New Year's is a big deal from me, bigger than Christmas - in Russia Christmas is almost ignored by the majority (it's seen as a primarily religious celebration), but New Years is celebrated with a considerable amount of pizzaz. I enjoy NY more, because it's more about self-reflection, self evaluation etc. and those are very important to me as self-development is something I think about constantly.
This holiday season I was feeling a bit down, looking at the past year, I felt as if I haven't spent my time wisely and made too many mistakes for my own level of maturity. But that kind of thinking will get you nowhere, so instead of uselessly inflicting false guilt upon myself, I'll remind myself about things that have been good.
I've been mostly unhappy about the time I spent in Russia - the fragment of the year I spent in England in school is a time I'm very grateful for. But Russia seemed like a waste of time for some reason.
One of the most memorable things from Moscow 2013 for me is probably the way I spent the summer - I teamed up with a friend and made a bunch of tie-dyed t-shirts with Mean Girls inspired statements written on them in slime lettering, and spent a lot of time trying to sell them. I made enough money to be able to not ask my parents for pocket money, and to visit Saint Petersburg on my own, and I felt very free and happy then. We sold our shirts (and little doodads we either DIYed or found in our old closets) mostly through the internet, but gained some kind of publicity through participating in markets (specifically the Lambada market). A highlight of that time was when we were invited to participate in a market in Smolensk completely free of charge - our bus tickets and hotel rooms were all paid for, and it was a lot of fun hanging out with fellow indie brands.
|The Feelosophy stand at the same market. They were right next to us, we tried to stick together.|
These are Gosha and Liza - Gosha is the owner of Feelosophy, a small vintage/second-hand/indie shop in Moscow. I've spoken a bit about that place on my blog already, because it's a place I always feel at home in. It's located in one of my favorite districts in Moscow in a quiet side street, and it's in the basement of a house, so it's kind of like a hole in the ground you can hide in. I had some friends in common with Gosha, so when I would come over he already perceived me as more of a friend than a customer - also I never missed the chance to say hi to him of I saw him at a market (I would usually participate in them myself as well, I used to help out my mother with her soap stand).
I remember how I kept glancing at the people who were behind all of this, they were walking around and talking about different articles of clothing that were carefully selected in order to make the perfect little store, how they laughed when they fumbled with the sound system and played their music, and I remember being this 14-15-year old girl and wishing to become one of the very style-conscious twenty-somethings that were happily chattering away.
Another lovely thing about 2013 in Russia was my job as an English tutor. I figured I only had the time and energy to devote to one person, and that person was a beautiful young girl I would meet every week in a Costa. We would just have conversations in English and I would sometimes help her out with tests and homework. I would always look forward to Thursdays - in the beginning, just because I would get some money to spend, but then later, when I started saving more than spending, I felt so happy to be able to share any kind of thought with this girl - because as long as we had a conversation in English, I was sure we were spending our time wisely.
After the summer, for some reason my VK (Russian facebook) page became more and more popular. Sometimes strangers would message me sweet things completely out of the blue, they would call me inspiring and just compliment me on my looks or attitude. Sometimes people messaged me because they wanted to photograph me. It felt really good to be reminded that the world needs me from time to time, although I could never quite understand why. One day I stopped questioning why strangers were so kind to me and decided to just accept it and be grateful. And I am - sometimes a sweet message out of the blue would give me the strength to get through the day - a difficult task if you're in Moscow in the fall and have SAD.
I guess it doesn't really matter if I had a lot of bad experiences this year - if anything, they've taught me to be very critical of my surroundings and they've helped me understand myself much better. I don't want to pretend they didn't happen, but still making this list has made me feel better about 2012 as an experience. It's kind of cool that I get to start a whole new life in 2013, moving to LA and all.
|Hope your holidays were good. Hope your year is also good. Meow|