Hi everybody!

Oh, I’m so excited right now. I just got back from Bal Vampirov and it was great, but as I like to write my blogs chronologically: More about that later on (and also because I’m just a bad person and know some people are dying to read about it).

Okay, so I had to get up early today, because I had a private session with Sasha at nine o’clock. As I have to be in the city centre for that I had to leave home around eight, meaning I got up at a quarter past seven which is early when you went to bed at half past one. But well, we’re here to have days that are full of fun stuff, so no complaining, getting up and getting ready for a great day again.

The problem was that a private session at nine o’clock in the morning well… when it comes to things like museums and so they’re not opened yet. So Sasha wondered why Katya had moved the session to this time, but okay, we can have fun like this as well. She felt really bad about the fact that I didn’t know about the chance of schedule. But well, she couldn’t really help, because Katya was supposed to tell me. Anyway, it does not matter who was supposed to tell me. I am the kind of person that has no trouble laughing about these kinds of things.

As I said, there wasn’t much we could do so we just walked around the city. It was also Wednesday and then lots of things are closed anyway. We walked past the house where Pushkin lived, which was great for me. It is a museum as well, but they are renovating it, so you cannot visit it now. Another reason to come back, that’s what it is. It’s strange though that they renovate it during the tourist season. It must be Russian logic.

Then we went for a drink. It was nice, we just talked some about lots of things: about Belgium, about Youtube, about how in Russia they have a new law since short that forbids cars to have darkened windows. Yeah, that kind of stuff.

And then we went to the Stroganoffpalace. It’s not so big, but it was absolutely beautiful. There was one room with one wall all mirrors and the lamps hanging there were only half lamps reflected in the mirror and so they appeared to be entirely round. It was very strange because it seemed as if they were actually entirely round. You had to get very close to the mirror to see it was just a reflection. It created a strange optical effect. The room would not be good for me. I’d often think “Oh, I’m going to the other side of the room” and then bump into the mirror: “Right, there is no other side”, time after time after time. I can so see myself do that.

Okay, then I went back home and rested for a while, a while being about thirty minutes before it was time for my class. Class as always was really interesting. I first had to translate the story of the royal frog orally to English. It was a nice exercise. It wasn’t all too difficult, but it was absolutely fun to do.

And then we translated another part of a story written by Pushkin. I could choose between a booklet with stories by Pushkin or another booklet. Easy choice and Maria agreed with me. But, after a while I just had to read the story, which was fun as well.

And then we had a break during which I just chatted a little with some people and relaxed, which is basically the goal of a break.

And after the break we talked about beauty and how the ideal idea of beauty changed over the centuries and why that is and why people now think being tall and very slim is beautiful and that kind of stuff. And also about plastic surgery. Actually this theme is very actual and for once the difference between Belgium and Russia wasn’t that great, apart from the fact that some Russian girls use way too much make-up and where high heels that are way too high, but apart from that… for once both countries were quite similar.

I remember something I forgot to tell yesterday. Maria told me Russians have no word for ‘frustration’ and they do not know what it means, what ‘frustration’ is either. I had to try and explain it to her, but it was very difficult because well… for us frustration is when you are frustrated, but of course that doesn’t make it any clearer for someone who does not know what the word means.

And another thing, while I was walking around town with Vera yesterday we came across a building and on the window hung the English word ‘rent’ and in Russian hung ‘продожа’, which means ‘for sale’. We were wondering what the hell they want to do with their building.

After class I went to the centre of the city. I helped a woman on the bus. She had this really heavy trolley and then she still had her grandson with her who was about four years old. She asked if I wanted to take him by the hand and help him get off the bus. She thanked me about a hundred times afterwards, which makes it so worth being helpful. Just a kind smile and a thank you and that’s so great.

On the underground I read some more in the booklet about Pushkin which Maria gave me to read. I’ll give it back tomorrow or maybe the day after tomorrow because I didn’t have too much time to read today.

