I had a conversation with a woman on the street a few weeks ago. Things are starting to cool down here, and the temperature on this particular day was about 5 degrees. Given that the thermostats in the Metro, as well as in every building in the city, are all always set to Sixth Layer; and given that time I spend outside is usually less than ten minutes at a time, I still don't bother with taking a jacket with me unless it is especially cold.
As I was walking to the Metro, a woman commented to me that I was only wearing one layer, and that surely I must be cold (this comment took some time to convey, since I more-or-less couldn't understand her). I smiled knowingly, and said in Russian:
"Well, you know, I'm from New Zealand, and we New Zealand men are notably hardy. Why, we don't suffer from the cold, we revel it; as we feel it to be a conformation of our masculine imperative."
Or, at least, that's what I intended to say. Unfortunately, given my lack of all but the most rudimentary local vocabulary, and my overwhelming lack of knowledge of the grammar of Russian, most of what I intended to say simply didn't emerge from my lips. In fact, the only thing that did come out of my mouth was the distressingly non-sequitur statement: "New Zealand!"
She looked at me with furrowed eyebrows, and walked away.