As fun as living in Russia is, one of my biggest pet peeves is the fact that every summer, the hot water temporarily gets shut off. You see, living in the apartments means residents are all packed together, and unlike back home, there isn’t a chance to do maintenance yourself. A benefit to this is that people will come around and fix things for you, but for a week or two in summer, you have a chance of turning on your water only to react with a lone sigh. Though, as my coworker reminded me, the fickle Russian bureaucracy could lead to the water getting shut off before it’s scheduled to; this is yet another reminder to expect the unexpected in Russia. And if you’ve correctly surmised where this leading to, this post was inspired by my very own experiences and how I’m coping during the aforementioned period.
In fairness, I shouldn’t gripe too much simply because there is a site that lets you know when your district will shut off the water. However, this year is especially more annoying since my flatmate and I were both away last year when said repairs were underway. Thus, because of the two year gap between having to deal with this matter, it feels a lot more jarring than the very first time. (For better or worse, I’ve shuttered off my memories of panicking that eventful first year when I turned the hot water on only to be brutally disappointed. Good times.) In terms of overall inconvenience, it’s not too bad, but for me the only time it gets annoying is when I attempt to shower. Now, by this point, you may be wondering how I handle this issue. This can go one of two ways, depending on your feelings towards the cold. If you’re like me and are a wimp, I have two techniques for you: 1) do what my first flatmate did and run around until your body heat is high enough to jump into the coldness or 2) boil water to bring with you into the shower. The trick for the latter is to leave room in the pots and pans for some cold water, since you don’t want to burn yourself. For me, the optimal way to ensure a comfortable amount of heat is to have a large pot with two teacups juxtaposed with boiled and cold water. And finally, what if you like the cold? Ignore everything I said in the post and carry on-you win.
Bottom line here is that it’s an inevitable facet of living in Russia. At first it’s an inconvenience, but it soon morphs into a badge of honor, especially when talking to first timers. Simply, “that’s Russia.”