Geno’s interview for Maxim (April 2017). 

Big thanks to @atsomnambulist for the help with the translation! 😇

-You live in the United States ten months in a year. What do you miss most about Russia?

- It used to be difficult, my parents did not visit that much. And now I’m comfortable, all who are close and dear to me often visit Pittsburgh. I don’t worry about food, I’m not fussy. What I miss the most is the Russian banya (sauna). Whenever I arrive in Moscow, I immediately go to “Sanduny”. I like to hang out with friends, sometimes in nightclubs too. You get tired of a year of matches and flights across the America, so you need some time to relax.

Keep reading

here is me, and my matespri7, 6anyas, he is 7he one who 7ook 7he pic7ure and he wan7ed 7o do i7 sideways 6ecause he liked i7 more 7his way.  7o ge7 7he camera 7o 7ake 7he pic7ure of us we poin7ed i7 7o a mirror, and 7he reflec7on was cau7 by 7he camera in 7his way.  usually 6anyas does no7 like 7o wear a shir7 bu7 he is wearing one in 7his pic7ure 6ecause he was cold, since he was feeling sick a7 7he 7ime.  

Considering the Oprichniki. . .sort of

In The Tailor, Genya speaks with the Darkling just after he has emerged from the banya on the grounds of the Little Palace.  She notes the presence of a few oprichniki standing guard in the area.  The oprichniki are the Darkling’s personal guards, so originally, I didn’t think much of it. But the other day, I asked myself, where else do we see the oprichniki?  While the Darkling is traveling in potentially hostile territory:  makes sense.  There are guards stationed outside his quarters.  Again, makes sense.  Keep people out of his personal rooms, guard the doors while he’s asleep, don’t let people just barge right in to the war room, and so forth.  

But I don’t think we see  mention of any of them trailing him around the grounds of the Little Palace though, do we?  Yet there are “a few” outside the banya.

As far as I’m aware, the traditional Russian banya involves a distinct lack of clothing.

So, I’ve decided the oprichnikis’ purpose in hanging out around the banya during the Darkling’s employment thereof is to (1) run everyone else out first and (2) ensure no Grisha, students, all and sundry sneak back in to accidentally-on-purpose catch a glimpse.

I wonder if there were any prior ‘incidents’ that resulted in installed oprichniki.

My apologies to anyone who thought this was going to be a serious post:D

Russian Folklore Part 2: Domovoi, Leshy, Vodyanoi, Bannik

Russians believed that the world is full of spirits which live next to people, but can be very rarely seen by them. Usually, they were malicious creatures, but still they could help human beings and even protect them in dramatic situations. The spirits inhabited forests, lakes, fields and even houses, and if a person didn’t show respect or didn’t gain their favor by giving some things, they could get really angry, destroy the dwelling, kill the cattle or even murder him or her. 

Domovoi (домово́й) is a protective house spirit in Slavic folklore.

Traditionally, every house is said to have its own domovoi who lives either in the stove, under the threshold, in the cattle shed, or in the stables. The center of the house is also said to be their domain. The domovoi is seen as the home’s guardian, and if he is kept happy he maintains peace and order and rewards the household by helping with household chores and field work. To stay in his good graces, his family leaves him gifts such as milk, porridge, tobacco, bread, and salt.

If the family decided to move to a new place, they always asked the spirit to follow them. To make this transportation comfortable for the spirit, they offered him an old boot, where he could hide and thus come to a new house without any trouble.

Strange as it may appear, I have encountered a domovoi who lived in my relatives`s house. The house was old, ramshackle and rusty, so the family decided to move and started packing. The domovoi probably got angry and produced so much noise at night it was impossible to fall asleep, so they tried to propitiate him with milk and sweets and put a valenok (валенок – felt boot) near the the front door so the domovoi could hide there and be taken to a new place with. Believe me or not – it worked, the noise has stopped.

