Zhensheni Den–Vosmoi Mart


Neil reminded me that this March 8th, as always, was Woman’s Day.

When I lived in Cheboksary, it was interesting to see how folks in this little rural town celebrated.

I was given a plastic bag (in ’96 they cost money!) with a print of a picture of a rose. It was a drawstring bag, with a real string, so clearly this was no ordinary bag.

Now here I have to explain one thing, when I lived there, I learned to always carry a bag in case I saw something I wanted to buy. They would sell it to you, but at that time they would provide no bag. They would charge extra for the bag.

So clearly this Woman’s Day gift, given to all the women who worked at the Institut Obrezivaniya (Education Institute). But as if this bag, of first quality and clearly so useful AND lovely with a rose printed on the plastic wasn’t enough of a gift, inside there was a small black plastic thing. Unscrewed the top and lo and behold! Soviet Mascara!


Clearly I was a lucky girl to be so celebrated on Woman’s Day.

Later that day as I emailed, the guy who was the leader of all the gym teachers rushed in and planted a big juicy rural-republic-of-a-has-been-superpower-country kiss right on my ever lovin’ cheek! No I didn’t scream rape, this time. I was beginning to wonder how this country at once so cold, formulaic, fronting and proper could suddenly be so warm bubbly, overflowing with kisses for all the ladies.

Hm, he was not bad looking. And quite possibly the first Russian I met who valued physical exercise.

Ah well. that was Woman’s Day. In a way it was kind of a torture. Students would bring broken gifts and it was the kind thing to overlook the brokenness of their token. I recieved a half painted ceramic figurine, cut glass that was only slightly chipped, and a flower that was only slightly crushed. These are the gifts that teachers get. Though once I did get 2 dozen long stemmed red roses. Those roses made me postulate that appreciation may tend to often have nothing to do with the quality of one’s contribution, but rather the heart of the giver. I had surely done little to nothing to earn those roses, but I accepted them on behalf of every time I did do something that that was overlooked.

Ahh Woman’s Day.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Fitèna says:

    “I had surely done little to nothing to earn those roses, but I accepted them on behalf of every time I did do something that that was overlooked.” Lol! What does the title mean?Fitèna

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