11 Days in Moscow. A few takeaways.
It's been exactly eleven days since I arrived in Moscow. What should feel like days, feels like an eternity. I have not stopped moving, meeting, talking, engaging, questioning, learning, observing. It's not unlike me in any other city, however, this city is unlike any other city. The energy is constant and vibrant and enticing and grand. Like the architecture and the streets and the people walking them. My moments of stillness have been few and far between. Here are the most important ones.
1. Sitting through a Rachmaninoff Performance at the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall. 90 minutes of pure silence, aside from a few gasps of awe from the conductors bodily movements.
2. Following the shuffle of my Grandfather's slippered footsteps as he set up his spotless one bedroom apartment for tea. Every spoon, tea cup, plate, napkin, food has it's place. Eat up he'd say intermittently throughout his stories of war, poverty and loss. The man is 90 and moves with such grace a prima ballerina would be envious.
3. Sitting, late night, at a table of hockey players as my eyes visibly rolled out of my head wondering "is this it? is this as far as your mind will go?" (i try not to judge but in this case it was particularly hard not to...i say this openly as I assume they'll never read this newsletter)
4. Walking down the path outside of the infamous Luzhniki Stadium with a 17 year-old, cigarette in hand, production assistant as he spoke of politics, history, and the human condition. The only response I could muster was "can I have your number?" I'm still not quite sure if this action was appropriate or not.
5. Listening to uber driver after uber driver giving reason for why Putin is the man. There are too many reasons to list but majority of my conversations leaned towards pro-putin - not that there is, or will be, an alternative - but those voicing their opinions were happy "enough" to be able to put food on their table. There were of course those who cannot stand him but that's a post for another time.
There's much more to my time here. Much more than that. What I feel is that at some point, when I start traveling more consistently, I will need to figure out a better format to capture all that I observe, soak-in and learn. I could write for hours but this is a newsletter and as such, it should be concise.
What I will say is that I feel that in this day and age, although we are insanely connected, we consume mostly surface level shit, and that's just not good enough. There's so much more happening below the surface. SO MUCH TO UNDERSTAND. All it takes is to ask that "stupid" or "obvious" or "ignorant" question to open up what could have been a closed discussion. The truth is that people are willing to talk. We've just got to do a better job of listening.