The Motherland

 It's been a while since I posted much of anything. I still write for my company a lot, but that's hardly the stuff that I love to write. I mean, I'll tell you about Conversion Rate Optimization as much as you'd like to hear about it, but you know that I'd rather be pouring myself into my regular observational (and possibly over the top) blog posts. You know, something a bit deeper.

My biggest blogging time was when I was living in Russia. I bought my domain name months before, and put some things up, but my site was pretty much blank. Until I started writing weekly posts about my experiences in St. Petersburg. A lot of my memories in Russia were enhanced by the time I spent crafting these little moments and stories into a wordpress post. I'm sad that I lost most of those entries when I lost my site, but the whole experience made me love blogging. 

One of my friends from high school is in St. Petersburg right now. She posted one picture of the Church of Our Savior on Spilt Blood on Instagram, and I ended up leaving an extremely long and overzealous comment about all the things she needed to see.

Russia has been in the news a lot lately, and it's hard to hear about all the things that Putin is doing in Ukraine. It casts this harsh and terrible light upon the whole country that makes the shadows of Russia darker and more monstrous.

It's hard to talk about it as a result. The combination of current events with a lingering cold war mentality has made it impossible to discuss the country with many people around me. I know the Russia that I lived in. The kids that I taught, the quirky men and women that looked out for us, the food and culture that seemed so otherworldly... these things make it difficult to hear the blanket condemnations of Russia that some people still casually throw around.

Is it a perfect country? Oh, heck no. It is just as broken and ridiculous as you might think.

But there is so much beauty in Russia, and a lot of mystery and romanticism that can be extracted from it's history, and that's something I hope that we can still appreciate. If anything, we can mourn for what is happening today.

I watched the opening ceremonies of the Olympics in Sochi with a lot of strangers. Most of them bore my explanations and gushing about what was happening in each of the sections, but one 20(ish) year old girl wasn't into it. After World War II it showed a time of industry, healing and prosperity as men and women rushed around with construction tools, baby carriages and briefcases. The girl looked disgusted as it was all taking place. She emphasized to the group, "Sure, that's what they say was happening, but we really know what was going on."

It's those moments where I wish that I could show people what Russia is to me. I wish I could tell them the history of the country, the hardships that they've been through and all the biased views that we've been exposed to as Americans. Past all the communism, propaganda and tyrants there are so many people with something to offer the world.

Then again, maybe that's just my romanticized Russia.