Tuesday, 8 June 2010

that special something

Very aware that I am leaving Moscow next week and going back to London for most of the summer. Of course really excited to be seeing my daughter, relatives and friends, and to be spending a decent amount of time at home; but also find myself trying to pin down the things I will miss. Sometimes it feels as if Soviet times haven't really gone away, like when a tram goes by full of sleepy army recruits, or amid those stand-up picnics in the park, or walking through my 'typical' high-rise neighbourhood. Then there is the way the lifts tend to be sturdy but not smooth or quiet and all repairs haphazard rather than effective.

But there are also what seem to be truly contemporary moments; such as the glam young women in the highest heels, tightest shortest dresses, brightest colours and the most labelled accessories; or the extraordinary array of buildings under construction which cannot even be contained by the term 'eclectic' and have led me to think hard about what I mean when I say something is ugly. There is the energy of new cultural possibilities, of new things starting all the time, usually without warning, publicity or long lead-in times.

So, even though I don't want to reduce this place to simple stereotypes, I do seem to be trying to select a special something, that sums up my first (almost) year in this country and city. For which, all suggestions welcome....

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