Friday, March 8, 2013


One of my favorite places we went to this trip was a tiny village called Makachyova. This year, it celebrated its 450th anniversary since its founding. It is incredibly old, and that age shows in the buildings we saw.


Upon our arrival to the village, we were given a horse-drawn sled ride through the entire village. It's fairly small, and once we reached the end of the village, we turned back to go to the library.

Despite the old age of the village, the places we went to were very nice. Their library was great, full of old books and even some provincial items on display. They even had a shelf completely dedicated to Klyuev -- unsurprising, as Klyuev once lived in Makachyova.

Although it was fascinating to see the village where Klyuev himself once lived, my absolute favorite part of our excursion was getting tea at the home of an elderly woman, Vera (forgive me for not knowing her patronymic; I hold nothing but the highest respect for her). Before we were even introduced, she was smiling at us and greeting us in Russian, encouraging us to take off our jackets, get comfortable, and eat. Everything we ate in her house was homemade on her old-fashioned stove, and it was all incredible. I have never in my life had blyni as good as I did at her home. Eating and drinking tea in Vera's home was wonderfully comfortable. Everybody was laughing and having a good time, and I felt like I was back at home having a great dinner with my family.

After dinner, Celine and I got the opportunity to meet Vera's cow, Marta. She was massively pregnant, and the sweetest thing. Marta, or Martushka, was very nervous and shy, so only two people could see her at a time. You could tell that Vera and Martushka were basically best friends, as they have known each other for a long time and seemed very comfortable with one another. Vera even let us feel the unborn calf's head through Martushka's side; it was so cool!

When it was finally time to leave Vera's home, we were all in tears. Celine and I had gotten a picture with Vera, and during the picture she held our hands. She hugged us goodbye and even walked all of us to the bus on our way out. My Russian is not so good, and Celine doesn't speak any of the language, but Vera was very patient with our halting goodbyes. By the time we got through with our excessive thank-yous, group hug, and tearful waves, Vera herself was crying. If I ever go back to Russia (though I sincerely hope it's more of a "when" than an "if") I will make it a priority to stop by and say hello to Vera and Martushka, along with Martushka's calf.

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