“If words don’t have vibration behind them, and a real feeling behind them, then they’re just words.” Charlotte Rampling.
I keep running into people I know. The first time it happened there was a strong energy pull. I followed, and standing directly in front of me is Anya.
We hadn’t talked in 5 months! We caught up and decided to go to the film festival this weekend. She’s one of my activist friends. Me cae bien. She has a good soul.
Then it happened again before my lesson with Peter. I was getting off the bus when I saw Amy. She was wearing earphones, so I tapped her on the shoulder to catch her attention. (She was just as surprised.) I invited her to the film festival, too.
Then I had two dreams I ran into Angie. She was unexpectedly in Moscow and, serendipity would have it, bumped into me (as if she wouldn’t have told me ahead of time). In the second one, we were back home when it happened again, both knowing that we had ran into each other in Moscow. In fact, I didn’t remember the first dream until after the second.
I was leaving Metropolis mall yesterday when I saw Daniel pass by. I didn’t stop him. I can’t even remember the last time I saw him.
What does it mean? I can’t help wondering.
In a city of 12+ million, I just so happen to unexpectedly run into 3 people I know within a week? I work in-company, mind you – which is to say all over the city and not in one center.
What are the odds?
“Why are you here? Why are you in Moscow?”
The question always comes across as philosophical rhetoric, but it’s a question I’ve had to answer myself — and believe me, everyone wants to know. I don’t blame their curiosity, but what exactly do I say? Humans like to remain absorbed in the mundane, never straying from their comfort zones, never taking risks or daring to venture outside the norm. What am I to say when I show up out of the blue and rock their world? Why Russia, comrade?
I can answer honestly, and say I am on a quest for Love. I am here to discover what it means to live, which is to say, Love.
But then again, doesn’t that also sound silly? That I need reminding? And that still doesn’t answer the main question. Why am I here?
I love subzero temperatures? Hardly. I like drinking vodka? Right. Russian girls are so hot? Awkward.
Deep down, I’ve always wanted to come here. I knew this was my chance to get right with myself and to attempt to do what I love. From scratch.
And I did start over. I’m like a child here — in more ways than one. I’m learning the Russian point of view, their language, their way of life. Now it’s a matter of merging “theirs” with “mine” – in search of “ours”.
Creative and destructive.
It’s what we all really need and want, but there’s some voice stopping us, convincing us that life is ever so cozy as it is. Why change it?
However, it’s not about change, but growth. That really entails learning to Love myself.
This is my dream. I’m here by choice, stretching my limits and doing things differently, independently. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the process.
С новым годом!
Желаю Вам любви, счастья, удачи, здоровья!
Let’s make it a good one.
As the temperature continues to drop, it’s definitely beginning to feel more and more like winter, complete with snow and slippery sidewalks! I bought a good pair of boots expecting them to magically protect me from black ice. “Why am I still skidding? These boots were expensive, damnit.” I grumbled. Dima just laughs, “You’re not walking right.”
What a concept! I’ve had to teach myself how to walk — each step has to be deliberate and slow. Symbolic, I know. This reversion to a previous state also doesn’t necessarily imply degradation. It’s all an appropriate and essential part of my training here. It’s all so new.
I love it.
I’m like a child in a lot of ways, one who doesn’t perfectly understand their language, one who doesn’t behave according to their customs, one who doesn’t quite fulfill their social expectations. Dima calls it the “regression of adults” (incidentally, he loves teaching elementary English to adults). But as aforementioned, I simultaneously feel I’m at my prime. I’m learning, growing, transforming — trying to find balance.
But more than anything, I’m enjoying it. One day I know I’ll look back at my first real winter and remember my excitement when the first snow fell, I’ll remember the first time I heard the snow crunch with every step, and I’ll remember the exhilarating rush the first time I caught myself from slipping.
I am alive!
I have this tendency, this inclination to observe rather than to participate. But I’m trying to break that habit. I think it’s necessary to have a balance, and I think my time to try new things has come. That’s part of the reason why I’m here in Russia, why I’m teaching English — it’s all so new. It can be overwhelming at times, but I really just need to embrace it.
I know it’s good for me. It’s what I need.
I’m typically a really contemplative person. About everything, really. But since being here, I really haven’t had the same impulse to spill my thoughts. Again, it’s a good thing. All my life has been full of reflection, ruminating many of life’s wonderful mysteries. It was beautiful and necessary at one point in my life, and I’ve since shifted from that state to one of action. But for some reason, I initially hesitated — only because I wasn’t sure how to do it.
