Thursday, February 10, 2011
Last week I was in an all time low in my Russian journey. Since I have relocated to different countries, continents etc, and that's without counting moving cities several times in my childhood and teen years, I know very well what 6 months into the process means. It's when it "hits" you. The initial excitement of moving is long gone, social environment has not graduated yet to a full-blown friendships and the new place is really the only home you have right now, but it doesn't really feel like home. More like a temporary refugee camp with rather luxurious conditions.
Besides this unfortunate timing, I was drained by lack of sleep and a few other sad circumstances that did not help me develop love for Moscow, or love for anything for that matter.
Several good heart to heart conversations, few good wines and some travel prospects make me nearly back to my true positive self. At the end, what can I complain about. My loved ones are happy and healthy, I have food and shelter, not to mention all the perks like "comfort", "security", "choice" and what not. Yet, I haven't completely managed to get rid of that taste of bitterness about Moscow. Things are just a bit rough here, rougher than anywhere I have been before. It's a large, exciting, aggressive city of semi-European, semi-Asian type. Just like it's people. The average Russian is like a product of a controversial science experiment in mixing the two least likely nationalities in the world: the Fins and the Chinese. That new human race, let's call them the Eurasians, are clan oriented, spiritual but very commercial, socialist, but extreme strong government supporters, hard drinkers but sober decision makers, introvert and passive in public but loud and emotional in private. It's like a very charismatic individual with a severe case of schizophrenia. And you never know which personality you are about to face. It might be that you have a great literary conversation with almost complete stranger, or be yelled at on the street for no particular reason. You might be almost bodychecked by a babushka at the airport, or surprised by the fact that every men always open and even holds the door for you.
And in this confusing place I constantly meet people that came to stay because they really like it. More than their respective Germany, UK, USA, Denmark, South Africa and many other countries, in which millions of other people, from poorer countries, dream living in. What is so exciting about Moscow? I don't get it. I mean I get it for me, only for now, but I am very clear for myself that this is temporary. One thing I have to say, all those brave adventurers I have met are male. I wonder how much it has to do with the unquestionable beauty (despite occasional tacky fashion style) of the Russian ladies and their own increased bachelor eligibility.
I also wonder how would I feel about Moscow in a year from now. I have loved all the cities I have lived in before, would this one be an exception. And am I not, just a little bit, in love already?