It’s amazing what you can learn if you’re open and enquiring – I don’t necessarily mean nosy, but maybe interested. My daughter always finds it funny when I get into conversation with people, I guess I’m a friendly person and always want to have even a fleeting relationship with someone, say at a bus stop or in a queue or sitting opposite on a train, or standing at the bar waiting to be served! I don’t want to pry into people’s personal or private lives, I’m just interested in what people think, even if it’s only an opinion on the weather!
Like many people I’m on Instagram, and it’s amazing how many people I’ve connected with because as well as ‘liking’ their photos I comment and ask about them. There’s a lady in Finland and we have become’friends’ and I’m learning a lot about her country, the fact she lives by a ‘sealed forest’. Her home looks remote and so different from our bricks, tiles and mortar houses. She shares photos of dishes she cooks, of her Christmas decorations, of the fruit and berries she and her family collect and then the jams, jellies and syrups she makes!
I have become fascinated by the vast region of Siberia; there are many photographers who share stunning images of this vast and varied place, its people and wildlife. This is what Wikipedia says about Siberia:
Siberia is an extensive geographical region, constituting all of North Asia, from the Ural Mountains in the west to the Pacific Ocean in the east. It has been a part of Russia since the latter half of the 16th century, after the Russians conquered lands east of the Ural Mountains. Siberia is vast and sparsely populated, covering an area of over 13.1 million square kilometres (5,100,000 sq mi), but home to merely one-fifth of Russia’s population.
The name has disputed origins but may mean ‘sleeping land’, which is rather beautiful. Traditionally it was a lace to which people were exiled, and again Wikipedia says: ‘the climate of Siberia varies dramatically, but it typically has short summers and long, brutally cold winters. On the north coast, north of the Arctic Circle, there is a very short (about one month long) summer.
To get back to what i was saying originally, I follow quite a few professional and everyday photographers, and often comment on their images which are inspirational as well as fascinating. There was a photo on the Siberian Times Instagram of some children playing in the snow in the Ust-Aldasky district of Yakutia. It was -48º C, yes, minus forty-eight degrees C! About seven hundred young students were away from school as they don’t have to attend if the air temperature drops to -45º C. The comment was that although they didn’t have to attend lessons, they didn’t seem to be in any hurry to rush home!
I said I couldn’t even imagine how cold that was, I really can’t! it seems jolly here today at 4º C!! A friendly lady replied to me ‘It’s almost anabious for me in -27º / -30º in the south of Russia! And -48º C it’s Russian AVOS!!!!’ I was interested in her reply for a couple of reasons and also because of these two new words, anabious and avos… what do they mean? What was she saying? I think she meant anabiosis, suspended animation – well, I get that! I think much of my animation would be suspended at nearly fifty degrees below freezing! So what about avos… well that’s even more interesting, and hello again to Wikipedia:
The Russian avos – авось, describes a philosophy of behavior, or attitude, of a person who ignores possible problems or hassles and, at the same time, expects or hopes for no negative results or consequences. It is an attitude that treats life as unpredictable and holds that the best one can do is count on luck.
Avos means roughly ‘maybe’, or ‘perhaps’, or ‘I hope so’. It can also means with any or pure luck, pure luck, and also to have an almost illogical trust or belief in something, like ‘blind faith.’ So it could be a good and optimist thing – being resilient and tough, or a more pessimistic, fatalistic attitude and making little effort to do anything about whatever the woeful situation they are in. Many believe this fatalism is just part of the Russian character, but as Russia is such a large and varied country and made up of so many different peoples, that must be more than a bit of a generalisation!
So not only have I made contact with an interesting person, I’ve leaned about Siberia, ultra cold weather, anabiosis and avos!
If you want to find me o Instagram, here I am: https://www.instagram.com/locoimloco