• Anahita Safarzadeh

Moscow, Economics & In-Laws

Before visiting Moscow, Russia, my outside US experience had been several childhood visits to Canada and Mexico, of which I remember very little. I wanted to come back from my trip and write a whole novel about it, but I was only there for a week and it seemed to have gone by faster than sound.

Why did I go? To meet my husband's family and friends. To explore another country. To open my third eye and get a new perspective on the world outside of my hometown.

Where did I stay? At my in-laws, and a good friends in Moscow.

What did I do?

...

It's hard to relate and retell about a place that is so different historically, geographically, and culturally than my own world. Moscow - not all of Russia - reminded me of home in the sense that it was populated and it was alive.

I imagine there is a common misconception of Moscow as being a bad place - that Russsians are evil - or something and such. I am Iranian and I fear going to my own motherland as much as I feared stepping into my husbands.

Big shocker - I was wrong.

So what makes Moscow memorable enough to write about? The food and beverage industry is one of the best I've ever had to pleasure to encounter. From someone living in Hollywood Los Angeles, and having traveled all over the US, I've been to many of the establishments on curated Michelin guides as well as 50Best. I've hit every Thrillist list I could find per city I enter. I've stained my hands of Yelp, and I always use locals as a guide. But I don't want to discuss that.

The literacy level in Moscow is higher than my own country - by a lot. *Los Angels literacy rate is under 35% while *Russia's is at 99%. The politics of Russia, I am very ignorant about. The nature was alluring. The people I met and spoke to while walking through the city were insightful.

I think what I want to talk about is the Rusisian people's ability to mold themselves into the world. Adaptation, they find a need and set a goal. While some outside the city center seemed complacent with their position in the world - waking up day in and day out merely to repeat the routine, this may have come about from a post communistic mindset of freedom, and the peace which comes with that. The younger generations are abundantly storming Instagram and taking over all social and artistic modes of business.

The country has a corrupt economy which makes life difficult for many residents and citizens. People make less than one thousand dollars American a month, while rent is about the same. Food and drink costs where cheapest I had ever experienced, while for the people it was increasing daily. All the restaurants and bars we had the pleasure to visit where out of budget for our friends, but for us, it was a low cost to experience such luxury.

These things stuck with me. The city center was expensive, even for me, which meant it was unattainable for my husbands family and friends. I do not imagine what most people must do to make ends meat, and it seems to me that dreaming big fight only aid in setting people up to fall. Yet as I traveled through the city many people where happy to talk to me, and entertain me.

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