Background on informant: Informant is a senior at USC, studying international relations. He is from the Bay Area and lived and studied in Russia for a year.
He told me about a proverb he heard from multiple people about how to prepare for a journey in Russia. He can’t remember exactly who he heard this from but said he heard it from multiple sources.
“Otpravlyayas v dalniy poot, vzya butilku ne zabud.”
In English: “When you’re going on a journey don’t forget to bring a bottle.”
Analysis: This proverb is interesting because it requires the receiver to have some working knowledge of the Russian culture and perhaps stereotypes to understand that when they mean “bottle,” they don’t mean bottle of water but a bottle of alcohol. At first, I even thought it could have two meanings, depending on the audience, but the informant, who said he might not have been sober when he first heard it, said that it is specifically talking about a bottle of alcohol. It’s not the most weighty proverb in the world, perhaps, but it is definitely a proverb that would tell you something about the culture, its stereotypes, and the person delivering the proverb.