Life in the city is very different to life in the country side.Andrey and I are used to wide open spaces where we live in Santa Rosa de Calamuchita. We have a large garden and a beautiful view of the mountains.We often comment on the peaceful and quiet life we live outside the big city.
We are living in the apartment of Andrey`s sister in Kaliningrad for the duration of our stay in Russia. The building is new and the apartments small. We calculated not more than 25 m2. It is small but comfortable. The size however is not the problem – the neighbours and noise get to us at times. It takes some time to get used to hearing every movement the neighbours make, especially the guy who starts drilling at 7am in the morning.
Most apartments don`t have gardens. Some new apartments have a patch of land and some of the older Babushkie (Grandmothers) take a corner and start planting flowers. It is nice to see.I miss my early morning cup of coffee underneath my favourite tree.
Every morning we walk 1km to the bus stop from where we take a bus to the centre of the city. From there we cross the main street and take another bus to the house of Andrey`s mom. The bus ride takes about 30 minutes. Most days the ride is a nightmare. Kaliningrad has exploded over the last couple of years and there are too many cars and too little space. Every day we sit in traffic jams or an accident blocks the road. We are so used to nipping out with the scooter and never have traffic jams.
Using public transport in Russia is challenging for a foreigner. People working on the buses, trains and trams are not friendly. They don`t like it when you don`t have change and they are plainly rude. Andrey and I have joked and said that they must be attending a special school for unfriendliness. The first time when I visited Russia, this attitude got me down, but this time I have been prepared and now I can only laugh.
Life in the city is very different but it is also fun. You see many different people, more of the city and you appreciate what you have. At this stage I love comparing life in Argentina and South Africa to life in Russia. I make mental notes of the differences and what I like and don`t like. It is interesting. It is also fun doing it with Andrey. We have many laughs and we both have the ability to see the humour in a situation that is not always funny.
City life has it`s advantages. You can find anything in the city and don`t need to go very far. In Argentina we need to drive 90 kms to the closest city. The city has so many photo opportunities and there is always something happening. Theatre,Opera and ballet are easily available – that is wonderful.
I am hoping to explore more of the city in the next couple of weeks. It will be interesting to see how I feel about it after 3 months.