When people found out I was going to live in Siberia, they thought I was mad. In fact I also thought I was a bit mad; I even asked my contacts in the city if I would need to bring bedsheets and basic kitchenware. Images of grizzly bears rampaging down old dirt tracks wielding kalashnikovs and swigging vodka ran through my mind as I flew through the Russian night, and when my first breath of Siberian air froze my nostril hairs and eyelashes together, it seemed like it was going to come true.
As I wake up every morning with my family in a warm flat in a ‘village’ larger than all but three English cities, it all seems mad that I thought this way. I learn about a fascinating people, culture and history every day, but the greatest of these is the people, who I believe are greatly misunderstood. I used to be an English teacher and am now a writer, two areas that allow me to think deeply about the world I have become immersed in, and my primary objective with this blog is to bring my side of their story to whoever is interested.
I married Ekaterina (who insisted on being called ‘Kate’ from the first time we met) almost five years ago, and we have two wonderful daughters who keep us on our toes. Sophia will be five in September, and has really grown into a responsible young woman looking after her little sister Dasha. Kate’s family, my colleagues and my friends out here, from the FC Tyumen press box to the local flower shop, have given me a rare insight into the machinations of a very different mentality, and I hope I can share this with you.