Sunday, June 13, 2010
Eyes Wide Open
I won't lie. Over the last few weeks I haven’t been looking forward to coming to Russia very much. What I felt was more like dread. But I decided eventually that I need to approach this trip – and Russia and Moscow – with eyes wide open. That is, to just take things in, with as little judgment as possible.
Now, a few things have made maintaining this attitude somewhat challenging. In particular, my luggage was mis-directed by the cheap, crappy discount airline Germanwings (anti-advertisement: Don’t fly Germanwings!!). My itinerary was: Leipzig-Stuttgart-Moscow. My baggage’s itinerary was: Leipzig-Köln-???
Then, as I was trying to get money from the ATM (which turned out not to be an ATM, so I shouldn’t have even been there), a mother carrying a small vomiting child raced past me, and the vomit sprayed onto me and my backpack. Well, I’m exaggerating a bit. It didn’t really spray all over me, but there were some bits that landed on me. Could it have been worse? Yes. Was it nauseating nevertheless? Yes.
Anyway, things are coming around. My luggage finally arrived in Moscow and I picked it up today. That’s right. I picked it up. Germanwings doesn’t deliver lost luggage. But I had an interesting conversation with the taxi driver on my way back in to Moscow, so it wasn’t a complete loss of time and money (reminder to self: eyes wide open).
And I was greeted by very friendly hosts – I am living with a family of a man and woman in their early forties and two small children (whom I haven’t met yet: they were asleep when I arrived and the family is at the dacha = summer cabin all weekend). The hostess – also Julia (Yulya) – felt badly that my luggage was lost and rushed out to get me a toothbrush, pajamas, and some other things I might need immediately. Another American graduate student is also living here until early August and she has been very helpful with some logistical things involved with settling in.
I'll leave you with a picture of the building where I’m living on Novoslobodskaya street (the apartment is on the other side of the building)...
And the train and metro station Savyolovskaya close to the apartment: