Six students from the University of Pittsburgh Honors College trek across Mongolia in search of illumination, perspective, and the perfect cup of Yak-milk tea.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Looking Past the "Moscowl"

Well gee, I guess I haven't been keeping up on my commitment to the blog. It must be because I'm loving Moscow so much. It's important to remember here that this city does not represent quotidien Russian life. One gets as accurate a picture of all of Russia from Moscow as one would get of the US from New York City. That said, this is a great city that goes to no great lengths hide its shortcomings. Unfriendly faces on the Moscow subway do not mean that the Muscovites "don't love us", in the words of MIRBIS schoolgirls, but that they simply don't wear their emotions on their sleeve like Americans. Behind the "Moscowl" are a people who want wealth and peace and happiness same as any American (or person), but have been conditioned by decades of mental programming. It's surreal and enlightening to listen to the older Russians talk about the conditions of the Soviet era. Indeed, many act as if they don't quite believe it's okay to talk critically of their leaders or kiss on the street corner. Compared to the Wannabe-Western Chinese cities we visited Moscow is another world. I don't feel bad about leaving in a couple days because after getting a taste of this city I am fully confident of my return. And the food is great.