Citizen of the world

I grew up in city of immigrants. Those who traveled long distance and settled down. But in long winter nights they would seat near the window looking into dancing snowstorms and remember the spirit of adventure that once called them to the land far far away.

I grew up in city where foreigners were never a curiosity. They would come each summer on their huge military boats dressed in snow White and coal black uniforms. They spoke their funny languages and asked if they could take picture with me.

I graduated thinking that everyone speaks at least two languages. Believing that it is no big deal.

I grew up dreaming of traveling and knowing that my life will not be spent in Russia only.

I met people from all over the world and learned about their cultures not from books but in person.

And now I strongly believe that life is not meant to be spent in one place in fact we should take every opportunity to learn about this world, not from books but from personal experiences.

I dream of the day when borders will disappear and no one would care about passports, maybe even question “Where are you from?” will be replaced by “Tell me your story”.

Cause once you lived in more then one country you simply stop being just from one place, you become citizen of the world.

I don’t miss you anymore

2016-03-07 15-21-08One year ago I was in love. Well… Actually I was in love with idea of being in love. And everything about it was wrong. Cause I desperately tried to get mutual feelings from someone who was not ready for love and was not capable of having feelings. And I just liked the idea of togetherness and being with someone.

Now I am in love. I love the city I live in with anything it has to offer. I love being busy and juggling between jobs while learning to better understand my needs, desires and dreams.

My life is far from being perfect but it is that interesting and unpredictable to be in love with it and not to be searching for someone to love just to create an illusion of having full life.

And yet thank you for not loving me back. I’ve learned my lesson. Now I’m learning to love me

Battle for Love

Once I had a heart pain and my friend asked me if I really liked the guy or was settling down for what I had. I did not get it. “It’s simple, I would love to have a nice car with leather seats but now I can only afford this one, so I’m setting down for what I have”

It was and is still that simple. If I do not like a job offer and do not see how it will get me closer to my dreams, I do not waste my time on it. If I see someone’s flaws so clear and do not feel the strength to accept them, I do not start relationships with this person.

Several days ago we started talking about this must-do holiday – Saint Valentine’s day and then conversation went into discussion of things that one has to do during first months of relationships. Like pretending that you are fine with something that you actually hate, e.g. my roommate decided to lie that she likes spicy food while in fact she has very bad allergy, another one said that he’d watch movies and listen to music that he hates.

But why do people do it? To try to be better versions of themselves? I do not think that that is the point. Cause to be better version of oneself you’d need to take extra care of you appearance or watch your words, but definitely not pretend that you like something that you don’t. For what? To discover several years later during some stupid fight that she always hated Hip-Hop and he never really liked how she cooks?

To me it is maturity to know that this game leads nowhere. Now you could agree to be together with someone whose flaws you can name faster than all good qualities, and then you’d regret wasting your time on someone who never appreciated you and probably never would.

2016-01-19 17-22-54Maybe I did not take conscious decision to be single, but I’m glad I’ve realized it now that I’d rather concentrate on myself than spend time with someone who does not compliment my life at all.

I solemnly swear that I will never lie about my food preferences, favourite movies or music only to impress and please someone who cannot accept me the way I am. I’m too old to fight battles that I do not want to win.

But I do promise myself to try to be better me and work hard for love if it comes to me again.

Oh, Vladivostok…

Every story starts somewhere. Mine starts on the edge of the world, where from Pacific Ocean appears city called Vladivostok. Place that was found as military fort to consolidate territory of Russia in Far East. From the very beginning, this city was a place for temporary settlement only. Traders would pass through it, military forces would be assigned to serve here for a short time, and no one saw this place as their home. It was a temporary asylum.

2015-09-04 19-08-21Little they knew about charms of this place. How sunsets over the ocean will stay forever in their hearts, how screams of seagulls will sound at the distance even when they will be far away from sea, how hills with the best views will become their home forever. Slowly but gently this city was winning hearts of every person that came here.

As I said, those people were never planning to settle down. They dreamt of adventures and exotic countries, of unknown islands and discoveries. They were always on the move, always on the road. They brought spirit of adventure with them. Some never let go of it, but others probably traded it for everlasting love to Vladivostok.

When first settlers came here and looked at the landscapes, the green hills that were running down to the never peaceful ocean, the sun reflecting from bay waters, they felt like this is the place where one can rule the east, and called it Vladivostok (from Russian: “владей” (vladei) – to rule, to be the owner, and “восток” (vostok) – east).

