Eight Things That Will Make You Jealous of Russians and Their Dachas

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – August 8, 2016)

[Text with photos here themoscowtimes.com/articles/8-things-that-will-make-you-jealous-of-russians-and-their-dachas-38139]

In summer, the dacha becomes the focal point of Russian existence. Children and grandparents live there while school is out, and those who still have to work head out for their own bit of greenery once Friday afternoon rolls around.

It doesn’t have to be a luxury building with carefully manicured lawn like the ones picketed by protesters earlier this week. Instead, the whole point of the dacha is to live the simple life – and to make the world long to be Russian and have a chance to enjoy all that is good about the dacha for themselves.

1. The Light

Whether it’s the rising sun or an evening bonfire, the light at the dacha is different. Softer doesn’t quite cover it, though warmer maybe does. It’s also certainly more likely to get you in a reflective mood than the whole “bright lights, big city” spiel of Moscow.

2. The Simple Joys

No layers of makeup, no blow-drying either. No game consoles, no state-of-the-art gym, no heated pool. Instead, a dacha weekend is about having a shower with the garden hose, going barefoot all day, competing in a wheelbarrow race. Essentially, it means letting your hair down – sometimes even literally.

3. The Flowers

Whether it’s a single twine of roses or a garden full of phlox, asters and sunflowers, there is a lot of beauty to be found out here. And since this is the dacha life, don’t bother bringing flowers inside and putting them in a vase. This time, it’s the other way round: Go outside, lie down among them, and enjoy the aroma and the colors.

4. The Food

If anything embodies the sweetness of a summer spent outdoors, it’s this watermelon picture right here.

What’s more, a dacha dinner usually means there’s shashlik – and yes, it’s okay to eat with your fingers! Here, have some corn on the cob, too. As for dessert, it’s strictly pick-your-own.

5. The Drinks

No food without drinks, and again, simplicity is key. Bring your own bottles – glasses and cups are optional. Who knows, you may end up maiing your own lemonade – or just experimenting with a big bottle of cola.

6. The Animals

You may think of it as your dacha, but it isn’t yours alone. When you go back to your dusty city life on Sunday night, the local wildlife gets to stay – statistically, they spend a much larger portion of the week there than you. (So remember, if your pet misbehaves at the dacha, it’s probably just jealous.)

7. The Togetherness

It doesn’t matter whether you’re going with friends or with your family. It doesn’t matter whether you get tanned, get wet, get closer, get drunk or get silly. Just remember to take a picture. Then first thing Monday morning, make it the background on your work computer so you have something to tide you over until Friday.

8. The Sky

If the above points don’t have you planning an escape to the dacha just yet, here’s the final argument in favor. No need to explain – just have a good, long look.