Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. I would never have expected to see so many Russian people there. My sister told me many times that Dominicana had recently become of the more popular travel destinations for Russians, but I did not take it seriously. I thought there would probably be two or three Russian couples on the resort and that would be it. For some reason, I assumed the majority would not choose the same hotels as we did. I assumed there were hotels “specifically” oriented for Russians. Boy, was I really wrong about that.
The magic happened like in a Cinderella’s story when the clock was about to strike 12. We spent the first four days interacting with hotel staff using our primitive Spanish (gracias, buenos dios, ola) and using English to talk to American and Canadian “vacationers.” On the New Year eve, we dressed fancy for the evening, left our hotel room, and moved towards the gala hall. And here the magic happened. Boom! One couple speaking Russian. Boom! Another one. Boom! Third, fourth, firth, sixth, and so on. It felt like we fell asleep and woke up to find ourselves in another hotel or another reality. No more English or Spanish heard. Pure Russian. As Russian as it gets. They all came to celebrate New Year at Dominican. I realised later that it was also because Russians have the longest official vacations the first 10 days of January, so naturally they all want to go on vacation during this period. The hotel was “taken” by Russian couples, as my boyfriend was joking. It was surreal.
To be honest, I feel homesick very often. Sometimes I think about my parents and start crying, even in public places. I cannot help it. When you move to another country alone, you always have a tremendous feeling of loss. Loss of home. Loss of the luxury of seeing your parents every day or even every week. Listening to all those couples speaking Russian made me think how I wished my family were here with me to celebrate New Year. Working and studying in Canada changes you and makes you want to integrate into the society you are living in. But at those moments when you suddenly hear your native language from other people and see the cultural habits you used to have, you remember that part of you will always remain foreign no matter how much you want to fit in. And maybe it is a good thing.