Tuesday, April 9, 2013


Today is my grandma’s (who lives in Russia) birthday. This, combined with a fact that my mom is going to Russia at the end of this week, makes me incredibly, indescribably homesick. No matter how much time has passed since we moved here, no matter how great things are going, no matter how much I love living here, there is no place like home. While on an average day all is fine, there are days sometimes when random memories from before I moved here pop up in my mind, making it almost impossible to focus on something else and fight back the sudden urge to cry.

From the very first day we moved to the US, I made a clear point to eliminate any particles of Russian culture from our every-day life (no Russian music, no Russian movies, no Russian books, very limited communication with my family and friends in Russia) to expedite the process of grasping the new language, the new culture, the new system of values and traditions. I believe this has helped me adjust to the new circumstances; however, in a way, this has created a sort of obsessive behavior, where I would avoid watching Russian movies scared to ‘lose’ my knowledge of English or I would not read Russian classics because I feel like my English is not good enough to allow myself to choose a Russian book over an American one (and it would be absolutely insane for a fluent Russian speaker to read Russian classics in English).

Only recently have I given myself permission every once in a while to have ‘cheat days,’ where I would indulge in the elements of my native culture (watch some Russian shows, movies, listen to the music). The result? Instead of it becoming a fun, enjoyable experience, every time it ends up becoming a painful one. Only now am I becoming fully aware that it is not the fear of inability to grasp the new culture fully enough that keeps me away from all those activities but the fear of pain and sadness they may bring. Only now do I realize that by eliminating all these elements and memories I subconsciously try to cope with the big emptiness left inside after leaving my home country (I just literally burst into tears writing this… so weird!!!). The overall experience of moving to a different country does not only put you through an array of severe obstacles in the beginning of the journey, it leave a huge, incurable mark, or scar, that keeps flaring up when you least expect it.

The worst thing is that I can say with great confidence that I would not want to move back to Russia, as this country suits me better in a lot of ways. However, there are certain things and certain memories that will always bring back the heavy nostalgic feelings leaving an immense burden inside my heart; things that I should always hold on to, no matter how hard it gets, because at the end of the day they are the things that define me.

Since this [very depressing, sorry!] post is all about my younger years in Russia, I am going to share a few of the photos from my home country:

{{Me and my best buddy Vladik. We lived on the same floor in apartments that were facing each other. We hung out all the time. I still consider him my brother}

{My very first day of school. I'm the one of the right}

{My friend Igor's birthday}

{My cousin Anna's wedding. In the middle is my dad}

{Second grade of school New Year's celebration - I am the one on the right in the purple gypsy costume, hand-made by my mom} 

{With my dance group in International Camp for Kids "Orlenok"}

{A game of I don't even remember what, still in "Orlenok" with my dance group. At the time this kiss on the cheek was my happiest moment as this guy was my first 'true love' J

{With my dance group in "Orlenok" - I'm in the middle in beige fur coat}

{My dance group was invited to Greece, where we stayed for a month performing every night  and enjoying the amazing experience}

{All the girlies from my dance group. I'm second from the left}

{I still cannot believe I did it!}

{Graduating from middle school, with my teacher and classmates}

{Receiving my middle school certificate from the principal of our school}

{With my girlfriends at graduation}

Dancing - Through the Years

{With my cousins, Veronika and Alina, whom I miss terribly! I'm in the middle}

2008 - First trip to Russia
{With another cousin - my lovie Katusha. Miss her so so much!}

2010 - Second trip to Russia
{With my grandma (best grandma is the world, whose birthday is today) and cousin Alina}

{With cousin Katusha singing our hearts out}

{And there's more singing...}

{No comment}

The End

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