Russia means the world to me, despite the fact that I haven’t lived there for years. This post will be a little bit different from my other ones…perhaps a bit nostalgic. But what can I do? Russia occupies a very special place in my heart. For me, it’s the greatest country in the world. The most magnificent, the most powerful, the richest in culture, ideas… but I guess every one feels the same about their own country. Therefore, please, don’t judge my tastes.
I was born in a small neighborhood of Moscow…summer 1993. I only lived in Russia four more years. That’s why most of my memories are scattered, blurry, undefined. However, if I dig deep into my unconsciousness I am able to recall several episodes from my early childhood. Most of them are of my dear apartment, where I spent the first years of my life. I have memories associated with every corner of that apartment. Today I flip through albums of photos and sometimes tears of sadness conquer me, because those are moments I will never relive, and I truly wish I could remember more of it.
As years pass, so much is changing in Moscow. There’s more buildings, more people, busier streets. However it never loses its true essence. I don’t know if what I am saying is nonsense, but for me every country has its own essence, it own way of being. It’s almost like a soul. Once you move somewhere else you start missing even the smallest things that you associate with your home. For me, it’s smell. Yes, smell. It may sound funny, but Russia smells in a particular way. It just smells different. I miss its smell. Especially when you got out into the country, or simply wander into one of Moscow’s numerous green parks, you can sense its scent. It’s the smell of Russian forest, with its birch and elk trees. Never have I encountered that smell in any other country. My mother tells me Czech Republic smells the same… I’ve never been there, so in my mind, she’s wrong.
Moscow is the city of onion domes, old world grandiose, and fast-paced lifestyle. Its rich history can be sensed in its many beautiful cathedrals, palaces, squares, and gardens. Anyways I bet I could babble on for hours and hours… that’s why I found these statements of foreigners that have been living in Moscow:
“There are plenty of challenges: bureaucracy, traffic, litter, corruption and cold weather, but, on the whole, do not listen to all the negative stories people tell you about Russia. They are mostly told by people who have not been living here.”
“Fascinating, frustrating and chaotic.”
“I thought it was going to be all grey and dreary when really it is like living in any European city.”
“We can do everything. I love spectacles: opera, ballet, circus.”
“I love poetry, especially Lermontov and Pushkin. Also, Marina Tsvetaeva – her poems about homesickness perfectly express a longing for ones homeland. Russians remind me of ‘soulful Napolitani’: they’re sentimental, they cry, they’re passionate about their home…”