“You write book?” she asked me super happy.

“No romanticized truths.”

“Oh, well, it’s your last week”

I had totally lost track of time. Every day I woke up, went outside on my bare feet to get some fire wood, light the fire, poor a pan of cold water on my head, brush my teeth and get to work.

It was as if we had been living in a loop. Every morning when I opened the door of the main house the same Russian children's song touched my ears, the mother was making breakfast and the little girl claimed all the space with her toys.

After every meal I did the dishes and started cooking for the next one. If we weren’t having lunch or dinner, there was tea and freshly baked biscuits or pie. I was constantly occupied of taking care for the two households and in charge of feeding the men who were doing hard work in freezing temperatures.

I had sold my dishwasher in Belgium to become one myself in Siberia.

Initially, I was afraid that I would get bored on this Siberian farm. What the hell is there to cultivate in minus 15 degrees? The only thing they grew in winter were children, but still I barely had free time. I was the only helper around and even in this extreme season there is a lot to do on the Russian country side.
After finishing the household shores, we all gathered around the table, the men rolling dough, the woman stuffing it with cabbage or potato. We had been doing it so many times I almost started to have signs of becoming a Vareniki-fabric*.

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Don’t get me wrong, I had some time for myself as well, not much, but it could count. Sporadically, I went out for long walks in the woods, skiing (although my ass saw more beautiful places than my eyes) or the neighbours invited me to excursions into the wild and wellness in the banya.

Although I down shifted big time, I have never really felt a discomfort.
Living without bathroom, great variety of choices in the supermarket, internet, chocolate and deep conversations has given me the space to have discovering walks in my own head.

Funny enough, without any problem, I had put myself in the role of a servant. I saw it as a voluntary Cinderella, cooking and cleaning for the sake of someone else.

Every fairy tale has two sides.


* Vareniki-fabric: extremely fast and accurate in the repetitive action of rolling cabbage or potato into dough