The last time I was here the city was painted in a faint, pastel gray colour scheme, and I spent most of the time looking down on the icy pavement trying not to fall. This time the city was green and buzzing with life, outdoor cafes, crazy taxi drivers and Russian/Ukrainian covers of ESC songs from the 90’s. And it has started to grow on me. The stern people who are actually extremely friendly when you get to know them, the terrible vegetarian food, the cheap beer, the chaotic language, and how everything is exactly like home except nothing is. I had my first (and hopefully last) experience at a karaoke bar, saw people eat burgers with latex gloves (it’s apparently a normal thing), and found a “10000% original” Fenty Beauty pop-up shop on a random street.
An honorable mention to my coworkers, who’re some of the funkiest, kindest and most genuine people I know. Thank you for showing me your city and your culture.