Change is hard, and doing it alone takes some courage, but I am here in Moscow. I had a teary goodbye to Cody a few days before I left as he returned to Riga and then mom and Jess the morning of my flight. I have many mantras I keep in my head that have gotten me through different stages of this process already, and they are working wonders. It is amazing what positive self-talk will do.
The morning of my flight began with breakfast out with the family as it always does. Jess and Maruis brought me some Nuvrei pastries for the trip and my belly was full of goodness. I wanted to get to the airport early because of the Delta issues so in Portland mom came in with me and helped me with my bags. I was lucky she did because the line was unbelievably long and the flight was delayed so she helped shlep my bags and then joined me for a beer and shopping to help pass the time.
I hopped on the plane a few hours after arriving to PDX. One movie (Concussion- which I recommend) one book (Courage for Beginners- which I also recommend) and a few hours of sleep I landed in Amsterdam 30 minutes before my flight was supposed to take off. After some stress and high quality sprinting I arrived at SVO with high spirits and no bags which was to be expected I suppose, given the Delta situation. I was greeted at the airport by a lovely colleague and after waiting for another new staff member we were off. It was daylight and the outskirts were breezing by as I tried to get a glimpse of all I could.
My first impression is that it looked a lot like any other city with freeways, malls, tall apartment buildings and such. Although I intended to study the Cyrillic alphabet more this summer, it didn’t happen and many words went undetected, although there were some familiar businesses out there I could make out.
We arrived at the apartment complex I will call home for the next year or so, and it was huge. There are 9 entrance doors along an expansive narrow building. Each section has 9 floors with two apartments off of each floor. Many of our school teachers live here as well as other people too. I dropped off my things and was whisked away to my acting directors apartment a few entrances down. When I walked in, I got a taste of the kind, generous, and cheerful staff I will be working with. There was beer, champagne, water and amazing home-cooked food for us to dig into. The jet lag was setting in, so after a while, I headed back to my apartment. I was able to unpack my one bag, move some furniture around and get some shut eye.
The following morning we took a stroll around the neighborhood with all of the new hires living in our complex. The area is wonderful and it was especially nice since the weather was so agreeable, sunny and about 80 degrees. We were taken by some grocery stores, restaurants, and the metro. It is a really convenient location and there are so many amenities around. By far it will be the easiest and best location I have lived in since moving overseas..
Entering the metro station I got a sense of how huge the city is. There were people everywhere, hustling to get on the trains that conveniently run every 2 minutes. The escalator down is unlike any you have ever seen, narrow and deep. I learned that they were bunkers in the past and it completely made sense. We hopped on the metro green line and headed to Red Square while taking in the tiled artwork and statues. I got my first lucky rub on one of the statues (I chose the dogs snout over the gun) and climbed into the sunshine.
When you step out of the metro in downtown Moscow, you are greeted by amazing buildings all around. I saw the Bolshoi Theater from afar and we ventured into Red Square. As we entered through the colorful gates I was giddy and filled with goosebumps at the excitement of seeing St. Basils Cathedral for the first time. It was spectacular. The shapes, patterns and colors are magnificent and so pleasing to the eye. Such a wonderful intro to this great city. I am excited for what is to come!