So, I’m still waiting to go back to school. Back to school? That’s not right. I’m still waiting to go to school for the first time. My name is Casey O’Malley, Columbia College 2010, and I’m going to Moscow, Russia, to study Russian Language for the semester. I have no idea what I’m getting myself in to, and right now as I am drowning amidst piles of sweaters, warm socks, and a buffet of winter hats, I feel like I may be missing the point.
Moscow is a crazy place–right now, it’s the most expensive city in the world, for the third year running. On average, things are 30% more expensive there than in New York City. Quite a difference from the assumption that Russians live on potatoes, borscht, and vodka, while living in a hovel on the frozen tundra. Right now, Moscow has legendary nightlife. Some describe as something of a wild west of the rich and famous.
But at the same time, Moscow is an incredibly old city and is drenched in historical importance. History disagrees with itself sometimes, but Moscow’s birth can be traced back to 1147. It’s changed a lot, but the site of Kremlin (where the government is centered) has been inhabited since the second millennium BC.
I am so excited to go and try and figure this place out. I’ll do what I can to try and explain the place in words, but in a city that is suffering its own identity crisis of new versus old, rich versus poor, and westernization versus “Old Russian,” it might be hard to make sense of it myself.