Leshy (ле́ший) is the spirit of the woodlands in Slavic folklore. It is a spirit who enjoys playing tricks on people, though when angered he can be treacherous. He is seldom seen, but his voice can be heard in the forest laughing, whistling, or singing.

All Slavs had great respect for forests, mountains and water. A leshy was something like the master of the forest. It was everywhere in the forest and did not like when someone entered into his dominion, but it never left the forest. If a human spied a leshy in the forest, it was most likely that he had lost his way. Folk tales told that to find his path again, he had to turn all his clothing inside-out.

Vodyanoi (водяной) is widely featured in folklore, because Russia is a country of rivers, lakes and seas, which were the main trade routes in times gone by. The cult of the vodyanoi was stronger in the northern part of Russia, close to the White Sea.

The rules of communication with a vodyanoi are simple. At night, any interactions with rivers and lakes were forbidden – be it fetching water, crossing or fishing. As for swimming, it was outlawed on big holidays, when many people were drunk; and it’s totally wrong to brag of your swimming skills and endurance at all times – the vodyanoi likes boasters most of all.

He doesn’t kill those who drown; he takes them to his realm to serve him forever. That is why victims of drowning were not buried at Orthodox cemeteries – it might upset vodyanoi and cause drought or hail.

Bannik (банник) is the bathhouse (banya) spirit in Slavic mythology. Do you remember my post about banya? There it is.

Because banya was seen as a potentially unclean and dangerous place, the bannik was perceived as a capricious, sometimes harmful, household spirit. An angry bannik could cause one to suffocate in the steam of the bathhouse or simply set banya on fire; women who bathed alone ran the risk of being spied on by the bannik as they undressed. As a result, Slavic peasants did not hang icons in the banya or wear crosses into the bath; they also avoided bathing singly or at night. When a child was born in the banya (a common occurrence), the mother and baby were watched carefully, to prevent the bannik from carrying away the infant.

To propitiate the bannik, peasants often left offerings of soap, water, and fir branches. Like most household spirits, the bannik could tell fortunes. Girls and young women would gather in the bathhouse to consult the bannik about the new year by allowing him to touch them from behind. A warm, soft touch foretold happiness; a cold, prickly touch was a warning of ill fortune.

Yours truly, @mandarinwithcravings

SELFIE2 #22: Headline Hidup di Sosial Media

Hi, millenials! Menurutmu, apa sih perbedaan paling mendasar antara kita sebagai generasi millenials dengan generasi-generasi di atas kita? Ya, perbedaan adalah pada penggunaan teknologi. Jika nenek-kakek atau orangtua kita dulu belum akrab dengan gadget dan internet, kita adalah sebaliknya, hingga seolah tak bisa hidup jika tanpa gadget dan internet. Tak hanya itu, dengan berkembangnya berbagai jenis sosial media, kita juga semakin mengakrabi dunia maya melalui segegenggam tangan dan seulas sentuh jemari kita. 

Hampir bisa dipastikan bahwa setiap anak muda di zaman sekarang akrab dengan sosial media, apapun jenis dan bentuknya. Ya kan? Coba, siapa sih diantara kamu yang sama sekali tidak aktif di sosial media manapun? Pasti jaraaaaang banget! Keseharian kebanyakan dari kita tentu tak lepas dari media sosial: bangun tidur cek dulu notifikasi, ketika di perjalanan buat dulu instastory, makan di tempat baru check in dulu di Path, dan masih banya lagi. Tanpa disadari, urgensi mengabarkan kehidupan pribadi kepada orang lain rasanya jadi meningkat seiring bertambahnya kelekatan kita dengan sosial media. 

