… it happened by the ice cream stall in the Alexander Garden in Moscow, between the Kremlin Wall and Manege Square. As you can see, meeting two figureheads of the Russian Soviet history is quite exciting even for the Russians themselves. For my part I couldn’t help taking the picture, although Vladimir Ilyich successfully evaded the eye contact.
… I‘m finally in Moscow, my native city. I’ve just pondered on the power of written goals, and those of you who’ve been reading this blog since 2006 might remember that one of my New Year’s reservations that I first publicised here at the turn of 2006/2007 was to go to my place of birth. Since then the goal has never left the radar but for one reason or another it was being delayed time and again. Maybe I was sharing the goal with the wrong people, I don’t know. The fact is, this year I\ve written down that I would go to Moscow in October, and just as I began to feel that I needed to delay the trip, Fate stepped in, and voila, I’m in Moscow now.
This reminds me of a saying by Jacques Prevert:
Even if happiness forgets about you a little bit, never completely forget about happiness.
Same for goals. Accept setbacks and delays but keep pushing, and one day you will get there. If in doubt, consult me.
I’ve not been out yet really, as the flight turned to be a bit more excruciating than even I expected. I left Manchester on a late warm and sunny afternoon, only to arrive into a typically Mancunian rain over Moscow. After all, I’ve been joking for a few years that my two countries swapped weathers. Upon landing and collecting my luggage, I was greeted by several taxi drivers who offer private services to visitors. Since 1990s taxi has been a strange kind of business: although there are certified companies in Moscow, a lot of work is still carried out by ordinary drivers. The ones at the airport were trading with all the best traits of direct sales technique: broad smile, good eye contact, polite rather than excited tone of voice. Eventually I asked one of them about the terms of trade with the airport. As one would expect, airport has a share in the drivers’ profit.
What has surprised me the most until now is the fact that when I look at my photos I genuinely don’t see much difference between me at 17-20 and now. Perhaps, those who cannot phathom my age (which isn’t 55, anyway!) are right. Yet when I look at my mother, grandma, and dad I see the changes, quite drramatic. Considering that my parents are the mirror in which I look to see myself, I am reminded of Dorian Gray story. But maybe a lot of us are reminded of it when we spend so much time away from those near to us.