I went with Yuri today to his house to finally see this place he has been so feverishly working on for the last several weeks. What’s an orphan doing with a house, you ask? Don’t be so hasty. This is the house (duplex) that he, his sister, and mother lived in before the family was broken up. It’s been abandoned for 10 years, though, after a fire left it unlivable. Now his mother lives elsewhere, and after his hazing incident at the dorm, Yuri is keen to reclaim that territory for his own again.
The setting is really pleasant – well beyond the city limits, in a residential setting with single fam
ily homes with gardens and rolling hills. His home is wooden with 2 rooms and a kitchen (would that I had taken my camera), and it’s a bad as you could imagine after being neglected for so long. Yuri has been a hero, putting in countless hours cleaning and fixing it up, but it’s a huge job, and it was hard for me to be excited about it, since it’s not like it’s going to look all that great (given the poor quality it was built in) when it’s done since he has so little to put into it.
On the way there we sto
pped at a trash heap where he often goes to look for glass for his windows and other goods. No luck today. Our time at the home was spent on spackling walls that have no prayer of ever being straight and Yuri putting wall paper over them. Russians hardly ever paint, and one reason is that they have so much to cover over that it would never look good to do so. The key is really thick wall paper, and he has done a nice job under the circumstances. In fact, I’m proud of him. Then we worked on the entrance way, taking off eight layers of former wall paper. Yuri estimates the age of the home at 40 years, and with 10 years empty, that’s quite a track record!
He hopes to be able to move
in in a month, but beyond the walls, there is no electricity, water, sinks, or toilets in there. But he’s my hero for his tenacity and vision. I just wanted to give some moral support to my young mentee. It was good male bonding time.