Having landed back in Vancouver, I ride the train home in a stupor. As if I woke up from a lucid dream, not quite able to separate the reality from the mind’s fabrications.
After moving to Canada in 1999, I never revisited my homeland until 2020.
In Moscow, I lived with my grandma and grandpa while attending grade school.
Returning twenty years late, I was reminded of what I lost. I never got to see my favourite grandpa whom I spent my carefree mornings with. My last phone call with grandma was brief.
I took a fourteen-hour flight to give mom a hand at an empty flat.
The city felt foreign and familiar.
I expected Moscow to be a place of comfort, inline with my memories.
Instead, it turned out to be a travel destination, permeated with deja-vu’s.
I recalled my trips to China and Hong Kong as I browsed the local brutalist architectural forest, built in the ‘80s.
Metro. I was looking forward to riding it. Having maintained a connection to an object often favourably mentioned in the West when Russia is the topic, it’s been on my mind since I bought the flight tickets.
A tremendous investment by the state into public mobility. A statement.
As I roamed the underground, I felt the onslaught of emotions. Identity crisis, an immigrant’s cliché. Quite disturbing, actually.
Outside, I tried to learn Moscow, scanning for swatches of a past-self.
Some of the decaying memories unearthed, photographed, and spelled out.
Helpful but not settling.