08 May Impressions from Moscow, a Story by Polina
ExploRussia as a part of collaboration with youth organization AIESEC was guiding the group of foreign interns, who came here to explore Moscow, Russian culture and people and spread the word about it in their communities back home. This is the story of Polina from Latvia, though fluent in Russian, but comes from very different cultural background, she shares her impressions from Moscow.
“Moscow . Moscow does not believe in tears. What more can be said? I think there are a lot of things that characterize this big city: Stalin’s skyscrapers, metro – one of the largest in the world, population – about 14 million ( nearly 7 Latvias) , who are always on a run – exactly run, without exaggeration!, Bolshoi Theatre, the Kremlin, Red Square, Lenin’s Tomb, Christ the Savior Cathedral, Pushkin’s museum, the museum of Visotsky, Tsvetaeva, Planetarium, Arbat street, Tverskaya street, Treatyakovskaya, …
But I would like to add: Moscow people are not quite the same as I thought, to speak frankly, all my life I lived with stereotypes, what is the real Muscovite: corpulent lady with no sense of style and beauty, wearing expensive fur coats and frightful the most expensive brands and small spoilt high-fed doggies , and of course, always attracts attention to herself – without it she simply cannot live for a day, she does not speak, but screams and in most cases with extremely unpleasant timbre and height, she is too impudent.
But in reality it is not every resident of Moscow, mostly there live polite and well-wishing people, that try to help you, even if do not understand the language you speak. Not once for the whole period of time I met rudeness in my address, and never has anyone crushed into me, taking into consideration the huge number of people and the pace of life. It really surprised me the most, because living in Riga I often face with the fact that passersby simply do not know how to walk civilly. Being crushed into you they would even offend you. I also cannot understand why Muscovites are called “cold” and arrogant. Here it is normal that a beautiful and highly groomed woman dressed in fur coats and make-up (as if they are the Vogue cover faces) uses a subway and sits in next to a ordinary worker, not to mention how in Riga behave more or less decorous and respectable and pretty women.
A very long time I’ve been thinking that the most beautiful women live in Riga. Of course, it is true. But! What women are here in Moscow! Sure thing here also plays its role standard of living and much higher salaries, but still. It does not matter, whether it is early in the morning or break, or late at night – almost all women are well taken care of, groomed, with excellent hairstyle and always smile and kindness. I really can not understand how they manage to look so lovely and naturally with excellent flowing long hair as if they have walked down from a catwalk, taking into account consistently strong wind and vain metropolitan.
As for the subway, it should be mentioned that in the plus or minus busy times people run in all directions: left, right, forward, backward, diagonally, in zigzag, to you, with you, … But somehow they always manage to get properly on their tunnel and pushing you.
Especially at 7 in the morning and at 17 o’clock taking a metro trains – it’s just some kind of a gum filled with people: the doors open and you might think that there’s no more place to get into. But! People who wait for the train with you, just push you in, like a chicken factory. Another thing that struck me: mostly people in the subway are sleeping or reading. It happens very rarely, when talking or doing nothing. They can read even standing when there is no where to put your feet in a rush hour.
Of course, there are disadvantages as well, like a lot of illegal immigrants, mostly from Tajikistan, forming a local minibus mafia, and the Chinese, who distribute their products in abnormal amounts in large sheds, for examples named “Moscow”.
Another one is plugs. Yes, everyone knows about them, they are not lost anywhere, still.
Now about the theaters, of course, etc. And at least half of them you can enjoy totally for free and go out with positive emotions, as well as new business cards. Yes, talking about contacts: It’s just amazing how quickly people get acquainted here.. I was shocked in what extent and in how many places at the same time there are taking places all sorts of cultural sidemaster- classes, public speaking, exhibitions.
What should I say about my experience in Moscow? I’m completely in love with it! Yes I did enjoy this energetic, its fast temp of life, culture, Stalin’s skyscrapers, Moscow city, the Red Square and its people, what I didn’t expect at all.
In fact I didn’t want to leave this city, so one day (I know it) I will come back.”