July is the time when my parents come to visit. July is the time when many things unfinished or broken in and around my house get fixed. July is the time of the large hardware stores. My father makes a list of what we need and then we go. Most of the times we go to Karwei that is 15 minutes walking from my house. But sometimes we need a bigger store and then we go by car to the bigger Praxis, Gamma or Hornbach. I like hardware stores. They are like huuuge Mechano kits. So many things you can make! It’s also fun to learn names for all this stuff. My father uses Russian names for everything and after I’ve figured out what it is and we’ve found that at the store, I get to learn the Dutch word for it. I also like when there is no standard solution for our problem. Because then we get to puzzle, discuss different solutions, measure and weigh pros and contras before we buy something.
While my father and I are spending our time in hardware supermarkets, my mother (who is not so much into hardware) sorts out my calendars. I (or rather we) collect pocket calendars – small cards with a calendar on one side and a picture on the other side. I started collecting calendars at school following other kids, but unlike other kids I never quit. I have about 50.000 calendars in my collection (rough estimate). Most are in large albums, sorted by topic. But thousands are packed in boxes and still need sorting out. That’s what my mother does while we have fun with hardware. Today she was sorting out a box full of Russian calendars. I know very few people can be as enthusiastic about pocket calendars as we are, but look how much fun it can be!
Timeline: 1981 – Because I spent so much time in Saratov, I was suspended from my kindergarten for non-attendance. Which resulted in me spending even more time in Saratov. I didn’t really have friends in Kiev, but had plenty in Saratov. Tolik - a boy who was two years younger than I – once asked me a question I couldn’t possibly answer. “Why do you think I know everything?” - I asked. “Because you come from Kiev!” Very sweet. :)