Russian beauty

It’s late. I’m drafting plans for my eight classes in a row tomorrow– Wednesdays I teach reading lessons in the elementary school–and I took a break to read this NYT article about “the pleasure in pain of chilies”.  This article really spoke to me, not only because I’ve been seeking out hot sauces and chili powders here (I bought this really American-looking “Red Devil” sauce at a 24-hr gourmet grocery store by Park Kulturi) and because I miss Thai food like crazy (it’s all D and I ever eat and ever want to eat), but also because of “pleasure in pain” idea.  I was describing to D the other day about how I Russia’s not the most comfortable place to be in, but how I had sought out this potentially uncomfortable, trying experience because of the reward I think it will eventually give me.  These words from the article really spoke to me and explained my bold move, and maybe also my love of spicy foods:

“A taste for chilies has no deep meaning, no evolutionary value. It’s just a taste for chilies. I might add, though, that since it takes such a complicated brain and weird self-awareness to enjoy something that is inherently not enjoyable, only the animal with the biggest brain and the most intricate mind can do it.”

I’m just being a person, it turns out.  The article also got me thinking about my taste in music.  My favorite Chopin Etude, for example, is op. 25 no.5, the so-named (not by Chopin himself) “Wrong Notes” etude, with its rather tipsy, melancholy off-ness, and I can’t get enough of that bizarre, haunting, universe-shaking dissonance in the Coventry Carol.  It’s inherently not enjoyable, I guess, but it just sounds soooo good.

Anyway, walking around Moscow, sharing the sidewalks and metros with all these statuesque beauties, I feel way short. Yes, there are a lot of strutting Slavic goddesses all over the place, and even though they’re tall enough, they all wear heels.  But another kind of Russian beauty worth mentioning is the sunsets that the Moscow region’s been knocking out every evening.  The sky is just huge over the flat, scrubby fields, and it’s been so many different colors lately– orange, tropical island brochure hot pink, pure gold, etc.  I remarked on this to one of the women I worked for and she said, too bad, Russians don’t look at the sky very much.


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