I take the advantage of having free time (it has come at last) to write you a letter again. My previous letter had a little bit different meaning. It was my fare well letter to you. You deserve all that. I didn’t really want to be like the taxi-driver who had promised but didn’t arrive in time. I am obliging. Everything else is an enclosure with the letter, and the boor was sent for a keepsake. I have respect for your arrival in Russia on business. When I wrote that my liking was on your side I knew that contacts with bureaucracy and going from study to study were terrible things.
I didn’t expect to get a reply from you.
Great was my surprise when I had your letter in my hands. I was stupefied by unexpectedness. When reading quickly one notices nothing in particular. But I was reading your letter very slowly and thoughtfully. One sentence is enough to imagine and guess everything else and to live through some state very slowly.
I felt sad reading it. Well, how to perceive it? I don’t seem to be a silly girl, do I?
It’s true, this letter was rather unexpected. It embarrassed me. I was deep in thought.
You relied on my woman’s wit, didn’t you? You were not mistaken, I’ve got it. We’ll speak about this delicate subject at the end of the letter.
You wrote that it was interesting for you to about my studies. Prepare yourself for reading as I’m going to tell you about it. You wanted it yourself. As you had wished me, I passed 9 tests and was admitted to take examinations. I spent all January at home preparing for exams. The first and the most difficult exam was in logic on January 14, the second one on January, 21. I passed them successfully. I envy my own self. All the term since September 3 I had always been studying at home for 5–6 hours, at night. But all the same I feared taking exams. Now I am on vacation. Our studies begin on February 4. I want relaxation. Quietness. Silence. At last I can have a long sleep. Now I enjoy sleeping. I adore sleeping!
On November 27 I took my driving license exams at the motor-car school and State Traffic Inspectorate where I spent the whole day. I got my driving license. My acquaintances and relatives were ringing up the whole evening to congratulate me. You are asking if I like to drive. I answer, «I don’t know yet if I like it or not. In our country it’s a necessity if you want to be in time everywhere. Unfortunately, my training has stopped. Winter came. Autumn was so calm and warm. And all of a sudden it gave way to unprecedented winter. Nobody had expected such fury of the elements. The consequences were sad for many people. But the Kuban Territory is the only one that suffered losses. I know from TV programmers that all Europe from Spain to Poland is showed in. I also saw snow-drifts on the roads of Greece and Turkey on TV. And such kind of winter was unexpected even in Germany. I hope you are not frozen and endure the winter quite well.
And now I am going to tell you about the institution of higher education at which I study. It is the Kuban State Agrarian University which is one of the largest institutions of higher education in Russia. At present it has 24 departments at which 17 thousand students study. It has excellent facilities for study. The laboratories are equipped with computers. The students have 700 computers at their disposal. Many great people graduated from our university – prominent specialists engaged in production, heads of state enterprises, outstanding scientists known all over the country. There is a department for citizens from foreign states. The department of law is one of the leading institutions of higher education of this kind in the south of Russia. It was organized in 1991 on the basis of the state law education standard.
The department is a large sub-unit of the university. 1234 students study at the day department.
Specializations are the following:
Our lecturers are excellent, many of them have academic degrees, there are many Doctors of law. They are people who have outstanding achiements in their fields of science. The North Caucasian branch of the Russian Academy of Justice is attached to the University.
Besides studying the students have many other things to be engaged in. A lot of sports sections, dancing, a club for cheerful and quick – witted, a literary magazine, etc. Sports sections are according to students’ interests. I have chosen table tennis. Iron discipline is established at the department, beginning with outward appearances and finishing with progress in studies and attendance. Those who don’t live according to the rules of university are expelled at once and without regret. In the first course there are 22 students. All of them are fine and friendly. The number of boys and girls is fifty-fifty. They all do their best to study well. Some of the teachers are real orators and the students are listening to them as if hypnotized. The whole year round the students of all departments guard in turn the conifers that grow on the territory of the university. Especially before the New Year. From year to year there are more and more people who want to cut down a fir-tree. They climb up the fir-trees and saw off the best parts of them (there are such barbarians), and the students catch such poachers. Several students are on duty at their post for 2 hours, it’s an order. In this photo we are on duty near the main building of the university. They are my fellow – members of the course. Just have a look! It’s our patrol! Russian winter! Beauty will save and warm the world even in cold weather. Do you recognize in the photo? I’m wearing a cap.
I like southern countries too, but I haven’t been nowhere except Germany. As I came to Germany for a short period of time. I wanted to spend it as effectively as possible. The happy days were flying up in the twinkling of an eye. I remember my first visit to Germany especially well. Those were unforgettable impressions. I felt admiration, surprise and respect. It’s better to see once than to hear a hundred times.