In the city centre I first walked around in Dom Knigi until Miriam’s excursion to the Hermitage was over. We met at Dom Knigi and went to eat something. I ate pancakes with some kind of seeds and chocolate and vanilla sauce. It was really good. I thought the combination was a little strange at first, but it was really so tasteful. I loved them.

And then we went to the theatre. It was simply amazing. Even if you are not interested in whatever is playing and cannot understand it, it is just worth going to any performance just to experience sitting in this kind of theatre, because it is just brilliant. The theatre is really one of those old theatre’s you see in movies with lots of decorations and gold and that just makes a performance so much more real and nice, because this is just what a theatre is supposed to be like. It’s so different from going to a theatre in Belgium where they are so modern and basically just a podium and then seats from a movie theatre. Here, everyone had an actual chair and it was just amazing to be at such a theatre.

Like real tourists we made pictures because you just don’t go to such theatres that often. Once there we bought some souvenirs to remind us of the performance we saw there and as a kind of proof that we were actually there. Which souvenirs? You’ll see when I get home. Naughty, I know.

The advantage of the theatre was that it wasn’t all that big, so no matter where you sat you were always close to the podium and we were really close. It was so great. We had great places as well. We sat at the side, but we could easily see everything, so that was just perfect.

And then the musical, Bal Vampirov, I still cannot believe how goddamn lucky I was that they just temporarily picked this musical up again for I don’t know what reason. I am so happy I had the chance to see it again, because it’s just such a brilliant musical. It’s still brilliant the second time you see it, it’s still amazing, stunning and it still gave me goose bumps and I was still emoted and it was just brilliant.

Those guys can sing. I still don’t know how they do it, but they sing so brilliantly, amazingly well, it’s absolutely stunning. There’s so much power behind their voices and they have an awful amount of lung capacity, it is unbelievable.

I also understood quite a lot more than I had expected. They spoke and sung quite clearly most of the time, which was great. I really understood what they were singing. I missed quite a lot as well of course, but I was absolutely surprised by the amount of text I could understand and it was absolutely great to realise I can follow a musical in Russian. I enjoyed it so much. I’m in seventh heaven right now and I’m going to be there for quite a while still.

Now I also know that the text is really very different in a language that is nothing like German. The message is the same, the thoughts are the same, but the text is very different. That doesn’t really matter if indeed the message remains the same and the music quite of conveys a lot of meaning as well. For me, as a translator, it was also interesting to see a musical in a different language from that point of view, because I can learn from it. How to goddamn translate a musical? It was really interesting.

Because it was the second time I saw this musical I also noticed a couple of details that I didn’t notice last time and I swear they added a couple of small things, like when they ask for water they first get vodka and then the actual water they asked for. I cannot remember that being in the Dutch version. In any case it was really funny. And those kinds of little things, yeah they were great.

I know people now want to know which version I liked best, but it is quite difficult to choose because the musical is basically the same, apart from those small details. But the costumes, the scenery, the melodies are all the same. The singers were absolutely great as well. Okay, the theatre here does absolutely add a little to this musical. Really, the Stadschouwburg in Antwerp is worthless compared to this.

And also, what I thought was great was that the count, the vampire well he was played by a Russian man of course. Now, vampires are usually or originally Eastern-European and people who live there have quite distinctive features. In that sense I may have liked this count Von Krolock more because he looked more like a real vampire than the Dutch one just because of those Eastern-European features. But all in all it’s the same musical and it’s impossible to choose which one was the best because they were both just pure brilliancy. It was just brilliant and I am so, so, so, so, so happy that I had the chance to see this musical again.

After the musical we still made some pictures in the actual theatre room. The people working there were all wearing a red cape and we asked one to take a picture with us and she did that with a big smile, so that was great.

Yeah, I have no other words for this than the ones I’ve already used. It was just great and brilliant and amazing and fantastic and I am terribly happy now. It was just super!

And then the weather: It was clouded, but it was really warm today, so then it’s okay if there are clouds.

And that’s it for today!