2015-09-04 15-18-35Times were changing, generations were growing up and my small yet ambitious city was developing and blossoming. We were kids playing in our yards, going to schools, and then universities and we were falling in love. Little did we know about it.

I discovered my love only when I left for a summer. I came back and I was amazed, I never noticed how beautiful this place is. The hills, the sunsets, and the ocean everywhere you look. For the first time in my life, I really saw my Vladivostok.

Then it started… Remember about spirit of adventure? It does not disappear to nowhere; it stayed there waiting for the right time. All my friends were leaving; it looked like every single person that I would get close to will be on the road soon. So I packed my suitcase and bought one way ticket.

I came back two and a half years later. A discovery was waiting for me there. From now Vladivostok was not my home any more, it became something different, something new – it became my safe harbour, my source of power, place where I’m still light-hearted, where I can sort out my life and refill my energy.

2015-09-02 12-46-05Somehow, Vladivostok will hardly ever be my home again, but when I go to new cities and discover its features there, I feel at peace. I feel at home. Cause my new city reminds me of where I came from and who I always will be. A child of Vladivostok, forever in love with the ocean, hills, blue sky and seagulls. And spirit of adventure will always be in my blood, no matter how far I will go.

True self

Someone smart said that wherever you go you take yourself with you. As much as it is true I tend to think now, that places actually open different sides of our true selves. In some of them our deepest and darkest fears and sins will show their ugly faces and in the others we will discover our inner strength and ability to look at life in a positive key no matter what.

A friend of mine told me once that some places are sources of inner power, while others are full of our weaknesses. And after I finally took all of my bravery and moved to Shanghai I finally realized how much truth was in this saying.

2015-11-22 19-05-12Fortunately or unfortunately, my fate brought me to Hangzhou and my vibrations were always in dissonance with this city. I never felt in peace there no matter how much I tried, whether I went out with friends or for a solo walk near lake, it never felt right. And so I’ve reached the deepest point of depression there.

Consciously or unconsciously, I’ve built a gate out for myself when I talked my friends into moving to China. Thus one day I took a train to Shanghai and went back to Hangzhou only when I found my home here.

There has been many events happening through the last month and if I would try to remember all of them I’ll fail cause this past month was full of life. I finally managed to start building habits that I always felt would bring difference into my life and somehow life became colourful again.

It doesn’t mean that there were wrong people around me before or that Hangzhou is a bad place, it only means that it was not right for me and it taught me to appreciate ability to live where I want, ability to feel comfortable and once again brought me to my true self.

And this might be the best thing that happened to me this year.

I just want to take a moment to thank all of the people who were still there for me even during my dark days and never left my side and pushed me to be better. You are my blessings.

Take courage and change your surroundings if life does not excite you any more. You’ll bring yourself with you there, but you never know what side of yourself you will discover.

Language quest

You know, when I came back to China after my vacation I realized that I can speak Chinese now! Well… Actually, Chinese speak I can. Not like I’m trying to reference master Yoda here, it’s more like how what I say sounds to native speakers.When I arrived to Pudong airport in Shanghai I found myself helping perfect stranger from Nigeria to find his way to dormitory. He was a lot like me, no knowledge of Chinese and only address in his hands. And then was I there, explaining to shifu – taxi driver, where this guy needs to go.

IMG_0088I came to Hong Kong – my sanity harbour in China and suddenly I had to use all my knowledge to get the room that I actually ordered and later on change it because of its terrible condition. Oh I felt it… Every single word I felt on my skin, trying to remember everything that I slept through in my Chinese class.

Finally, now I know how it feels when person who doesn’t look like one able to speak Chinese comes and starts conversation. Now I feel all those people who would start shaking their heads and hands frantically when I enter a shop and start speaking Chinese. It happened near Victoria Harbour in HK, when I was taking an evening stroll, a guy asked me if I’m German (maybe I should visit as he wasn’t the first with this guess and he won’t be the last either I bet). And then he told me that he is looking for someone from Russia as he is learning Russian!!! He looked like an alien to me when he started talking in Russian. And only few moments later I felt comfortable talking to him in Russian.

So it is not that people are rude, they are just a little afraid or shocked…

I also had an interesting conversation with store consultant about differences between Cantonese and Mandarin and how she thought that I’m Australian. It’s actually interesting that Asians take me for native speaker, even though I’m sure I don’t sound even close to that. But it’s fun.

What I’m trying to say here is that you never know what language you’ll need to learn tomorrow and what adventures it will bring in your life. But you should learn languages because they expand your world and open to you doors that didn’t eve exist before!

Alina Laoshi

I never thought that when this day will come I’d feel like this. I’m sad. I cried in the classroom today.