I have been looking forward to visiting Frankfurt since my childhood and I was brought there for the whole day. My dream came true. I was in Europe-park too. We stayed at a hotel in Bismarck platz, we bought tickets and went by bus. But one day wasn’t enough for me to go for a drive and see everything. During our second arrival my parents begged to be allowed not to go. There were long queues everywhere. The weather was very hot. Mother saw the ballet on ice. And I pretended to get lost and came back just on time to catch the bus. I was so carried away that I nearly missed the bus. I was running as hard as I could go. Should I tell you that I caught it hot afterwards?..
I still remember civization and high level of services in Germany. If you order a taxi it comes on time. Buses and trams come on time too. My favorite tram is 5P, I often took it. Life is quite comfortable there. Everything works impeccably, people are very polite and benevolent. I understood one thing– one should know the culture of the people, their customs, observe them and then there will be no problems. Now at home before going to bed I often recollect everything that I had seen. But in our country there are also a lot of places worth seeing. Thanks a lot for your highly coloured photos. I was scrutinizing you with great curiosity just as a doctor scrutinizes a rare microbe under a microscope.
You are laughing, aren’t you? Honestly, if it were not for the photos I might have forgotten your face. You really have a wonderful garden. Such huge trees. I wonder how many years they were growing! It’s areal park. In the far end of the garden I saw a table and a bench. I’m sure that you «ancestral nest». Now I see where you have barbecues with your friends. I see you sitting near your house. Your bar, It’s wonderful! I’ve already put your photos into my album as a keepsake. Sometimes I imagine my coming to the house of our acquaintances. I approximately know what they do in the evenings. I remember that once papa Alex (I call him so) was singing German songs for me the whole evening, and then we all played dominoes. I see two fir-balls rolling out. Those are dogs – chow chow. They are not dogs but songs. They are devoted, clever, loving, independent and proud. They are genuine aristocrats of dog’s world.
I think that the photo in the disco is not hot at all. And I’m sorry that I sent it to you. It was a school– leaving party for the pupils of three 11th classes. Our parents rented that disco bar. And we all together with teachers and parents marked this event. We were glad that we left school. We had a good time all night. At 4 a.m. our parents drove away because they had to go work in the morning and we stayed with our teachers to see the daybreak. The photos were taken by my schoolmates. I’ve got a lot of such photos with our teachers, parents and schoolmates. I regretted later on that I had sent that one. Unfortunately, I’m wise after the event. Sometimes one has temporary derangement of mind when one acts without thinking and controlling the behaviour. I’m not allowed to go to disco in town by myself. My parents have read a lot of all sorts of horrors and imagine to see bandits and maniacs everywhere. I go to the disso which is not far from our house on Fridays (but it is not held every Friday). I am allowed to go there. There are guards. Professional musicians come. All the young people from 16 to 25 years of age who live in our house go there to dance. But even here I should ring up home eveng hour to say if everything is all right. I am sending you another photo as a keepsake. It’s also school leaving. This is our former Principal and we, two pupils. He taught us physics and astronomy. I’ll be modest enough not to say what kind of celebration it was. You passed by there when went for a walk. It’s near the musical theatre.
You are asking if I know German. Yes, there is such a trouble. I began learning German and English when I was in the 5th form. The German lessons at my school were given by a teacher whose German sounded like a sub-machine-gun burst – nothing but squeaking, knocking and gnashing of consonants. I was tormented for the whole year and so were my classmates. No progress. We mixed up the English and German languages. Then we were divided into 2 groups one of which was supposed to learn English, the other – German. At that time my mother decided everything for me and she chose English because it’s international. So I was learning it. When I went to Germany I heard German speech. Squeaking and gnashing began turning into music, and I understood that the German language is as expressive and rich in different shades of meaning as Russian. I only know German alphabet, some separate words and can read German without translation. If you expect me to tell you something in German… alas! you’ll hear nothing clever. When I was in Germany and wanted to ask something I began clesperately trying to chose the words and felt discomfort. When I watched TV in the evening and to the fluent speech of the announcers I felt unhappy because I didn’t understand it. Once I was taken to the pictures and the result was the same. It’s a pity that I’ll never be able to hear of the stars.
I am not fated to!
At the university I passed my test in English. During the first year we are to review school curriculum, the second year we are going to learn law terminology and then take our exam and that will be all. I want to learn English thoroughly on my own. It’s necessary to find such an English teacher in Krasnodar with whom I would study with pleasure, take private lessons and concentrate on concentrate on conversation. One should communicate with other people, the main thing is oral practice, and we haven’t got it.
To know a foreign language well one have to visit the country of the language studied and to speak to the people. But it’s hardly possible to have a perfect command of the language. I’d like to know German, there is no doubt about it, but I have neither time nor strength to start learning it. I’m fully occupied with law subjects. I should learn everything well. By the way I heard Russian speech in Germany much more often than could be expected and in all the cities that I visited.
