Tuesday, January 5, 2010

с новым годом

с новым годом (S Novim Godom) is Russian for Happy New Year, a phrase I learned in the course of one day. That day, not surprisingly, was New Year's Eve.

On the last afternoon of 2009 I took the elektrishka from Mytischi to Shyolkova and met up with Katerina. We bought some food and booze (several beers, a big bottle of Martini and a bottle of champagne...or was it two bottles?) and went to her house. Her mother was busy chopping and dicing food and Katerina quickly joined her while I mixed orange juice and Martini drinks for the three of us. As is traditional in Russian homes, a seven course meal was laid out for me as a "snack".

Katerina's mother left and Katerina and I drank while Christmas music played on the radio (Moscow has hundreds of radio stations, many of them good, and Relax FM was playing western Christmas tunes interspersed with Bob Marley and bad Russian pop). That evening Mr. Irish, Quagmire and one of Mr. Irish's friends visiting from Ireland, Neva, arrived. They too had booze.

Katerina then cooked up another giant feast consisting of pork and potatoes baked in a peppery Russian sauce, a couple of mayonaise salads, a cheese and kalbasa platter, fruits, vegetables, breads and a bunch of other stuff. After we ate we all drank more.

At ten minutes to midnight Katerina turned on the TV. Then we waited (and drank). Finally we reached the 10 second mark and we all counted down to the New Year. Ten, nine, eight...Quagmire and I 'cheersed'....six, five, four....I grabbed a bottle of champagne to pop...three, two...I noticed that my cell phone said it was already 12:01 but the TV said it was nearly 12:00...one, Happy New Year! Snovim Godom! Kiss kiss cheers cheers drink drink.
President Medvyedev appeard on the television and gave the President's traditional New Year's speech (Russia had a tough year, looking forward to better times this year, yada yada). Then all hell broke loose.

Katerina had warned me that every new year war breaks out across Russia. I wasn't sure what she meant until I witnessed it myself. Despite two layers of drapes across the huge windows in Katerina's room, brilliant flashes of exploding light danced across the walls followed by thunderous explosions. It was as if Hitler's Wermacht had returned to finish the job, or an alien invasion of earth was underway. Katerina seemed thrilled, however, and beckoned us to go outside.

We bundled up, pocketed bottles of booze (Mr. Irish thoughtfully grabbed a bottle of vodka) and went out to the firing line. All around us there was a dazzling display of fireworks. With the heavy white snow that covered everything reflecting the fireworks (salut in Russian) like a giant disco-ball, we were all suddenly as giddy as school children. Giggling and frolicking in the snow as the sky above was torn apart by colourful explosions, we slid and walked to a nearby park which seemed to be the nexus point of the barrage. It was packed with people and in the center of the park a group of young men were lighting giant industrial-sized fireworks, the kind that are heavily controlled and require licensed professionals to use in Canada. In Russia, if you have the money you can get whatever you want.

It didn't matter, because as we stood around with a hundred Russians we had a blast (no pun intended). Everybody was drinking and laughing and some people were holding hands and dancing around a big tree trimmed with lights and tinsel. Children ran about through people's legs and people came up and greeted us with big smiling "Snovim Godom!". Mr. Irish, Neva, Quagmire, Katerina and I passed around the bottle of vodka and Katerina met up with a group of her friends who didn't speak any English. All the while the big noisy show in the sky continued.

Eventually we got really drunk and I don't remember much of the rest of the night. I woke up in Katerina's mother's bed the next morning (with Katerina beside me, not her mother) and the rest of our group were passed out in Katerina's room. We ended up nursing hangovers all the next day, but that is no matter because everyone one of us was in agreement that New Year's 2010 was THE best New Year's we've ever had.

с новым 2010 годом!

No comments:

Post a Comment