Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Second Week Working 1/2: Sleepless Nights, Roof Tiles and Sun Rises

On the second week I was about to get moved to different village to work on different project: no more furniture crafting and bed-making for me, it was time for me cutting some wood to be used in rooftiles in the summer. Before leaving for the other village, I and some people from my group I was about to leave, decided to get up early in the morning for a nice morning hiking!

The alarm clock was then set to 06.30 in the morning local time and we got up to do so hiking up the local mountain. We hiked our way in the snowy paths and get high enough to witness a breath-taking vista: the sun rising over Siberian taiga. There was trees and forests as far as your eyes could see. Seeing all the trees from above, it was hard to imagine that somewhere beneath all that green was hidden a whole network of villages I had just lived and adventured in.

After the sun-gazing and one and half hour of hiking it was time for me pack my things and head for the next village with a bus. It seemed the local bus drove only two times a day so I had better be sure to not to miss it! So, I got to the village and I was introduced to a new group of people that I already knew from the few days we had travelled together in the train.

I was shown a way around the city and to the work shop owned by a local man and his family. There were all the basic working tools one could wait to see in a workshop and even a nice set of speakers. While working, we lost ourselves in the flow of wood crafting and electric music, a powerful combination!

It wasn't only electric music though: on the MP3-player attached to the music player there was also the soundtrack of the movie Into the Wild for example (a movie by the way I recommend interested in travelling watching). That soundtrack got me really into mood of thinking about different kind of adventures. Little did I know at that time what an adventure would be waiting for me just in the following evening and the night!

After the first day of working, I and two other people from my group, decided to go for a visit to meet one local couple. The couple owned an own coy which the other two of my group had already been milking before. And so they thought it would also be a nice experience for me to try milking the cow with my bare hands and they invited me to tag along, fair enough! Unfortunately, when we arrived to the house the couple lived in, we heard from them that the cow had become pregnant. That meant no milk for us this time.

Beautiful electric music that I now associate with crafting wood in Siberia.

Evening wasn't all wasted though. The young couple had invited some old friends to join them for the night and they asked us to stay with them. About ten people came to their house in the end. There for example three brothers all born in different year but who had all got married the same year! The year 2012 was indeed a special year for some.

One of the brothers spoke English and he explained me about his professional carpentry life. He told me that in this village if you're  a carpenter it is quite common to with a one month work, one month holiday  -pace when working on projects outside the village. The man told me he did it like this and spent half of the year in Moscow and one half in the village with his wife.

The evening went on and at some point one I have seen life -looking older man came to the house with his friend. The man introduced himself and then unpacked some bags he had with him. In those bags had been some instruments instruments. I recognised a mouth harp, tibetan singing bowls and a hang drum. The man sat cross-legged on the floor, arranged the bowls nicely in front of him and put a mouth harp (also known as Jew's harp) in his mouth.

His friend brought him a hang drum, he put the instrument on his lap and so he was ready to start the playing. The high frequencies of the tibetan bowls mixed up with the mouth harp sounds and we all guests sat in circle with this man and enjoyed the music. After playing alone for a whilethe man asked one guitar playing guest to accompany him. Soon the guitar was joined with other people chanting and singing and drumming on whatever people could find their hands on. The solo perfomance had suddenly turned into an local improvised-on-the-spot-band and it was surely a band not lacking energy or good feeling!

The English band Shpongle uses the hang drum -instrument in one of their songs.

Around 11-12 pm the evening started to settle down and most of the people left. It was almost midnight and I thought it would be good time for also me to leave. Wishing the other ones from my group goodbye, I dressed up and dived through the aparment's door into the cold of the Siberian winter night.

As soon as I stepped out of the house I marked it was pitch black. And as I started to roam the streets, I soon realized I have not the faintest idea where our home base was. It had all looked so simple and clear in day light! Not the time for staying still and being frozen, I started walking around a bit and recognized some familiar buildings and thought that sure I could find my way back home. Only that I couldn't - which I permanently realized after two hours of wandering in the night!

I thought it was already too late to head back to the couple I had spent the evening with. Though I'm sure they would have welcomed me warmly and given me a place to stay over the night I didn't want to disturb them if it wasn't absolutely necessary. And for some odd reason (the time being 2am), my supervisor of my group and other group members didn't answer my phone calls and text messages. Why not go for the adventure of spending the whole night outside, I remember thinking. It would make for a good story at least. Indeed, why not?

And so I ended up staying all the night outside, eight hours in total. In that time I walked a lot, propably more than twenty kilometres - I hadn't dressed quite warmly enough to able to just stay in one place for a long time and not feeling frozen. Even as I walked, I could feel the coldness of the night biting from my thin college trousers! The hours of the night were really long and the night felt like it would never end. My mind got stuck in quite negative thought circles for most of the time.

I would the night wasn't necessarily a nice experience, but nevertheless it was definitively a great learning experience and a good one to go through. I learned to push and challenge myself harder and found I had strength in myself that I hadn't used for some time. The night gave me some perspective to my own challenges and doubts I was facing at home in Finland. Yes, I faced quite a few demons and fears in that night.

What a great relief then it was at times to be able to lay down for a while to rest my feet for a while. There were terasses of shops I laid down a few times and I even found a small working equipment storage in which it was bit more warmer than outside. I ended up laying in that storage place for almost an hour before I was scared away by the noise of some night time workers nearby.

Finally, after the endless hours, it was really relieving to see the first sun rays of the morning covering the sky. With the help of the light, I was finally able to navigate myself back to my home place. The night was immediatly followed by a half days of work and after the work, after being awake for the last 27 hours, I finally got the change to go to sleep.

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