24 October 2010

it's starts off innocuously...

Last weekend, Lexi and I took one of our new teachers for a ride on the metro. He hadn't been. And, worried that he'd be stranded here over fall break and confined to activities within walking distance of his flat, we took it upon ourselves to broaden his public transportation experiences. (And you know how much Lexi loves the metro. LOVES it! Throw in a bus and a hot dog at IKEA and she was in heaven.)

Because of other commitments, we ended up leaving around 5:00 p.m. Now, 5:00 on a Saturday in St. Petersburg is more like...1:00 in the US. Busy.

People get up and started moving around noon. A few early birds are out then, with most people heading out much later. By 5:00 shoppers and revelers and people meeting friends are out in full force.

Which means the metro and the bus were crowded. Standing-in-the-aisles crowded. Even-Lexi-stood crowded.

This is not what struck me. What struck me was how UNstruck I was...if that makes sense. He is still in that I'm in Russia! adventure, when everything is new and your senses are assaulted by the novelty of it all. Six years later it's just Yep. I'm in Russia. for me. It's just...normal expected. I look at the crowded bus and know that we're going to have to cram ourselves on, protecting our shopping and our bags. I'm not filled with wonder that so many bodies can fit on the bus. I'm not cross that I'm standing under someone's armpit. I'm not anxious that Lexi will be trampled. (Okay, not much. It's a real danger.) I was just navigating the crowds I'd expected at this time of day. He was still enjoying the novelty of a bus that looked more than full stopping and letting on another busload of passengers. And trying to cram himself on the bottom step so that the door would close.

Here's where the blogging conundrum sets in. Because, instead of just blogging, I'm starting to wonder how people will comment and react. It's my oldest-child people-pleasing nature.

But, if I do that, then it's not my blog.

I don't want to be a blogger who says, "Only comment if you agree with me."

But, I also grow weary of the comments that tell me that my experience is invalid; that my life in Russia is not really life in Russia. That it's my fault that I find it difficult to live here. That the people I encounter are completely different than I see them and know them to be. That they love Russia and if they were here they would never stop walking around in joy and wonder. Maybe so. I doubt it.

I thought the same thing about England. Loved it. LOVED it! Visited over and over, for years. Spent the summer living there, studying with the RSC. Went to drama school there. Walked around, seeing the same things I'd seen many times before, and was filled with wonder and delight. Every trip held happy adventures.

And then lived there. And...it was just life. And while there were and are things that I love about being there; living there, living outside my culture--who knew England would be outside MY culture!?! I thought that was my culture; that the little things that made me see out of step would be what made me fit in across the pond--presented real challenges. The wonderful thing about America (Actually, that should be a whole post. Let me table it for now.)

Does it mean I think you shouldn't do it; shouldn't try living in another culture that you find fascinating; shouldn't come live in Russia? No, absolutely not. Be Dorothy. See if life over the rainbow is what you really want. If it is, if you love it, forget the balloon and stay in Oz.

But, GO to Oz. (J, we know you're trying! Keep chasing rainbows.) Stop telling me how wonderful it is from the porch of your Kansas homestead. Stop trying to convince me. You're not going to. *I* am the one living this life.

So much for people-pleasing. How did a nice little post end up in a rant? No clue.

And I was just about to apologize for it! But, I'm restraining myself. Mostly. I didn't intend to hurt anyone's feelings in this post, and worry that I have. Please know that was not my intent. It's just me trying to figure out the shape of this little blog...and I let the mind wandering come pouring out of my fingers.

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