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"The North delays"

How is life after moving from a metropolis to a small town near the Arctic Circle

"The North delays"
Yakut city Udachny is located in 15 kilometers from the Arctic Circle, and from the district center - the city of Mirny - almost in 500. In these places, the frosts fall below 50 in winter, and the summer is very short: in May there is snow here, and in September - already.

They live in Udachnoye - a town of only two square kilometers, built on permafrost, - about 12 thousand people. And at least a third of them work at the local ore mining and processing enterprise (GOK), the Udachninsky division of Alrosy.

The very story of Lucky began with the fact that in the middle of the 1950-ies here were discovered the largest deposits of diamonds (the first indigenous diamond deposits in the USSR). The lucky one grew around the deposits, grew up around the concentrator. Since 1968, he is a working village by status, from 1987-th - a city.

Young Krasnoyarsk journalist Masha Pershina (now - Buzunova) moved from the millionth city to the small Udachny in October 2015. I went to a friend who had already worked at the GOK for three years. Now Masha and Constantine are husband and wife. Kostya, who lived in the north for more than five years, is already considered local. But to Maria, something still seems unusual. The more interesting is to compare life in a small town near the Arctic Circle with how people live "on the mainland" - so in the North they traditionally refer to the rest of Russia.


 
DAY, NIGHT AND SISTA
- Kostya graduated from the Institute of Mining, Geology and Geotechnology of the Siberian Federal University in Krasnoyarsk. And I went to Udachny, got a job as an engineer for mining equipment at a mining and processing enterprise. At that time we were just friends, communicated - it is clear that mostly in absentia, on the Internet. And one day Kostya writes to me: come, why are you sitting there in your Krasnoyarsk, what are you losing? - says Masha. - And I really had such a period that everything seemed to be fine, but there was really nothing to lose. I made up my mind. At first, she got a job for a short time in the city administration, and then moved to the press service of the GOK. This, of course, is not really my specialty. But I still manage to write to the corporate newspaper.

Masha says: the special move or difficulties in itself did not cause the move. I got used to it: my father was a military man, so the family moved from place to place more than once. But here in the most successful began discoveries.



- The first thing that struck after the arrival was very low trees, covered with snow. But it was only October! And small houses, as if hanging in the air. In fact, they stood on piles, and I knew that in the north, on permafrost, they build it. But at first it surprises, of course. The second impression is the complete absence of people. If the day is all at work. In the evening - at home. I did not notice the celebrated people here. And in a couple of days I saw the first in my life the northern lights. It was something grand! I could not imagine anything like it. It seemed that it should be accompanied by some cosmic sounds ... Well, then we started a dog and began to catch the northern lights with it every night.

Maria says that the polar night, when more or less light is only 3-4 hours per day (and it lasts from October to March), it's not so hard to survive. But in the afternoon the city falls asleep. In the most direct sense.

- Here many arrange an afternoon siesta - for whom work allows, of course. The town is small, everyone goes home for lunch, and ... it makes you sleepy in the polar night. I don’t know whether it’s from a lack of light or (as I heard) from a lack of oxygen, ”says Maria. - When I first fell asleep in a heroic dream in broad daylight, I was terribly surprised. But it turned out that I was not the only one. And the definition of "siesta in Udachny" belongs to a Spanish journalist who recently came to us. He watched what was happening and said: "You should still have a glass of wine after dinner - then there will definitely be a real siesta."

But the polar day, when the sun does not sit down at all, is the heaviest, says Masha. Conventional curtains do not help. Many local people at this time just completely glued windows, so that from the sun at least somehow hide.

The strongest frost, which Masha managed to catch at Udachnoye, is minus 57 degrees. He came to Baptism. In the city in the meantime, have already prepared a font, the townspeople waited for the opportunity to plunge. But, since even a strong wind rose, the mayor managed to somehow persuade people to postpone this matter.

- By itself, the frost is not so terrible. It's hard that in May, when everything is blooming and green on the mainland, and friends are sending photos with flowers and green grass, we still have snow, - Maria says. - Caught myself on the fact that I'm tired of white. Here, all have a shortage of bright colors. Therefore, houses in Udachnoy are built with bright parrot colors. The house we live in is tricolor: yellow-green-orange. But in general, for the design of facades use mostly five colors.
 