When I entered kindergarten one year ago I was terrified. Universe always sent me chances to try myself as a teacher, but I never really wanted those. And then life happened. It was the only way out and I crossed the doorstep of the classroom.

2015-08-21 10-06-45For the first couple of months I had NO idea on what I was doing. Thanks God I had my own great guru Carol, who taught me my teaching basics; I had friends who worked as teachers too and we exchanged ideas and experiences.

I was in pain. I hated this job. I hated all my circumstances. I just wanted to escape.

And then this day came. Suddenly it turned out that some kids spent a year in the same classroom with me, singing songs that get stuck in everyone’s heads, dancing weird dances and trying to memorize numbers, fruits and animals. Growing up in front of me and trying to learn languages.

Yes, they were teaching me as well. Not only helping me to improve my Chinese, but teaching me love and happiness.

2015-08-21 10-53-21Jojo taught me love, sincere pure love. Without any expectations. When you love no matter what.
Tina taught me how to be happy, always, regardless. Smile and make everyone around you dance.

Kids taught me that they will always reflect relationships in family, they showed me that there are no angry or bad kids, they are all kind and loving. Sometimes they come into the classroom like small hedgehogs, but with time they open up and calm down in the group. But only if you show them love and come with your arms open.

I did not expect this… I’m sad to end this chapter of my life. To be honest, I do not know my next move yet. But I’m sure, whatever will happen – it is for the best. Thank you, kids, teachers, nannies and everyone who helped me through this journey!

Hong Kong style

My life in China has it’s ups and downs. And most of time I just feel like keeping silence as I do not want to spread sad thoughts. But if not for living in China I do not know when I would have discovered this beautiful city that has so many different sides.

And maybe if not for living in China and wanting to keep silent I would have never returned to photography and discovered video.

So here is my first experiment with clip-making

Thank you, 2014!

At this time of the year we all start recalling what happened and how did it influence us. I’m not an exception.

SONY DSCThis year was a big lesson for me. The lesson that I learned is that even when you seem to achieve your dream you can never stop, lay back and relax. I honestly start to think that the time when you stop chasing dream comes just before death.

My life this year was all about learning and it was not always about attending university. It was about learning to live with new people and be flatmates. Learning to accept people with their flaws and lifestyles. Learning to save and spend money. Learning to accept that I can fail and learning to rise again to win. Learning to take difficult decisions and deal with the consequences. Learning to trust God and believe that everything is for the best. Learning to love without expectations.

I honestly hope that all my lessons were learned thoroughly and life would not make me to face them again. I kindly accept them all and I’m grateful for everything that happened.

And I want every single person that helped me to live through this year to know that I’m the luckiest person on this planet because I have amazing friends and relatives who love me and believe in me. No matter what. Even if I’m being unjust to you sometimes. I’m sorry!

In this year I will leave all the pain and I will take all the love with me to the next one. To help me further on my journey.

P.S. This morning I received letter from Australia, just to remind me that all dreams come true. Just I should never stop chasing them.

Sincerely yours with all my love

The Fear is Ridiculous

In the past months of my life I learned that fear is ridiculous. It only helps to stick to the past and does not help to move forward.

The lower red dot is me

The lower red dot is me 🙂

I think it all started in Glasshouse Mountains (to the north from Brisbane). It was first time in my life that I did rock climbing. I don’t think I read trip description carefully and then I was sitting on the top of the mountain, watching my friends haning on the rope and finding their ways up.

Saying that I was frightened till death is not enough. I was the last to go. My hands were shaking and I was forcing myself to do it. I think the last word for doing this was said by Halley. She came up shaking and out of breath, but she said, she would have regretted NOT doing it. And I went down.

At some point there was nowhere to move. I was stuck. I was scared. I was haning on the rope. My life was litterally in someone elses hands. Our coach was just smiling to me and saying “I got you. You can do it!”

When I reached top of the mountain it was sunset time. It was the most gorgeous sunset in my life. I was so proud of myself. I did something scary! I survived! I can do anything! There was nothing to be afraid of. The fear was ridiculous.

IMG_6942It was almost half a year ago. Since that I did things that I never dared to do before, just because I thought that sitting and doing nothing because I’m scared will not help me and I will just waste prescious time.

I dared to tell about my feelings to guy I liked instead of backing up and thinking of what I could have. I moved to China, without knowing any Chinese.

I decided that fear is ridicuous and tried my best to fight it again and again. Now I want to ask you, my dear reader, do you have time for being scared or you’d rather dare to prove yourself that you can do anything? 🙂