October In Suburb

First of all, thank you for all your kind, thoughtful comments about this blog and where you’d like to see it go. They’ve meant a lot to me. The writing around here will continue for the near future, and hopefully even become more frequent!


Written by breakfastinmoscow October 26, 2015

Friends, First of all, thank you for all your kind, thoughtful comments about this blog and where you’d like to see it go. They’ve meant a lot to me. The writing around here will continue for the near future, and hopefully even become more frequent!

Secondly, let’s talk about the suburbs.

On the one hand: conventional, spread out, dated, boring, mildly soul-sucking.On the other hand: clean, safe, spacious, cheap, backyards, endless convenience.

We have been living here in suburban MN for over a year now. Are the suburbs for us? Is this where we belong? Does this place truly fit us as people?

This is an exhausting line of questioning. I’ve been obsessing about our identity, about our life choices for so long, I can’t take it anymore. This is where we live now. I don’t know if it’s the best place for us. I don’t know if we’re going to be here for long. I don’t know if I WANT to be here for long. But this is where we are.

In Russia, I struggled with the anger, the Russian national character trait known as constant public crankiness. I felt my soul was being drained by the noise, the cold, the smoggy air, the constant battering of relentless traffic, hassle, pollution, crowds, pushing ugliness. I felt continually under assault, like I was being crushed by how hard daily life was.

So we moved to the US. Immediately things got brighter, easier, friendlier. We are swaddled by comfort here; good roads, snug houses, disarmingly friendly people, endless consumer choices, convenience.

But still I struggle. People are friendly, but distant and a bit foreign to me. I often can’t relate to the things they find interesting. And, if I’m completely honest (if simultaneously  a prick), I find it all sort of boring. I miss ambition, international travel, breaking news, foreign languages, diplomats, artists. I miss having a job I love, a job that feels important, that challenges me.

What I’m trying to say is that transition is uncomfortable. I am uncomfortable. I lost an identity I was proud of, and what’s left, now that that mask is taken away, is a person whose character needs a lot of work. A person who’s constantly itchy, restless, unable to commit.

This is where I’m at. It’s a little bit ugly. But so was Moscow. Moscow was pretty consistently hideous. My point? Sometimes I need a reminder that it’s normal to be uncomfortable with where I’m at. Life is full of transition, full of bewilderment, unease, uncertainty. Likely, I will never feel like I’ve fully arrived, like I’ve reached full harmony in every area of my life. At least, I don’t think that I will achieve said arrival through changing my geographic location.

You know what’s helped lately? Working. I have two part-time jobs and an ongoing writing contract. I’m planning a wedding shower and a baby shower. I’m scoping out ideas for winter vacation. I’m meeting regularly with friends for babysitting swaps to give us a chance to work on our own projects. I’m going to join a gym for goodness’ sake! (and what could be more suburban American than that?)

That’s all for now. Onwards and upwards. I’m going to try posting here weekly now. Let’s see where that gets us.