Warm congratulations sent from space orbit

Belarusian cosmonaut Oleg Novitsky has wished his countrymen happy New Year during a telephone conversation with famous sculptor and People’s Artist of Belarus Ivan Misko. The latter has sculpted Oleg many times and has visited his home, becoming a good friend
By Lyudmila Minakova

“This was Oleg’s third call to me,” notes Mr. Misko (in the photo). “He called just as I was drawing his portrait so maybe he felt something,” the sculptor smiles. “We chatted for a couple of minutes and Oleg sounded cheerful, saying he felt fine. However, I could sense that he missed the Earth, wishing to touch it and take a walk, smelling Mother Nature. Of course, he can see Earth below all the time and tells me that, sometimes, he can even distinguish Belarus when the weather is good. Oleg asked more questions than speaking of himself so I told him about my preparations for a personal exhibition. I emphasised that I expect to see him at its opening. On March 15th, he’ll return from orbit and the exhibition is to open on April 12th, at the National Art Museum. His bust will be on show. It’s ready now but I’ve kept it under wraps, as cosmonauts tend to be superstitious. When Oleg lands, everyone will be able to see it.”

Oleg Novitsky congratulated all people of Earth on the New Year from his space orbit. “Oleg wishes us all kindness and beauty in life and, most importantly, good health!” Mr. Misko tells us. Oleg usually calls the sculptor at his studio; this was the first time on his mobile phone. “I thought he was somewhere close to me because the audibility was so good. I was going to invite him over!” recollects Mr. Misko. “He simply said, ‘Hello, Ivan Akimovich’. I asked who was calling, not expecting him. He told me it was Oleg and I couldn’t help but ask from where he was calling! He replied, ‘Don’t you know where I am? I’m in orbit’.”

Oleg has promised to call Mr. Misko again to relay how the crew has celebrated the New Year in space.
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