Who are you?

I am a junior at Middlebury hailing from Waukesha, Wisconsin. I love to read, write, play guitar, and explore on my bike whenever there is time. At Midd I have written news for the Campus, hosted radio shows on WRMC, lived in the Russian House, played intramural soccer and contributed fiction and poetry to our literary journals. Other interests include languages, etymology, Soviet bard music, art, poetry, and strong traditions in small places.

What’s your major?

I am a Russian major with minors in Spanish and Creative Writing.

Why Russia?

Every time I am asked why I study the Russian language, I give a different answer. For a long time, I thought I did this because, deep down, I wasn’t really sure why. The truth, however, is that every time I consider the question I find a new reason.

I was attracted to Russian in high school mainly due to nebulous family history, which was more or less lost when Great-Grandfather Alexander and his family came west around the time of the Russian Revolution. The mystery of it was enticing, and I began teaching myself Russian in the years prior to coming to Middlebury. When the study picked up pace in Vermont, I came to understand the language more holistically, and fell in love with everything: the precise grammar, the imprecise linguistic (and psychological) relationship between man and world, the sounds and lengths of words, the literature. In this way, the language gave me insight into how Russians work and think, and I am excited to learn whether it is true what Tyutchev said, that Russia is not to be understood with the mind. So far, the answer is paradoxical: the more puzzle pieces I fit into my idea of the country and the people, the hazier the larger image becomes. Needless to say, I am excited to be spending time in Russia in order to see whether the image is any clearer from a closer perspective.

Why Irkutsk?

Despite Russia being my academic focus, my conception of Siberia is about as vague as a world map’s. Russia is by far the largest country on earth, covering roughly 1/8 of the earth’s surface, and when I made my choice of location, I thought that an experience east of the Urals would allow me a more complete idea of what life is like in such a vast place. What is “Asian Russia,” and is it the same as the Russia we typically learn about in a classroom? Hopefully, my time here will help me answer such questions.

What are your goals for this year?

Brave a Siberian winter

Eat great Russian food

Travel on the Trans-Siberian Railroad

Skate on the clear ice of Lake Baikal

Hike in the Sayan Mountains

Visit the house-museums of exiled Decembrists

Learn to play the bayan

Visit Mongolia

Indulge in Russian culture: books, plays, film, ballets, music

Acquaint myself with modern Siberian life: the hardships, the pleasures, the concerns, the interests

Make great friends that will give me an excuse to come back

Share as much of my experience as possible with anyone interested


6 Responses to “Nate in Siberia”

  1. HOLLAmasta5000 said

    youre such a fuckin baller i don even no wat to do

  2. HOLLAmasta5000 said

    u forgot to add in your list of goals:

    HOLLA @ ma boiii in Peter

    • nateinsiberia said

      True, no, you’re absolutely right. Goal #13: HOLLA @ ma boiii HOLLAmasta5000 in St. Petersburg. I’m a huge fan of the “boi,” by the way. It brings back memories of when Avril Lavigne was still in the popular consciousness, and I had to hide my uncool opinion that that song about some skater kid wasn’t so bad on the 110th listen. You just had to give it a chance, Dima!

  3. Scraper Bike Gang said

    Hi Nater! Just read your recent travel anecdotes. Sounds like you are having quite the experience. I would to pass along Yuri’s contact info so you can perhaps make contact. Is there a better mode to pass this info to you? Stay warm and enjoy! Uncle G

  4. Scraper Bike Gang said

    Hi Nate. Just a quick note…we changed our email address to a gmail account…gg

  5. Scraper Bike Gang said


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: