Five weeks. Five weeks is what remains of my time in Russia. It seems like only yesterday I was entering the dorms on a dark and stereotypical Russian night, still adjusting to the 9 hour time change from Chicago. Still fresh with fear of an unknown culture and what the future may bring. While it is true at times life here can be hard, it is never boring. Simple tasks prove themselves to be complex and take twice as long as they might in the United States, but they also prove to be more rewarding. I have also felt my language skills improving much faster here than at school in home. Although I miss my family and life in America, I have grown into a niche here of friends. We know that our time is limited and that we must grab our remaining days here and ride them until the final moment.
Looking back on my pictures I can not begin to believe how much I have experienced here. I am sure that the gravity of it all will not hit me until I have returned home but I am truly having a life changing experience in Moscow. The city is alive. Moscow is a hungry dog that is constantly baring its fangs and spitting at you. But once you get past your fear of dogs (which is a must with the amount of strays that you encounter on a daily basis) you learn that it is not as frightening as you have thought. The twisted metro map of oranges and blues that once seemed un-navigable is now an easy and reliable system. Everything seems to make more sense with each day. But nonetheless, something happens and you seem to fall to the bottom of your cultural curve. Someone may say the wrong thing or face control may decide that your Halloween costume isn’t good enough to enter the bar. But the key is to not let these things affect you any more than they should. Life here is what you make of it and although at times it is true that it is difficult it is just as many times rewarding.
One is not able to live for a semester in Moscow without actually having lived a year here. It is truly hard to believe that only 5 weeks remain. I know that as I sit on the plane going back to America it will be impossible to leave being fully satisfied. The city is too big to do everything. This city is too alive and changing every day. One day a building may be a bank. The next day it might be a flower shop, beer store, and a shwarma stand. The city is breathing and we are simply bystanders.
I remember coming here with only two years of Russian language and now feel like I have known about the culture for a lifetime. I feel more Russian with each day. I may not have much time left here, but I will spend it wisely.
By: Martin Reggi
Term: Fall 2010