Walking the half mile to the Church of the Intercession, I had already handed my last bit of cinnamon bread over to a horse and had given up any hope of staying warm (despite wearing every layer of clothing I had packed). Since leaving the U.S. three months ago I have seen Tallinn, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Vladimir, and Suzdal. But, seeing this church in the Russian woods was unique. It seemed extremely distant from the places where I had lived my whole life.
Studying abroad, I have met people from all over the world: Russia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Estonia, Germany, Italy, and more Canadians than I have ever known before. Between all of these people, so many different languages are spoken that I feel very motivated to learn some of them (in particular Russian). Early on I had mistakenly thought that the people I was meeting wouldn’t be interested in discussing politics or that it would be rude. Because of this, I think that I’ve made some Russians slightly disappointed by not being able to immediately name my favorite American president.
Even though I have loved visiting unique, sometimes magnificent, places like the Hermitage museum in St. Petersburg or the Red Square, my favorite times have been simpler. Some of my beloved pastimes include trying to speak Russian with people, or shuffling through a crowded Metro station at rush hour. My Russian is (at best) as good as a three year old child’s so I am grateful that some Russians have the patience to speak with me (I think that they even find it funny). Coming from a smaller town like Tuscaloosa, it’s exciting to see a seemingly endless stream of people on a set of escalators or to know that there are still large regions of the city I haven’t explored yet.
With only three weeks left in Moscow, there is still an uncountable amount of things that I would like to do. In general, I want to meet more people, see more places, and learn more math. Coming to Russia has reminded me that anything is possible, that the world is a large, endless place, and that there are always people who are smarter, wiser, or more alive than I am who I should be learning from.