The transformation has been slow, but somehow, it’s all been making sense. Everything in its own time. I firmly believe that.
I’m learning to let go and make mistakes, to pick myself up and take the next step, to keep going. I’m proud of myself really. I have so much to learn of course, but I’m amazed at my progress. I’m excited about my life and the direction its headed. I’m on the verge of something beautiful. I’m sure of it.
My Russian friend Dima pointed out that I’ve been here for almost 3 months now, and was curious about the observations I’ve made living here. Mainly, the differences between living in Moscow versus Los Angeles. I wasn’t sure how to answer, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since.
It’s different. It feels different. But how do I articulate those feelings into words? How do I translate my intangible impressions?
First of all, adjusting to life here wasn’t as easy as I expected. My romanticized view of Moscow has long since dissipated. Maybe that’s a good thing. Not that I had major culture shock or anything, and I’m not sure what exactly I expected — but it’s the subtleties that irked me. Russians are blunt, austere people, especially compared to my reserved, timid nature. I was initially very intimidated by them. Not to feed into the stereotype, but they really do come across as abrasive and indifferent, and because of my limited Russian, they terrified me. But this is only a facade. I need to grow some tough skin and defend myself. I can’t take it personally.
However, I’m still fascinated by the elusive Russian soul Dostoevsky and Tolstoy wrote about. I want to learn more and uncover something deeper. There’s something going on here that makes me believe there’s a reason I’m here. I’ve caught glimpses here and there, small coincidences and moments of serendipity placed by the universe for me to heed, to allure and beguile my own (Russian) soul. It’s all still so surreal.
Of course, none of this did I divulge to Dima. Even now I feel as if my words don’t fully exhibit my thoughts, emotions, and impressions. Instead, I briefly commented on the sense of community unlike that in America, and continued walking.
“Learn a new language and get a new soul.” Czech Proverb.
After five years of pining, I have finally made it back to Moscow! And these are my musings, a diary of sorts.
I am here on a work visa for 9 months to teach English. I’ve already been here for 7 weeks, but I’m still getting used to life here. It’s been a wonderful learning experience so far. I love it. I am here to get right with myself, to learn and grow, to become the person I know I want to become. I am really excited. This is really the place for me to be right now.
For now, I just want to start off with some photos.
I am spending the night in Miami, waiting for my flight to Haiti in the morning. I am not sure what to anticipate. This reminds me of when we went to Mississippi six months after Hurricane Katrina to do relief work. This is only three months later. I can’t imagine the devastation.
I will go with an open heart, ready to give as much as I can, ready to learn as much as I can. I will make the effort to speak Creole, and meet some very interesting people.
People are so quick to feel pity or guilty about their privileges. And yes, it’s a shame that the world operates under a system that maintains the wealth of the aristocrats and oppresses everyone else. But I think the challenge (read: opportunity) everywhere lies in finding the strength to be yourself, in finding the courage to live the life you want to live. A life of luxury and plentitude is unnecessary and trivial. This world needs to radically shift its perceptions and remove the blind fold so that everyone can truly enjoy life. What does it really mean to live? To thrive? To evolve? To exist?
It’s hard because somewhere down the line (e.g. the conquests), people starting losing a connection with the Earth, with the Universe, and ultimately themselves. Money took over. Corporate entities were established, and the economy became god.
But none of it is real.
I hope to meet real people in Haiti, and make deep connections and hold philosophical discourse with them. I have a feeling I will. This documentary is going to be amazing.
I am ready.
I went to the Fox Studio Lot a few days ago with some classmates to hear James Cameron talk about Avatar.
Because of the close ties my documentary film professor Sally Rubin has with the NRDC (the event organizers), we were able to snag free tickets ($125 for the talk and $250 for the talk and reception), and front row seats.
All I have to say is ‘Wow.’ I love Chapman for this great opportunity. This man is obviously the most successful film director and to go and see him speak was really great. Because the talk mostly focused on the environmental and spiritual issues the film raises, he did not come across as arrogant (as some describe him). I respect his work, and I respect his die-hard attitude & uncompromising approach to filmmaking. I personally really enjoyed the film. It had its spoon-feeding-the-audience moments with unnecessary dialogue, but a film of such massive, world-wide appeal has to be laid out for everyone to follow and enjoy.
And the 3-D experience was absolutely finessed for this project. Those who did not see it in 3-D saw a completely different film. It’s true.
Besides, how many people can say they saw Avatar with James Cameron?