#Update from the cabin of my youth. This is not the first and hopefully not the last time I’m here. This cabin belongs to my best friend’s mom and I have many memories from it, of dinners, sleepovers and parties. Like this lovely photo from 2021:
Since I dug up that old photo album, I might as well share some other pics from it as well. This is the gang from that time:
I got to go to Ulyanovsk for the fairytale wedding I wrote about previously. It was a get-in-get-out operation. I would have loved staying longer, but since I had business to attend in Norway, I only got one day to explore the city of Lenin.
It was originally named Simbirsk, but was renamed in the honor of Vladimir Lenin (born Ulyanov), after his death in 1924. Simbirsk was also the birthplace of another famous Russian revolutionary, Alexander Kerensky, who’s government was actually overthrown by Lenin in the October Revolution. It’s interesting to think about how two such prominent political figures of that time came from the same city.
Ulyanovsk lies 850 kilometers southwest of Moscow, along the bank of Volga, the longest river in Europe. Volga is widely regarded as the national river of Russia and the historic cradle of the Russian state. Volga’s immense economic, cultural and historic importance, rank it among the world’s great rivers.
The time was short, but I got to buy a magnet and I made this video (in Russian):
This is great for many reasons. Personally, I appreciate the fact that I got to visit a new city and that I got to be a wedding guest for the first time in my life. Somehow I missed the weddings of my Russian friends because of travels and exams (everyone I know over there got married in the beginning of those summers when I was studying), while none of my Norwegian friends have tied the knot yet. I keep waiting for my childhood bestie Ida to get married to her baby’s father, but she insists they need to buy a house first. I began suspecting that I might never get to go a wedding, toast and cry for the bride and groom, and do all the other stuff that I’ve seen in films… I started thinking that maybe my time to be a “wedding guest just like in the movies” is past, because all the people who intended to get married, did it in their early twenties – and the rest will probably never “get out the finger” (GOTF = a fine Norwegian idiom for getting shit done).
Then came the invitation! To Ulyanovsk, of all places! I’ll tell more about this interesting city in another entry, let’s focus on the wedding for now.
The family of the groom rented Imperial Club Deluxe, a five star hotel with it’s own park and a scenic man-made lake. Apparently most couples of Ulyanovsk come to this park to get their wedding photos taken, but the fewest actually rent the whole place for the whole wedding. The plans for this wedding corresponded with all the wedding movies I’ve ever seen, with many invited guests, a big reception and fireworks. Hearing all this, I happily agreed to get styled by a professional make up artist on the morning of he wedding. If you only get one chance at being a wedding guest, you better do it right. This is how I ended up looking like a princess for the occasion:
It’s funny to think about that when I was living together with Nina, she felt that she had to move away from Alta to find love. She had spent a total of nine years in this little arctic city and believed love could never happen to her there. After our period as roomies, she actually did move to a much larger city, but she met her husband while living in Alta. They met abroad, but it happened while Nina still lived with me. I remember picking him up at Alta airport a couple of years ago when he came on a visit. Who would have thought I’d end up going to their wedding!
The moral of the story: Love can find you no matter where you live 😉
Because my career is taking a turn. I’m leaving a safe, interesting and well-paid job. I love being a journalist.
What are you going to do now?
I’m going to promote an organization that supports all kinds of cooperation between the people who live in the north of Norway and Russia, helping in developing this region. It’s a two-year contract.
Why do you want to do that?
Because I have a soft heart exactly those things: Cooperation, love, peace and the collective happiness of (the world, actually – and of course) northern citizens. Moving up north four years ago is the greatest adventure of my life. I was born in Russia, but I grew up in Norway. Now I live right next to the border between these two but the world seems borderless. Working for an organization that funds cool projects in this region, all focused on international border-crossing friendship, seems like a dream. I feel ready and inspired by this challenge.
Well, congratulations on getting the job.
Because my career is taking a….
I have to interrupt you. We’ve been over this already. Everything will be fine.