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    Газета School English #7-8, 2003

    She’s a Walrus

    Надежда Никифоровна Рогожина, проректор по международным программам, зав. кафедрой лингвистики и межъязыковой коммуникации Самарского Муниципального Университета Наяновой, кандидат педагогических наук, доцент.
        Dear Readers,

        Last time I mentioned the “Monday Motivating Moments” electronic magazine on positive thinking . Now, I would like to share some experience connected with the wonderful personalities I met through the Internet and then in reality!
    It all started with a jump into the cold icy water of the Volga river (like many other people called Walruses). I had been so impressed by that that I wrote a story about it and sent it to the Heartwarmers4u web site. It was published under the title “She is a Walrus” and there came about 150 responses from all over the world! I never thought my simple story could arouse such an interest. There were responses from the USA, Canada, Singapore, Nigeria, Japan! The Japanese even asked for permission to translate it into Japanese! It was impossible to answer personally to all the people and I did it through the Heartwarmers 4u. But there were some emails which I answered personally. They were 2 emails from totally blind people! It was amazing! They read my story and sent me emails through the Internet themselves using the special vocal programmes! I wrote to them that there was nothing heroic in what I did but what they did in their everyday life was really worth writing about.

    The image of Samara was acquired by the Spaceborne Imaging Radar onboard the space shuttle Endeavour
        The publication did turn out to be positive for it helped find people who had drifted apart in life. Among the responses there was an email with a request from the USA to find the person with whom the author of the email used to work in Yugoslavia 25 years ago and who was from Russia, Samara (the USSR, Kuibyshev then). Since there was a map of Samara made from the American spaceship “Endeavour” attached by the editors to my story, the author of the email asked for my assistance. He was lucky enough, I did find his friend in this big city!

        After the publication I was invited to participate in the Heartwarmers4u conference in Niagara-on-the Lake (Canada) by the President and founder of the web site Lee Simonson. He offered to pay for the accommodation and I had to find the sponsor for the air ticket! I almost lost all hope but there came an article in ‘Monday Motivating Moments’ (editor: Mary Rau-Foster) which was called “Intentions and Wishes”. That there was some positive energy in the phrase “ I intend…” rather than in “I wish…”. I remember that I started to look upon the possibility of my attending the conference as an intention and there came a sponsor(!), all of a sudden just one month prior the event in time to be able to cope with all the red tape concerning going abroad (applications, embassy, visa)! And after all the adversities my dream to see one day the Niagara Falls came true!

        At the conference I met fantastic people, the authors, Jems of the Heartwarmers 4u web site and the book which was presented there: Azriela Jaffe, Corrina Hyde, Joe Edwards, Stephen J. Hopson (a deaf and dumb author who spoke with the help of a synthesisor).

        It was great to meet all of them and to be awarded the special plaque which is now hanging over my computer reminding me that “When there is a will, there is a way!” Be optimistic, the glass is half full!


    She’s a Walrus

    Left-right: a guest from Singapore, President of Heartwarmers4u web site Lee Simonson, Nadezhda Rogozhina
        I have never been a health fanatic and I never counted calories. I am rather careless about my health but... there is always a “but”... One winter’s day on the bank of the Volga River I saw the so-called “walruses” — the people, all with smiling faces, who jump into the freezing water in a hole in the ice covering the river. (The Volga is frozen from December till March).

        The temperature of the air was 8 degrees F. Soon after, one of my younger colleagues told me about her experience swimming in icy water and how she felt afterward. Her story was so intriguing, that I made up my mind to try it myself.

        I am in my early 50’s so I decided that I had nothing to lose, but the pain in my back! My son disapproved of my decision. He said he would not participate, and my online friend from Australia said he would never go within “slipping distance” of an ice hole!

        My other colleagues rushed to talk me out of it, but they failed to convince me. I decided to train for it so I took a cold shower every morning after my normal hot one. I was trying to imagine how it feels under cold water in a frozen river, but admittedly it was hard to compare.

        The day came at last! When I arrived, I saw two men, both strong athletes with large muscles. They were dressing after their swim. There were no women. The wagon where the people could change was closed for lunch. I looked at my watch, one hour to wait!

        It was cold and snowing and the whole picture seemed surrealistic. I decided to wait another week. The following Sunday I came to the river again, the day was sunny and bright, the change wagon was open, and there were many people: men, women, children. Everyone was so friendly and I understood that by coming there I had joined a community. I was very much afraid of going into the water barefoot.

        However, it turned out to be OK! I jumped into the cold water. It felt like fire and it burned me all over! At that moment, when my head was under the water, my whole life flashed like a film before my eyes. My first kiss, the wedding and the birth of my first baby (a son), the moment of triumph when my PhD thesis was accepted...

        When I came out of the water I experienced a feeling of complete happiness! Yes, I was happy! And that feeling lasted all day long. I think I’ll go there again soon.

    by Nadezhda Rogozhina

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