Kebutuhan setiap orang yang berbeda-beda untuk ‘menunjukkan diri’ di sosial media membuat lini masa yang kita lihat menjadi penuh dengan berbagai informasi: foto keluarga(-keluargaan), sidang, kelulusan, pasangan halal, wisuda, lingkaran pertemanan yang hebat, kegiatan sosial, persiapan pernikahan, roadshow, keberangkatan ke luar negeri, kunjungan ke tempat-tempat ternama di penjuru negeri, kelahiran, dan masih banyak lagi. Kita bukan hanya sekedar sedang mengalami banjir informasi, tapi, meminjam salah satu terminologi yang pernah dibahas di kelas Institut Ibu Professional, kita bahkan sedang mengalami tsunami informasi. Ya, bukan hanya banjir, tapi tsunami!

Lalu, riuhnya sosial media seringkali membuat kita berkata dan bertanya-tanya di dalam diri, “Enak banget sih jadi dia, hidupnya bahagia mulu! Am I the only one getting fool?

Pernahkah kamu bertanya-tanya seperti itu? Tunggu dulu, sadarilah dulu bahwa apa yang kamu baca belum tentu sama dengan apa yang terjadi sesungguhnya. In fact, we just read people’s headline. Kita hanya melihat atau membaca tentang garis besarnya saja, perifer saja, permukaannya saja. Mana kita tahu kalau ternyata si empunya status sebenarnya baru saja menyelesaikan ujian besar? Mana kita tahu kalau ternyata di balik foto-foto atau tulisan-tulisan keren ternyata si empunya sedang berjuang mati-matian?

Saya ingat cerita @khairunnisasyaladin​ saat kami ngobrol-ngobrol santai tentang fenomena ini, “Aku sering banget lihat foto teman-temanku yang sekarang kuliah di luar negeri, mereka foto di tempat-tempat bagus, main kesana kesini. Ya memang bikin kepengen, sih. Tapi, aku dapat cerita dari temanku, kata dia, sebenarnya ya kehidupan dia itu engga seindah di Instagram. Di balik foto-fotonya yang kece itu ya dia lagi berjuang untuk bertahan hidup, selesai ujian, dan lain-lain.” See? Hidup orang lain tak seindah dan sedamai yang kita lihat di sosial media. Pun hidup kita, tidak ‘sehijau’ yang bisa orang lain akses melalui sosial media kita. Realistis aja, ya kan?

Jangan dulu cepat-cepat merasa bahwa hidup kita ini paling buruk, paling sengsara, paling engga oke, paling engga berjuang, atau paling da-aku-mah-apa-atuh-cuma-bubuk-ranginang hanya karena melihat headline hidup orang lain di sosial media. Wake up! Hidup kita sebenarnya ada di dunia nyata. Dari apa-apa yang kita ketahui tentang seseorang melalui headline di sosial medianya, akan selalu ada banyak hal yang tidak kita ketahui karena memang tidak terjamah oleh kita. Kalau begitu, alih-alih menjadi panas hanya karena media sosial, mengapa tidak mencoba untuk banyak bersyukur saja? Bukankah itu lebih menenangkan dan meneduhkan? 

Terakhir, sebelum iri atau dengki pada orang lain, yuk cek dulu hati masing-masing, “Kenapa ya saya kok gerah dengan kehidupan orang lain di sosial medianya?”, sebab boleh jadi kesalahan memang tak ada pada mereka, tapi pada kita yang belum menerima diri sendiri dan belum mengoptimalkan syukur kepada-Nya. Cheers! Let’s look into yourself!


Tulisan ini adalah bagian dari rangkaian #30daysramadhanwriting yang saya tuliskan selama bulan Ramadhan 1438 H dengan tema “SELFIE 2 - Let’s Look Into Yourself!” Setiap harinya, tulisan-tulisan dengan tema ini insyaAllah akan dimuat di pada pukul 16.00 WIB. Untuk membaca tulisan lain dalam project ini, klik disini. Serial ini bermula dari #30daysramadhanwriting dengan tema yang sama di tahun sebelumnya. Untuk membaca serial selfie di Ramadhan 1437 H, klik disini.