A sobering realisation that living in Russia can be a bit like visiting a wedding fair...

>> Tuesday, 20 November 2012

How do you know you when you have been living in Russia too long?

Well.  If you had a white wedding, you may have visited a wedding fair during the planning process.  Remember that? Go on, you can do it; reach back into the farthest vestiges of your memory and try to recall those halcyon days pre-children when finding the perfect name cards for the table, or the exact shade of cream for your invitations was important to you.  (OK, it didn't happen to me either but I'm sure there were plenty of things that would seem insignificant to me now which at the time I got married assumed a wholly disproportionate level of importance.  But those are subjects for another post...)

Anyway, imagine yourself entering this long-ago wedding fair.  Everywhere you look there is an explosion of white tulle, glitter, fluff, dresses, flowers.  As you walk into the hall your eye is caught by a wedding dress stand, and you walk nonchalantly over, hopeful that you will find the dress of your dreams just waiting for you to discover it.  Doesn't happen, of course. In fact it SO doesn't happen that as you thank the proprietor of the stand and walk away, you have to work hard to stop your lip curling in horror at how over the top the dresses are.  "Who wears these things?" you wonder as you set off to tour the rest of the exhibition, confident that somewhere you will find something that is more 'you'.

2 or 3 hours later, exhausted, clutching a bag full of pamphlets, samples, business cards and ideas - but still with no idea of what on earth you are going to wear for your Big Day - you return to the entrance of the hall. The first stand that you visited catches your eye.  You wander over and take another look at the dresses that you so readily dismissed earlier in the day.  As the stand owner - who has seen it all before and knows that excessive exposure to wedding madness is enough to break even the most understated bride -  watches indulgently, it turns out your parameters of tasteful have moved somewhat over the last couple of hours. Actually, you think, this dress isn't so bad.  And neither is that one.  And that one - if you lost the lace train, could actually work...

So - how does this equate to living in Russia?

Today I was at a Christmas Fair.  I remember first visiting this same event a couple of years back; everything seemed so blingtastic, so unnecessarily shiny, so excessively gold, just so damned... over the top.

But on this visit, nearly 3 years into our stay here?  I actually heard myself saying to one of the vendors "Do you have something like this - but with a few more sparkles?"

To quote Jean Luc Picard*, I have assimilated.

*Star Trek, The Borg.  Tut.


Iota 20 November 2012 at 09:58  

It's the killing a frog thing, isn't it? If you drop it into boiling water, it jumps out. But if you put it in cold water, and turn up the temperature slowly, it doesn't notice, and stays in.

Not that I've tried it.

Potty Mummy 20 November 2012 at 10:16  

I was wondering, Iota. And of course you are not calling me a frog. (Are you?)

MsCaroline 20 November 2012 at 22:53  

HA! This sounds so much like Seoul - everything is covered with glitter and sparkles and faux gems. I haven't been to the markets to do any Christmas shopping yet, but I imagine that my glitter-tolerance has probably increased in the past year as well. I'll be extra aware now that you've mentioned it.

Expat mum 21 November 2012 at 16:06  

The boiled frog syndrome is very well - known when you're studying or working in corporate culture matters. (Just thought I'd put my Masters to a bit of use here.)

And yes, I'd say the same goes in the USA where the smell of Christmas spices is concerned. All of a sudden all the sops are burning sickly smelling candles and displaying vomit-inducing baskets of pot-pourri. After a while you get used to the smell and learn to keep your food down.

Expat mum 21 November 2012 at 16:07  

PS. I thought for a moment you were going to say that you and your Ball & Chain were re-newing your vows. Tee hee.

Emma T 25 November 2012 at 17:49  

I think that's what my Christmas will be like. Currently 2 colours on my tree only, no tinsel etc...now have a toddler - can see in a couple of years it'll be a tack fest (and I'll end up loving it)

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