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pictures by Layla & Sasha
text by Layla

After visiting aunt Lida and cousin’s Lena’s family in Moscow, we headed to my eldest aunt Zina,where she lives in a house with her youngest daughter, Tania in Malino. Malino is where my grandmother had finally agreed to move to from Nikolo Titeli and where she died. Although Nikolo is my beloved ideal, a time of pure happiness, where I used to hide in sunflower fields in the summer or watched the earth hidden in a deep comforter of snow to its horizon in winter – my secret moomin winter past – I have fond memories of Malino too. My cousin Misha would drive me on his motorcycle over the picturesque river and the surrounding flowering grass and lush forests. This year, we made a pilgrimage to both places.

Aunt Zina

Cousin Tania, a schoolteacher, shows a rock her pupils have found in a forest stream on one of the excursions and presented it to their teacher.

The chick-guardian

Nikolo is 12 km to the north of Malino. As a child, my mum walked with other kids from Nikolo to the Malino school and back on foot through sunshine and snow, fields and woods. When she learnt from her geography lesson in primary school about the majestic White and Blue Niles and how they met in Khartoum to flow into Egypt and the Mediterranean as one powerful water, mum always searched for the confluence of streams on her way to Malino and back to Nikolo and lost herself in a dream about what it would be like to live in that spot in Africa. Fate had it that she married my father and went to live with him in Khartoum for many years in Mogran miltsov.org/travel/photosthe confluence), where we all marvelled at the exact line where the blue waters met the muddy white and tumbled together to rush to the north.

On the way to Nikolo we stopped by the local saw-mill to check out the quality of the future chopsticks in the IKEA near you before heading to my balding motherland.

I drove this Pazik and, for some reason, this ability of mine evoked much admiration from the local public.

The guillotine.

The trees after having been guillotined are then loaded on:

And off we go to Nikolo:

And here we are in Nikolo:


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