The Diary of a Russian Boy

~~~20th of June, 2018

The plane landed in Norway at one o’clock in the afternoon and I drove with my Uncle Yefim for just over an hour to arrive at the coast. It was three months ago we were both invited to work on a boat by Yefim’s old friend, Finn Olsen. Yefim said he would go without hesitation and pointed out it would be a good experience for me and an opportunity to meet new people. I accepted the offer even though I was nervous. I don’t know what I want to do with my future. Maybe this will help me decide.

The boat is medium-sized, blue and has a crew of twenty people. Most of them are Norwegian men but there are also German, Italian, Indian and American men who came over to help with the busy fishing season. Most of them, like me, are doing it for the experience.

As I got out the car, I saw most of them were loading things onto the boat so I and Yefim found Finn to see how we could help. Finn, the captain of the boat, showed us where the supplies were using English. I learned English in school and Uncle Yefim always encouraged me to practice it regularly. Therefore I created the habit of writing this, my diary, in English.

We got to work quickly. There wasn’t much talking and I carried whatever the other workers told me to carry. My uncle and the captain guided me in a mix of Russian and English. When we finished, I was very tired. Food, drink and a place to sleep on the boat are supplied to all people who come on this trip. Captain Finn sometimes spoke with his men in Norwegian and sometimes spoke with me and my uncle in Russian. The German, Italian, Indian and American men worked and ate in silence.

I am now in my bed, writing by the light of a candle. We were only loading and preparing the boat today. Tomorrow we will set sail. I hope every day of work on this trip isn’t as boring as today.

~~~24th of June, 2018

It has been four days since I wrote in my diary! I have been so busy. On the second day the Captain explained to me how to tie the ropes correctly. He used English again even though I knew he spoke Russian. At first I thought it was stupid. Neither of us were fluent in English so why did he not speak Russian? It would be easier for me to understand him quickly. However, as time went by I began to form an idea. Captain Finn also explained things to the Germans, Italians, Indians and Americans in English. I started talking to the other foreign boat members in English and was surprised that every one of them understood me! I still don’t understand why nobody except the captain tried communicating this way before. I made good friends with Amil and Noah from Germany; Constantino and Enrico from Italy; Kabir, Laksh and Sadhil from India; and Ben from America. They started talking to each other too. Learning about our different backgrounds is so interesting! Captain Finn gives me messages for the rest of the crew because he recognises that I know everybody already. Uncle Yefim is very proud.

Every day since we shout at each other across the boat while we work. Even the Norwegian men joined in our conversations and taught us their local working songs. When we finish, we play card games below deck until it is completely dark outside. Captain Finn said I should come back next year too.

Having had this experience, I am still not certain what I want to do with my future but I think I would like to travel and meet more people. Uncle Yefim always liked to travel. I finally understand why. Apparently I am good at bringing people out of their shells. Ben the American said my English was good so perhaps if I work hard I will be able to study abroad or fish in more of the world’s oceans!

It’s late and Uncle Yefim wants me to blow out the candle so I have to stop writing. Looking out the window, I see the water is black and reflects the stars beautifully. I hope every day is as fun as these last few days have been.

– Commissioned by Dmitriy

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