When you choose to move to Russia, you often get asked, "why?" It's a difficult question to answer, and the response has gone more vague and fuzzy over time. It's often followed by "do you miss your family?" and "did you go home for (summer/xmas/etc.)?"
I grew up in San Diego. Shy of a month here or there, I had never lived anywhere else. Yet going home is difficult now. My dad lives in Texas, my mom in Colorado, my step-dad in Arizona and, while I have a few close friends in S.D., many of them are spread out across the country (or globe). Moscow was just a place that I lived, but it ultimately felt empty to me. What I'm getting at is, there is no convenient way to go "home" and visit those close to me. Last summer I made an epic trip across the southwest over the course of five weeks. While it was everything I could have hoped for, it was also exhausting.
And there was another, unanticipated downside. Last summer before going home, I fell in love (not the downside). Some of my friends can testify to the immediacy of it. After spending every day with Koala (not his real name) the week before departing, I knew everything had changed, and suddenly five weeks in America seemed like five weeks too long (the downside). I was impressed by his dedication to talking (via skype) as frequently as possible, despite the language barrier and the fact that we'd only just met. I enjoyed my trip to the fullest, but was happy to return to Moscow, where my apparent "home" currently resided. Things proceeded as expected, with me becoming increasingly amazed at his inability to disappoint me as time passed. In December he asked me to marry him, and I didn't hesitate to say yes (technically I did, because he asked in English and I assumed he was just practicing the new phrase). We were married on the 22nd of February in a sort of non-event in the Moscow wedding palace (which makes it sound like a theme park; I can assure you it is not). So now my home is in Khimki, another suburb of Moscow. I may not know what the future holds, but I know that now it's infinitely tied to this other person, and my location may change a hundred times over, but my home will always be right along side me.
Nation of hoop indeed...