Friday, September 12, 2014

Moscow Redux

After three months away from my beloved Moscow, I am back. When I packed up in June, part of me wondered if I would really return, and there were a few weeks this summer where I might have severed ties with Russia if not for the fact that I still had a pair of oligarch ice skates and leopard print pants waiting for me in my apartment.  By August, I still hadn’t secured a letter of invitation for a new visa and Stephie’s offer to live with her in Bellingham was sounding pretty tempting. But come late August, I found myself at the Russian consulate once again.

“You look familiar,” they said, as soon as I walked in the door.  Apparently my life has become like Cheers, where everybody at the Russian consulate knows my name.  This does not, however, correspond with them knowing how to spell my name – they have come up with a new and inventive way to transliterate my middle name on each visa, and they alternate between two very Italian-sounding versions of my surname.  But as puzzling as my name may be, my motives for frequenting Russia are even more so (a Russian friend posited that it’s something in the water, but I’m pretty sure that’s just giardia). 

Consular Official: So you really like it over there?
Me: I mean, I keep going back, so I guess?  I swear this is the last time.

This, unfortunately, has been my mantra for the last three years.  What was originally to have been a one-year stint in Spain became two, and then I tagged on a year in Moscow that is now stretching into a second.  I want to say this really is my last year abroad, but then again, Russia did just grant me a three-year visa, proving that they are just as invested in our abusive relationship as I am.

Every time I land in Russia, a not-so-small part of me wonders if I’m going to get past passport control or if I’m going to be unceremoniously returned to sender.  Yesterday afternoon was no different, especially when the passport agent had to flip through five pages of Russian visas and stamps to get to my current visa.  Even I find my affinity for Russia suspicious, so you would think the border agents would too, but all he did was add yet another entry stamp to my collection and usher me into the country. I tried to keep the giddy smile that makes it so obvious I am a foreigner off my face, but I was really happy to be back in Moscow for a second year.

So what do we think – am I going to keep my repatriation promise this year? Or am I looking at three more years in Russia? 

No comments:

Post a Comment