"Поздравляю!" my landlord said to me, shaking my hand.
For a moment I was confused as to why he had congratulated me, but then he said "Канада," and I got the message. It was about today's hockey game. Russians are good sports, after all. I congratulated him on his country's performance and we continued on to other matters. But the moment of triumph stayed, for both of us.
And indeed, today's game was one of triumph. It wasn't as dramatic as the semi-finals, or the Vancouver finals, or this year's women's match, but dammit, we did crush Sweden something fierce. I don't know how anyone could advocate for any nation but Canada as the world hockey champions. I really don't. The hockey victories were another feather in our cap, and we didn't do too badly in the overall standings, coming in third (and beating America - which was nice to see, as we all know that Canadians survive off American tears). We are a nation of winter, very much like Russia in fact, so it was no surprise that we performed near the top.
These games were set up from the beginning to be a disaster. Issues with infrastructure, dodgy political developments, and domestic threats seemed to ensure an adequate scenario at best. Somehow, it all came together, and they pulled it off. I'm happy that the games went off with only minor hitches. Though I'm still glad we won hockey. My students would never have let me live that down.
What surprised me most about the Games was how much it made me long for home. There were plenty of Canadians to be seen, of course - a girl from my hometown even won a silver - and when I caught glimpses of them on TV, I found myself almost hungry for the sight. All through tonight's closing ceremonies, I kept my eyes out for my flag and for my countrymen. Furthermore, just seeing another Winter Olympics take place reminded me of Vancouver 2010 and our own triumph there. I miss my homeland so very much.
So we've gotten safely through the Olympics, and spring is very much on the way. I'm really beginning to feel the itch to leave. The people here have been nothing but welcoming, and my job is interesting to say the least. But as the months wear on, I'm glad that it's coming to an end. I will come home again - though sometimes it seems I have to remind myself every hour. No matter. The time will pass, as time does.
Another note - in 2010, I was living in Canada, and our hockey teams brought home both gold medals. In 2014, while I was living in Russia, the same thing happened. I guess I'm going to have to clear this up now. I am not moving to South Korea in 2018. While I am clearly some sort of mystical good luck charm, our ladies and gentlemen of the ice are just going to have to win that one on their own!