Love that you are enjoying life and thank you for keeping us Posted ...Hugs Susie emoticon emoticon
    3302 days ago
    Glad to hear you are doing well and enjoying your experience in Russia.
    3302 days ago
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