До свидания, до скорой встречи!

(Goodbye, see you soon!)

As usual, looking back at this semester, it seems to have flown by. Almost four months have passed as we’ve haunted the streets of Moscow, discovered new bars, restaurants, foods and parks, and run into diverse characters. Multiple essays have been written, presentations held, and exams passed. The weather, which was better than most of us expected, gave us both extensive sunshine, warming and welcoming, rain, washing away all of autumns leaves, and snow and frost to brighten up darker days.

Before I head off on a jet plane to see loved ones across Europe, I wanted to take a look back and think of five wonderful experiences I have had that really left an impression. In no particular order:

Many Cyclists...
Many Cyclists…

-Cycling through the city by night, at VeloNoch

I still come across buildings and suddenly recognise them, slowly putting together a map in my mind of all of the places we went that evening. The lights were beautiful, the people amazing and it was just an unusual and such a worthwhile way to spend my night. Moscow is in some ways a very bleak city when you get out of the centre or away from religious spires, but the talent they have with lights makes you forget that every evening.

Birch trees in the Sunshine
Birch trees in the Sunshine

-Running a half marathon through Elk-Park

Not only my first time on a tram, but also a wonderful atmosphere, a great run and amazing nature. I am proud of running the distance no matter where, but the setting definitely made the race a highlight, and has reminded me to keep questioning the stereotype of unhealthy-ness here.

-Wandering the Cosmonauts Museum

Not really impressed by the art galleries and not even that thrilled by the exhibits in the Kremlin, the Cosmonauts Museum managed to capture my imagination, and continues to interest me. Every time I’ve been there, I have found something else to learn about, and the only souvenirs I’ve been really tempted by are replica posters.

20141212_135236Skating in Gorky Park and playing in the Snow

A great way to finish an evening, to people watch, to get exercise, and to wonder at the amazing skills Russians have with lights and animations, this was one of my favourite, almost weekly activities once the rink was opened. It was especially fun with friends/visitors of course!!

-Evenings chatting with the Room and Course mates, and being told off… and Raving to the Guardians of the Galaxy Soundtrack in our room

I have to pay tribute to the fact that my course-mates have made a great impact on my day to day life, kept me in good spirits, introduced me to new alcohol, attempted to teach me popular culture references, and been there for a hug when I need it. Thanks, loads guys! The last months have been great and I look forward to the next – I have many exciting plans involving getting out of Moscow more often, meeting course mates in St. Petersburg, and getting into the nitty gritty of doing some real research in completing and writing up my Master’s thesis.

So, Moscow! Thanks for a wonderful introduction to Russia, and see you soon!

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