Friday, May 31, 2013


I'm still in shock at the prospect of moving. For the past week I've walked around with a goofy smile on my face, and every second phrase out of my mouth is "I'm going to Russia". It doesn't feel real, and I doubt it will until I've been there a few months.Fulfilling a long-held dream is not an experience that comes to many people, and I'm over the moon about it.

Sure, there are questions - will my Russian be adequate? Will I function in a different culture? Are my files going to be ready when I apply for the visa? Can I be a good teacher? - but they're at the back of my mind for now. This week, it's just euphoria. I'm engrossed in Russia and my future there.

Surely this will wear off at the first obstacle or simply with time, but in the meantime...


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Мы начинаем

I blame my aunt for this. 

In the fall of 2000, when I  was nine years old, she arrived at my home bearing a copy of Anastasia: The Last Grand Duchess. Remember the Royal Diaries series? They were fictional diaries of princesses and queens throughout history. For me, they were the literary equivalent of crack. I couldn't get enough. But Anastasia remained with me. I read biographies and Russian history. I watched the Don Bluth animated film and all three hours of Nicholas and Alexandra. After a while, I moved on to my next cultural obsession, while keeping an affectionate eye for Russia. 

Fast forward to the summer of 2009, when I was planning my first-year university schedule. I wanted to take Russian. "What about German?" my mother asked, waving the course catalog in front of me. Nope, Russian. Somewhere, Anastasia remained at the back of my mind. I signed up for the first-year class and I was off. After four years of studying the language, the film, the literature, the culture - if you haven't stayed up all night reading medieval Russian chronicles, you haven't lived - I graduated this past spring with an H.B.A. in Cinema Studies and Russian Language and Literature. After a quick TESOL certificate and a flurry of applications, I found myself with a job in Moscow. Come September, I will be living the dream. 

If my aunt hadn't brought me that book, if the first-year Russian class had been full, if I had been persuaded to accept a more practical major (say, Commerce), I would not be on my way to the most exciting moment of my life. Since I got the email on Thursday, I've been in a state of euphoria. If I looked in the Mirror of Erised today, I would see myself - just the way I am. 

I have never lived abroad on my own before, nor have I been to Eastern Europe. This is going to be the best adventure I've ever had. I hope you can join me as I live in the land of Tolstoy and Eisenstein, of Cheburashka and Lenin - the land I have dreamed of for thirteen years.