I originally wrote this in Russian, then translated it, just to mix things up (also because I was on a bus and Blending In). I think it’s better in Russian, but since you, dear reader, are probably not a Russophone (high five if you are, though), we’ll just have to hop along as best we can. On the bright side, there will be no misdeclined adjectives in the English edition. The same cannot be said for the original.


A bus pulls up that has my stop, Krasnaya Roshcha,  written in the window.  Number 014. I get on, and, as is standard procedure in Russia, ask the conductor if he’ll tell me when we get to my stop. He doesn’t understand the name, so I repeat it once, twice. “K R A S N A Y A  R O S H C H A .”  He smiles broadly. “No.”

No, this bus doesn’t go there, or no, he won’t tell me? Unclear. Unimportant.

A few minutes pass while I puzzle over this unexpected development. “Is anyone getting off at the next stop?” he calls out.

I give a little wave of the mitten. “Ya.”

He lets me off with that same stupid smile, the bus barely pausing, as if a single passenger isn’t worthy of its brakes.

I’m lost.

A light snow is falling, coating the pine needles and lying in graying heaps on the ground. In the distance glows the ice village.

Where am I? Unclear. Unimportant.