Springs Have Sprung

Springs Have Sprung

In most places the first sign of spring is a robin or a green blade of grass or a crocus poking its shy head out of the ground. In Siberia the first sign is a trickle of melting snow. This winter it snowed more than usual, and it has stayed colder longer.   For the...
Siberian Easter

Siberian Easter

Easter, or Pascha, as it’s called in Russian, came early this year. Yet the Siberian winter weather in no way quelled the joyous note. The long-awaited exchange “Christos voskres! Voistinu voskres!” (“Christ is risen!” “He is risen indeed!”) sounded with as much vigor...
Behind Closed Walls

Behind Closed Walls

I’m just about at the end of a three-week reprieve from Siberian winter. Well, sort of a reprieve. I’m in Ukraine, near the city of Odessa, in a village called Usatovo. What am I doing here, you ask? This is the location of a Lutheran seminary where I’ve just finished...
Winter Holidays

Winter Holidays

In America, the colored lights came down long ago. Not so in Novosibirsk. In the still-long nights and dark mornings of February they burn brightly. This is all in celebration of the winter holidays. And no, I’m not using that phrase the way people in the U.S. do so...
Fire!

Fire!

A week ago there was a fire in my apartment building, on the eighth story. There was a lot of smoke. The fire engines and ambulance came. I wasn’t home at the time, but heard about it from the neighbors later. In piecing together the details from various sources, I...
When You’re Right, You’re Right

When You’re Right, You’re Right

In post-Soviet Russia, domestic car brands such as Moskvich and Jiguli have largely given way to imports. There are Ford and Chevrolet factories in Russia now, and these are supposed to have very strong sales. I don’t see all that many Fords and Chevys in Siberia,...
Told You It Gets Cold Here!

Told You It Gets Cold Here!

It’s mid-December, and so there should be no surprise that the temperatures in Siberia are in the double digits below 0. The display here is in degrees Celsius. Most of these temperatures aren’t quite as fierce as they appear, since “0” on this scale is actually +32...
The First Days of Winter

The First Days of Winter

Winter usually comes to Novosibirsk toward the end of October, and this year is no exception. The first snow fell on October 24. These photos look a lot like those I posted of the last snow just six months ago. Before this snow had a chance to disappear (it...