I cannot help wondering at your energy, there is no end of it. As far as I understand you want to buy a helicopter and get the helicopter pilot license. The idea struck me. It struck me dump. It beggars description. It’s a bad dream. I respect your business qualities. I know that you’ve got a clear head. But it’s very dangerous. The earth is too crowded for you and you want expanse, don’t you? I worry about you. I know from the inside what flying profession is. In general the flying profession is certainly not for a white man. I mean that a pilot is always exposed to severe strains, especially nervous. You know, different tragic emergencies happen. All pilots are superstitious people. It is everyday, dangerous, laborious work. Only abnormal people should do this kind of work. Those who cannot live without all this, who cannot think of any other work. It’s a brand: they are doomed to such way of life, to those strains.
Our President Putin had a pleasure flight in an aircraft at the Military College in Krasnodar. A very experienced pilot (aged 37) having the greatest skill was flying the aircraft. And so, soon after that the pilot perished absurdly in an aircraft crash. He left a family. Pilots often receive injuries incompatible with life (in doctors’ language it means «death») Helicopters fall down one after another too. It is caused not only by the incorrect actions of the pilot but also by the engine breakdown, etc. You know everything yourself. In our country only oligarch’s and television magnates can afford such a hobby (a private helicopter) but for many of them this passion has already ended tragically.
Let fate save you!
My father already retired from the Army, now he works in the city administration, he is the head of a department. He went to Germany on business as you went to Russia. His business is connected with a German firm.
And now the main thing. That most delicate subject.
It’s very difficult for me to begin this conversation, I fed as if I were overcoming some concealed obstacle. I understand that you are in search. You want to have serious relations but not only correspondence. That is why I vanish away. I like that you make no secret of that. I always highly appreciate confiding relations between people. I understand the importance of everything you wrote to me, you expressed your thoughts. You are very adult and at your age fully conscious of everything. I understand your problem. You write that up to now you didn’t find the right partner. But I know that those are sly words. The older a man the more difficult it is for him to accept another person’s drawbacks and to give in. You already know the value of your freedom and got used to it. It needs much of an effort to find a partner and one always runs the risk of making a wrong choice. To tell the truth, I have nothing to say about it. Everybody has his own ideas of love. When I was in Germany, I saw a lot of beautiful Germany women in the streets. I feel terribly sorry that up to now you didn’t manage to meet a girl worthy of not only your love but also respect. If you are interested to know my opinion about marrying a foreigner in the future, I can say what I think about it. This is a very serious step. Nationality, in my opinion, makes no difference as well as age and social status. When there is great love but not the illusion of it, i.e. when the relations are not temporary and shallow, when two people can’t stand separation. I think that the most important thing in life is of course love which is priceless. This is the highest reward but priceless. This is the highest reward but not everyone is worth of i. Your heart should tell you that the man is the dearest to you, and you can’t imagine anybody else near you. It shouldn’t happen that after spending a day with a person whom you don’t love, you will run away screaming. Don’t listen to the people who are used to exact formulations. When people love each other, they don’t confine themselves to any formulations.
It is the divine principle that unites people. If you happen to contract a heavenly marriage, all the other differences and difficulties will be of no importance. It’s children who make a woman and a man entirely happy, I mean, a good family. I wish you to realize yourself in the family life too. To find a small part of yourself in another person, a loving, understanding and
tender wife, perhaps, she is near.
In contradistinction to you I am still at an unconscious age. It’s early for me to think about it. I neither went nor had any affair with anybody. However strange it may seem nowadays but I was brought up by my parents on the strict principles of morality. I don’t take in seriously those fellows at the university, in the disco who try to impose their friendship.
I haven’t met a beloved man yet. I don’t love anybody. Sometimes I like party bustle, sometimes loneliness. I never feel bored when I am alone. I’m emotional, impressionable, touchy, but not bearing grudges. If it is a question of principle, I part without any regret.
You are asking to which address you should write. You have already understood. Nowhere. I was forced at the post office to write my home address on the parcel. We receive magazines, newspapers, letters at the post office (we rent a letter-box there) to keep them safe. Sometimes the mail disappears without leaving any trace from the letter box which is in our house because all kinds of people having no permanent address hand about the house. It’s ridiculous for you, I know that. It’s my duty to go the post office It is near our house. When my parents come home from work, the post office is already closed. Nobody knows and will never know that I was in correspondence with you. Let them live quietly.
Before saying good-bye I want to tell you something else. You are in the prime of life. It’s interesting to communicate with you, you are friendly, very polite and devoid of impertinence. I’ll remember you with gratitude. But I have a favour to ask you.
Don’t be offended, will you? Try to understand. I know a lot of fine poems, just now one of them crossed my mind. I am not going to recite it all, only the very end.
… I bear no malice
We are inhabitants of different planets
And I live on the other one.
It’s about you and me.