Anniversaries, the looming start of the football season and knock, knock who’s there?

So far today has been one of those very few ‘perfect’ days, and seeing as Spurs aren’t playing till tomorrow nothing can seemingly ruin the day! I’ve just got off the phone with one set of wonderful grandparents who are today celebrating 56 years of wonderful married life together (if you listen to Grandma), or 56 years of constant torment (if you listen to Grandad). My other grandparents have also celebrated just their 56th wedding anniversary last week and it’s been wonderful to catch up with them as well – they have just enjoyed a trip back to Cambridge and are enjoying life as much as ever! It’s been lovely to hear from four of the most important role models in my life, and be able to just quickly thank them for all that they have done for me over the years, and to know that they are still thinking about me and praying for me from the other side of the world. Congratulations to you both!

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The pitch a couple of weeks ago – thankfully there isn’t as much snow left!

Here in Russia, the sun is shining and the weather is great, the temperature is just below freezing but I’ve become pretty accustomed to the cold. I’ve just been told by my team captain that tomorrow we are getting ready for the start of the outdoor football season by cleaning the first team pitch. There’s still a bit of snow and ice kicking about and the ground is currently a little too hard to play on but it’s very exciting none the less!

I’ve also just submitted my ‘essay proposal’ form – a whole two days before the deadline! One of the requirements from Bristol whilst I am on my year abroad is to write a 3,500 word essay in Russian. The title that I’ve gone for is ‘В какой степени политические, социальные и экономические последствия Олимпийских игр в России положительных?’ For those of you who don’t study Russian/are too lazy to use Google translate (works like a dream) this translates as something like “To what extent was the political, social and economic impact of the Olympic Games in Russia positive?” If my title’s approved, one of the most interesting aspects of the essay will be looking at the different portrayals of the games in the Western World and in Russia – comments from you all would be much appreciated!

Another question has come up which I thought would be quite interesting to write about – ‘what is Russian humor like?’ Admittedly most of the time, the answer to this question is ‘non-existant’, however thinking more carefully about it I feel as though this would be doing a disservice to most Russian people. During training the other day, I was talking about Russian humor with some of the boys who told me that during the Communist Era humor used to be used to help people get through the day. This mainly came in the form of ‘anecdotes’ one or two liners that had a witty punchline undermining the establishment I think most of us would find quite funny – below are two passably amusing jokes that were popular during the Communist Era (and probably will be in Uncle Jon’s household for the next 6 months):

A Russian, a Frenchman and an Englishman were arguing about Adam’s nationality. The Englishman said “Of course Adam was English – he gave his only apple to Eve like a real gentleman. The Frenchman said, “Don’t be ridiculous Adam was French! Look how passionately he made love to Eve!” Whilst the two of them were arguing the Russian quietly said, “Adam has to be Russian. Who else, possessed nothing but an apple, walked around naked, still believed he was in a paradise?”

Two men were in a Gulag together sharing a cell. One asked the other, “what did you do to end up in here, was it a political crime?” The other replied. “Of course it was political. I’m a plumber and they summoned me to the District Party committee to fix the sewage pipes. I looked and said, ‘Hey, the entire system requires replacement.’ So, they gave me seven years.”

I’ll leave you with the beautiful view from my front door this morning – hope your Saturday is going as well as mine!

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