Nikita Khabirov goes to sixth grade of Hinko Smrekar Primary School in Ljubljana.
He came to Slovenia from Kamchatka. This is a Russian peninsula in the Far East, where there are many geysers and volcanoes.
“It’s very cold there,” says Nikita. “In winter, it is about minus twenty degrees Celsius, and in the summer it is rarely warmer than twenty-five degrees. Winters are very long, lasting from September, sometimes even from August, all the way to May.”
But this is not why his family moved to Slovenia. Not even the crisis, which has inflicted Kamchatka, like many other regions of the world, was the reason. They moved because they wanted to change their lifestyle and because his father got a job here.
Nikita says that he misses Kamchatka a little bit. He still has friends there, and he goes to visit them every summer. He used to play football with them a lot – in his former home town, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, there is a big football field with artificial grass.
“This is the most popular sport in Kamchatka, followed by basketball”, Nikita says.
Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky is the administrative, industrial, scientific and cultural centre of the peninsula. The city, about the size of Ljubljana, is located by the sea, but it is too cold for swimming. It is surrounded by volcanoes, which are a UNESCO world heritage site. Last year, Nikita climbed one of them, which is almost as high as Triglav, the highest Slovenian mountain, only a bit less steep. “I made it almost to the top. About fifty metres before the peak, I couldn’t go any further, because it was so cold.”
Nikita’s life in Kamchatka was not so different from now. “Even the food is similar. In Kamchatka, we also ate spaghetti and macaroni. But we still often make borscht, a typical Russian dish. It’s a soup made with beets, potatoes and meat.”
His class in Kamchatka was a bit smaller, but the school itself was about the size of his current school in Ljubljana. There, younger children also read the Little Red Riding Hood and the Three Little Pigs, while older children listened to rap. Boys played football, while girls sat around the playground, looking at boys or staring at their smartphones and chatting.
Nikita likes it in Slovenia, but Kamchatka was not bad either. “What I like best in Slovenia is that the people are nice, like in Kamchatka, and that they are sociable and helpful.”
In his current school in Ljubljana, he has many friends, and together, they like to socialise in the schoolyard. When he is not with his friends, he likes to read. He reads both in Russian, so that he does not forget it, and in Slovenian, for his school assignments. His favourite reads are articles on various topics and on animals, for example in the National Geographic.
Apart from this, he spends a lot of time playing sports. Last year he practiced football, but he needed to take a break from his practice for a while. In the meantime, he has taken up swimming but hopes to go back to playing football soon. After all, this is the most popular sport in both Slovenia and Kamchatka.
Goodbye: Do svidanja
Thank you: Spasiba
My name is Nikita: Menja zovut Nikita