LIVE WITHOUT FAST FOOD
- If you tell me what I miss especially in Udachny, it will probably be things that are too simple, banal, - says Masha. - Most of all there is a lack of fruits and vegetables. Vegetables - especially. Here they are of poor quality, old and terribly expensive. Although entrepreneurs are trying to bring more here. Our situation is not as catastrophic as in other northern settlements, where food is delivered only a few times a year. But when you come to the mainland, you are delighted with the fact that a bunch of fresh parsley costs 20 rubles. Although, if you lived on the mainland, you might have bought this parsley once a summer.

And yet, she admits, there is not enough ... fast food.

- Funny, huh? But sometimes I really want to, instead of messing around with dinner after work, just buy something ready-made. People! You can't even imagine how cute it is, it turns out - fast food! But I don't know when he'll get to us. In small settlements, in general, not everyone understands why this is needed. Here in the district center Mirny, although it is only twice the size of Udachny, all this is there.

But the lack of fast food can still be somehow survived. But the inability to see loved ones is already unlikely. There was no normal (that is, fiber-optic, which all cities use) Internet in Udachnoye a year ago. Consider that there was no mobile communication either - there were constant interruptions. And with relatives and friends who remained in another city, you could talk, in fact, once a year - during your vacation.

“But last year, fiber optic cables were installed here, civilization reached us, so it became easier,” Masha says. - I still miss the cultural life that I got used to in Krasnoyarsk. Exhibitions, concerts - none of this is here. What do we do in our free time? Recently, a cinema has opened in Udachny. I have mastered skating. We look into the pool. In summer, the entertainment is mushrooms and berries, the city stands in the middle of the forest. And also in Udachny there are a lot of sports sections: both children and adults go to them. Udachny's hockey team is the strongest in the region. I wrote several articles about them for our newspaper, and in between times I fell in love with hockey.


 
"LEAVING NOT EASY"
To the way of life in a small polar town, too, it was necessary to get used to.

- At first I was amazed: God, why is everything happening so slowly? It seemed to me - well, what prevents to do everything a hundred times faster, well, at least to break through the products at the checkout? But there is such a rhythm of life. I don't know, maybe people save energy this way. This is not a bad or a good trait - it is special, - says Masha. - And of course, a small town is a small town. Everything is in sight. It teaches, you know, self-discipline.

And yet she was convinced that the northern mutual assistance, support - not a legend.

- I heard about it, but did not think that mutual assistance in the north is developed to such an extent. Whatever you need - to drag a closet to the fifth floor or take out a cast-iron bathtub from the fifth floor, you can turn to people (while barely familiar) and be sure that they will definitely help you. And so in everything, - says Maria. - In other places you will not see this. I don't know, maybe the need for such mutual assistance is dictated by the peculiarities of life in the North. There are few people, and on whom can they rely, if not on each other? Whatever it was, but it is what it is.

How long for the Buzunov family? Constantine, who has lived in the city for five years, considers himself a local resident, and Maria - yet. She even find it difficult to orientate here: she says, the houses are numbered randomly, there are no streets in the usual sense, it happens, and you'll get lost in the middle of the block. And, of course, to many and many other, more important things have yet to get used to.

- Although I am already imbued with the story of Udachny. Here, after all, people really did labor feats, without exaggeration. And I am proud to live in such a city, next to such people. They really have a lot to learn, - adds Masha. - I like that I'm here, I do not regret that I moved. And if I had the opportunity to drag my friends here, I would do just that. Because a person, especially a young person, can realize himself here, achieve something.



It's hard to live in the north, but on the mainland there are not those opportunities that it gives, says Maria. Material first. But not only.

- The North is addictive. Many people come here with the thought: I’ll work for five years, save up money and leave. But then they cannot do this: they get used to the local rhythm of life, and to very good earnings. When you leave for the mainland and get there, say, 25 thousand for what you received 60 in the north, it is difficult to rebuild. But it's not just that, there is a complex of reasons, - says Maria. - And many come back. I personally know people, both young and old, who seem to have finally left and then returned. I understand that I would live differently in Krasnoyark or another big city now, and I would devote most of my time to myself in terms of cultural development, for example. But, on the other hand, I understand: while we can work here, we must use those opportunities that are not available on the mainland. And whether the north will drag us in for a long time - I don't know.
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