Almost two years ago, I said no to love. You won’t like it there, I told myself. That place is too far. The news has some opinionated words about this place. How do you pronounce that word and why is winter 9 months long?
Last year, there was fear. We headed up the mountain after a night of songs and celebration. Our relaxing vacation was ending with a literally breathtaking view. A snow mobile, tea in the café, and horse-back riding made me reconsider my worries.
Last spring, living was impossible. We were sitting outside, air was full of springtime allergies. My eyes were so red and I had to wear a mask, but I didn’t mind. Sitting on a park bench, a book in my hands, thousands were around me and a concert could be heard in the distance.
The winter was engaging. There were many people in my life now and the feelings for all of them were overwhelming. The food had been prepared and their eyes gleamed with excitement as plates were filled and that quiet hush covered the room. Slowly voices became audible and laugher raged like a wave. They were full in every sense of the word.
Last month, I let all barriers down. She looked at me and couldn’t decide her feelings about me. Eventually she felt the courage to run up to me and tap my leg. As I spun around, she was already running as fast as you can at two years old. As I crawled towards her, another child jumped on my back. There was uncontrollable laughter as their parents allowed for the craziness to continue.
Last week, I thought it couldn’t be so. Enjoying my cappuccino with a hint of cinnamon, I was trying to listen with all sincerity but I couldn’t. There was a passion in his voice, a longing for the dream to be fulfilled. When it became visible that I was immersed in the tone of his voice instead of his words, he spoke Russian quickly to test me. Someone expressing a passion with such gusto and enthusiasm is a beautiful thing.
Yesterday, I couldn’t ignore it. We were a typical bunch in which I could depend on. The meeting place was decided with no need for anyone to discuss. There was a comfort that can’t be explained. Hugs were always free, plentiful, never lasting too long or too tight.
Today, I fell in love. She picked up the book. Her fingers lightly touched the pages as she read a couple lines. The smile was not to be mistaken. In each book her eyes read over the same 26 letters but they revealed her shadow within them.
Tomorrow, I tell people. The love I feel for Moscow, my organization, those in it, and everyone I have encountered is hard to explain. When I think of leaving, happiness and sadness simultaneously flood my heart.
I couldn’t imagine being placed anywhere else.
Moscow Protestant Chaplaincy, Russia
GMF International, Class 2014