You Think You're Cold? Here's What It's Like To Live In Siberia

What is it like to live in Siberia? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by Leysan Makhmutova, Former journalist, Komsomolskaya Pravda, Russia, on Quora.

Oh, there is a lot of fun in Siberia actually! You can intrigue against the tsar, try to make a revolution, and after that you can get a free house and a job in the mines! Just kidding.

I lived in Siberia for more than 19 years. I finished high school and university in Omsk, a big city in southwestern Siberia. And all I can say about these years - I really miss Siberia. It was kind of magical - when in autumn, all nature felt into a lethargic dream for the next six months. And after that, in spring you see how everything around you waking up after this dream and you feel that the long beautiful summer coming.

I got lucky, because I lived in a big city with a population of more than 1,000,000 people. I can't say anything about small cities in Siberia. But my city gave me a lot. All elective classes like theater, vocal classes, any sport, any languages (beside the really exotic) - everything was free. For my classes in school or university, for all my hobbies in German and French languages, acting and journalism classes; I didn't pay anything, and I am thankful for all.

The Russian theater school always was one of the best, and in Omsk we have a lot of theaters with wonderful actors and directors. Of course it is not so famous like theaters in St Petersburg and Moscow, but still damn good.

There is great nature, mountains, a lot of lakes and rivers, a lot of talented people, probably the largest bookstores in the country and definitely the best tea (because China is our neighbor). And for many people that is enough: a good book and good tea helps you to stay warm even in the coldest night in winter.

Of course I don't want to idealize Siberia. It is a cold place and sometimes cruel. The people are private, but only if you are a total stranger. It doesn't mean that nobody helps you, but they probably won't smile when helping you -- just because it is not usual for us. Siberia is a conservative place mostly, and Siberian people rarely accept new things.

It is one of the reasons why young people are leaving Siberia. I have friends and my former classmates everywhere around the world: Germany, England, Netherlands, France, USA, Austria. We took a lot from Siberia, but sometimes you can't pay back.

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