Sunday, February 7, 2010

My Russian Apartment

My precious moment, short-lived but memorable.

My sanctuary of happiness and fulfilment - never short of food stuff full in the cabinet and drawers, never stop cooking, boiling, steaming, frying, stir-frying, deep-frying, and thinking what to eat/cook next...

My friends from Mongolia, China and France, our common language is not English but Russian. The Russian Dame- my teacher had not arrived yet, and even if she was present that, she would not allow herself to be photographed.

When souvenirs are needed to make your family and friends happy....a corner in my bedroom. Do you see the giant 'batteri' (heater) which give away the age of the flat?

A day with guests in the living room.

View from the bedroom.

Bedroom with a sofa-bed which is permanently turned into a bed.

Before you enter into the living room, you need to hang your coat, scarf and what-not, this is where the friendly puppy within the frame would greet you.

Living room with Chinese bamboo, unfortunately even my Chinese fingers have failed to resusitate it. The painting on the top left corner is late owners's granddaughter, Dasha, already 17 years old by now.

A corner in my living room where reading is well-illuminated. Most of the time this corner is transformed into my work-station.

My Reading room in the flat. Most of books on the shelves are that of the late owners.

Russian paintings and woodwork in the hall.

An old phone in the study room.

Late owners of the flat, a military lawyer and teacher who passed away five and three years ago respectively. Their daughter maintains the flat, as and when she deems fit, she would rent out the flat. Do you find it spooky to live with picture of former owners? I think not.

The only bedroom in the flat, with a folded three-frame mirror, which I like best.

Very often when Russian friends came to visit my flat in Kaliningrad, they could not help but marvelled at how comfortable the flat is, especially when I am the only resident in it. Although it is rather dated, everything in it works perfectly, washing machine, stove, TV, phone, Soviet-era heater, wooden floor cast upon cement ground (that makes it even warmer but unfortunately noisier), iron, a near-fully-facilitated kitchen.

It belongs to my vocal teacher's wife, a pianist, whose parents passed away a few years ago. She then rented it to a professor from Moscow for a while, and since then, she rather left it vacant than to rent it to strangers. When I told my teacher in early November that I am in need of a flat, his wife who was with him on that day to play the piano while we sang, said that perhaps they could show me the flat which is not far from my former flat. We went right after the lesson and I was pleasantly attracted by the nostalgic charm of the flat, which was then rather dusty and in desperate need of a good scrub.

After consulting my local friends for advice, it was concluded that the location and rental were both favourable, and hence I decided to rent it. My pianist-landlady hired a cleaning company to clean up and fix up the flat over one week, and ensured that when I move it, it was in the best condition. Indeed it was, when I moved in on the 8th of November, everywhere was squeaky clean, she even prepared a clean bedsheet and duvet cover for me.

My unit is on the 7th floor, a lucky number in the Russian psyche, and the number is 25. I often amuse myself that when I go home, I send myself to the Seventh Sky - a state of supreme happiness, but here transquility also apply. The flat has one squarish living room, one bedroom, one study room, one bathroom, one toilet, one balcony, a hallway with mirror, and last but not least, a kitchen.

My area is located in a residential area, and I often observed how people in my vicinity live. It has a mixture of old flats and new ones, and even more luxrious landed ones linning across the street. However, Russians are not known to be the most smiley people on earth, there is hardly any eye contact or whatsover. Strangely I have never seen any neighbours on the same floor coming in or out of their flats in the months I have lived here. When I do meet any at the lift, young kids would however greet me, and when I meet older folks, I would greet them first.
However un-smiley is not equivalent to unfriendly. The first time I came to visit my flat, so as to familiarize the bus-route, I lost my orientation and asked for help from an old lady who lives not far away. She dropped everything and screamed at her two reluctant young granddaughters at the playground, and altogether we marched towards my Seventh Sky.

At last I found it! I promised I will invite her when I settle down. The fact that I still have not done that must have something to do with my lack of confidence in conversational Russian. The conclusion is, I must study even harder, hence I shall stop blogging for now, and hope that my aim of inviting my kind nagivator-neighbour will arrive sooner than I hoped.


  1. Lovely apartment you have there.. :) Makes me wanna go for tea....

  2. nice apartment!
    tuesday snowing in moscow broke the record of 1966. what about kiliningrad?

  3. I am perfectly fine here! But now spring time, still snowing. Oh but not fine, I fell down on the snow last week, and bad fall, the clot blood is the size of my palm. Gift from winter.