Russia, I just can’t quit you

Living abroad is like a drug.  There’s the initial thrill of it all, the excitement, newness and adventure.  Then there’s the crash.  When you finally quit (come home), you can’t stop thinking about it and all you want to do is try it again (go back).

Lately I find my thoughts wandering to Russia, intruding at irregular intervals, invading every aspect of my life.  My life in Russia is something I’ll never be able to forget, and I wouldn’t want to even if I could.

This is the first time I’ve returned to the US without any immediate plans to return to Russia.  I know I’ll be back eventually, but not having a definite plan, a date, a plane ticket, makes it just a little bit harder.  Now, when I think of all the things I miss, I can no longer console myself with the thought that I’ll have all those things again in a few weeks/months.

I’m happy where I am but sometimes it’s so inconvenient to be torn between two homes, two cultures, and two languages.  Russia will be forever ingrained in me, not only in my memory or mind, but in my very being.  And no matter how hard I try I just can’t quit it.

This quote, although it’s about languages, sums it up perfectly:
“When I speak Polish now, it is infiltrated, permeated, and inflected with English in my head. Each language modifies the other, crossbreeds with it, fertilizes it.  Each language makes the other relative.  Like everybody, I am the sum of my languages.”
Eva Hoffman

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