Tonight, I walked home from work in arctic conditions (-15C), clad in my balaclava it was difficult to breath. At first through my nose, but it felt like the contents were freezing…then through my mouth and my teeth began to hurt like I was eating ice cream. It’s a different kind of cold than I’ve felt before as it’s so dry here. The ground is sandy and dry, so it doesn’t freeze, you can still kick the soil and there’s very little ice- only where a pipe has burst. I arrived on my road, and hundreds of crows were swooping overhead, making a tonne of noise. They occasionally land in the trees, but then all through the night they take to flight, it must be too cold for them to stay still. Why they choose to stay in Nukus with these conditions is a mystery!
I’m trying to learn Russian- I love it! It’s much harder than any language I’ve ever come across before. It took me weeks to master the alphabet, and although I now understand more and more, I haven’t got enough confidence to speak it very much yet. The complexity, particularly the grammar can take over completely and that’s not too fun. My new project is to translate “The Little Prince” in the next seven months I have here. 90 pages, a page every second day…. Feasible I thought. Tonight it took me an hour to read three quarters of a page with the help of my teacher! But at least I now know the word for a Boa snake. Watch this space.