Every day I get asked “What was it like in Russia?” Well one time I asked one of these people a question in return. I say “well, what do you think Russia is like?” My friend, never visiting a single continent besides North America and basing all of his knowledge on the big tube in front of his living room couch, had this image: soldiers dressed up in black warm fur coats, wearing furry hats and knee high boots; carrying rifles on their backs armed and dangerous, with leather straps going over their shoulders as they are marching on the red square and lifting up their feet almost to their waistlines and pointing their toes outward. In my friends vision they all looked the same; their steps would fall in unison like a gunshot every time they stomp in cadence on the red bricks under their feet.
Laughing the entire time, I thought my friend had a great imagination of Russia. Then thinking of what Russia is really like, this scenario made me realize that the most important belief for me is to cherish and believe in my home. In the end of his “episode” on Russia, I told my friend what Russia was really like; at least to me.
My home town, a beautiful place, is near a river called Don. This river gave my home city its name Rostow on Don. Don River weaves back and forth with yellow warm sands on both sides, while getting extremely warm in the summer. All around the river there are small private homes and gardens called Dachas where the owners grow small amounts of vegetables and fruits. Usually arriving after sun-up, my friends and I would see different styles of boats go by: which range from wooden boats, to large rusted ones. I still remember my last time like yesterday. Water, sparkling from the hot sun, guides us in our tasks and keeps us in a wonderful mood, while the river bottom, free of seaweed is seen through the water as through glass. Day turns to night as quick as a look over your shoulder. My nights, sleeping on the cool, moon reflecting sand are unforgettable. Most of the time I look at the clear star-filled sky, eat fresh fish and sit next to a small fire that keeps the soul and body warm. Places like this, should be cherished by the soul and body for keeping you in your greatest state. My true meaning of Russia will always be with me.
My home is one of the most important aspects to me and my life. I am most happy to say that I have a place where I can go and just be freed from everything that holds me or coils me in cuffs and chains. I am relieved to know that there is at least one place on earth where I will not be expected to do a single thing but enjoy life. Russia, the place where I was born, will always have my pride and full respect for the sole reason of psychological freedom and escape from society.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.