My family immigrated to Canada when I was just 11 years old and many ask me if I have been back to visit. I visited Russia a total of 4 times since I left and sadly I have not been back since 2007. Even though I have been travelling quite extensively over the past 6 years, I have not visited Russia in that time. It is a bit of a shame as what little family and close family friends I have back home experienced quite a few life changes and I have not been there to support or even to see them.
Having left Russia at such a young age puts me in a very odd situation. I was too young to leave behind any significant friendships or ties to locations and schools. So when I do go back, whom do I visit? With whom can I reminisce? I guess it would have to be a couple of my family’s friends daughters who are unfortunately complete strangers to me. Our relationship is so far removed that conversation is even more awkward than with a stranger. American culture has undergone such rapid changes over the past 6 years, I can’t even imagine what has happened in Russia. Last time I was in Moscow, Motorolla RAZR was the phone everyone should have. So aside from personal milestones, I don’t even know what to talk to my friends about. They probably don’t even know about Breaking Bad. How the hell do I even translate that into Russian?*
I don’t know the first thing about Russian pop culture or what is hip in Russia. I don’t know how appropriate it is to bring up the ridiculous the “gay propaganda” conversation. I’m just afraid that the things my friends and family may say will just make me want to run for the hills. In reality, all this is very superficial. I’m sure I can entertain my friends and family with travel stories and my rants about China. The vital question is whether I should bite the bullet and sleep in my dad’s suburban apartment or prefer to stay in a hotel?
One saving grace is the fact that my father travels to Moscow very frequently and he is able to entertain me with his colleagues, his friends and his work. Thankfully, he can also can act as my “tour guide” for my time in the city that I don’t know. He can also help me interpret a culture that I no longer fully understand. I should really stop worrying and go, don’t you think? It’s been so long since I visited Moscow that it will be a great opportunity to experience Russian culture shock. Although, after China I don’t think that anything can shock me.
*”Во все тяжкие” – Thank you, Wikipedia!