I love friends who visit!
Wayan has asked me to write something of my impression of Moscow for this
website. My very first thoughts included words like cold, dreary, gray, and
gloomy. This was all from the taxi ride into town from the airport. Everyone,
with very few exceptions, was wearing gray or black. The streets were icy
and muddy and the traffic was hectic and smoggy. From inside the taxi it
all looked pretty depressing. That image was soon changed, however. The first
weekend I spent in Russia was spent outside the city at the sanitarium. I enjoyed the snow and the
good company without the stress of city life. As soon as we returned, I got
my first real taste of the city when we took the metro back to Wayan’s apartment.
Monday would be my first day in the city. Since Wayan had to work, he walked
me to the metro station and gave me some last minute directions. From there,
getting around the city was quite simple. The Moscow metro is amazingly efficient
and easy to use. I enjoyed it the entire time I was there. Each day I went
to another point of interest, and each day the city seemed to grow more and
more colorful. The cold and the mud didn’t seem so dreary anymore. I began
to understand some of the signs around me and I began to enjoy the challenge
of ordering something to eat or asking directions. Just getting around in
a city full of people who speak another language is an adventure in itself,
which I really found quite fun! Occasionally I would become frustrated in
a situation, but the excitement of the challenge far outweighed the struggle.
As in any place in the world, you have good days and bad ones.
Above all, Moscow seemed to be a city of stark contrasts. There was an upper
class and a lower class, but no real middle class. There are a few exceptions
to this, and it seems that the younger generation is establishing a place
somewhere in the middle. I really admired the people in Moscow, and in Russia
in general. They have come a long way to arrive at this place in history.
I also admired them because I felt like life in America was easier than theirs.
The things we take for granted are often of great importance to others, and
it was a nice reminder to me.
Now, to be fair, most of the things you could get in America, could be found
in Moscow, but the way in which they are acquired is another story altogether!
The culture there has evolved a somewhat inefficient system of getting things
done. Shopping, for example. You usually had to go several different
places to get everything on your shopping list. But, that was part of the
challenge and fun. The climate itself was also a challenge for me, as I am
a native Floridian. That too, was exciting and new – I just loved playing
in the snow!
Overall, I enjoyed the city. I was introduced to a whole new part of the
world and a new pair of eyes to see it through-truly an adventure!