Always on the move

How many times have you moved in your life? Is it usually a cool new experience or a daunting task for you?

I have moved many times in my life even though I come from the culture, in which families traditionally settle down and stay in the same apartment most of their life. From the age of 12, I knew I wanted to explore the world and to move away from Russia. Till the present day, I have had at least 10 major “resettlements” in my life.

We move for different reasons: happy, sad, voluntary, or necessary. In my experience, I moved because of…

  • my desire to explore the United States
  • my decision to pursue education in Taiwan
  • my future career prospects in Canada
  • very noisy neighbours who made me lose sleep
  • ants crawling in the bathroom and kitchen despite all my attempts to keep the apartment spotless clean
  • increase in salary and the chance to rent a place in downtown
  • me finding the love of my life and moving in together

Very often our moving trajectory reflects the pivotal moments of our personal and professional life. It is like the geography of our own adventure. And the best thing is that we get to choose how to plan our journey, where to put a red dot on the map, and what new lands to explore next. Never settle down for a long time. Keep moving, continue travelling, find new ways to understand the world better. Because when you understand the world, you understand yourself. In a much more profound way.

Are you happy?

What is happiness for you?

It is a loaded question. It can take a person into uncharted corners of the consciousness, from where it might be hard to find the way back. You can get lost while asking yourself this question. You can start questioning the meaning of everything in your life. Am I happy? What truly makes it different? When, where, and with whom am I the happiest?

Sometimes I feel I am obsessed with this search for happiness. When I look at strangers in the street, I always mentally imagine their life and ask the same question: Is this person truly happy? When driving and passing houses, I peek in their windows for a second and wonder: is this family happy? Have they found the key to a happy life?

My mom says happiness is fleeting. It finds you in the spontaneous moments of life. She describes it as a short feeling of total harmony and satisfaction, when at this moment there is nothing else needed. The feeling comes and goes, but it never disappears forever. It always reminds us of its existence. That is why those moments are so precious. After all, we always want what we do not have at the moment.

Unlike my mom, some people think that happiness should be a permanent state of mind. It should always be within you. Despite problems and obstacles, this inner resilience to negativity and unhappiness will help you overcome anything. Almost like a superpower.

Whatever happiness is, it is a mysterious thing for me. I am still looking for answers. At this very moment, I am happy because I am writing this blog. I am happy when words appear on the screen effortlessly, without my thinking too much. It almost feels like they come from the heart, not the mind.

Because I love writing, I have just received one of the best birthday presents in my life: the original German typewriter from the 1960s. And it is functional! Below I am attaching my first attempt at typing at it. It is very embarrassing how many mistakes I made while typing. I have realized that one has to be so completely focused when using old school typewriters. Focus, focus, focus. Each letter, every word, every single line. There are no second chances. There are no options to erase, delete, come back, or create a new sentence. One click. One chance. This is the real moment of writing. The “now” moment. And you live in this moment. You are completely happy…

My first experience with a typewriter. Many mistakes (including grammar!), typos, and formatting issues, but so much fun!

what’s your passion?

I think that most people have something they are really passionate about in life. For me, passion lies in books. I love shopping for books, googling new releases, talking about the recently read texts, smelling new books, holding them in my hands, and simply having books in my life. I am genuinely happy when I come across a unique book. It becomes part of me. Sometimes I feel that I consist of bits and pieces of the books, which have influenced my worldview and my identity. And the beauty is that it is a never-ending process: every new book brings something new to my character. But today I do not want to talk about my passion. Rather it is more interesting to discuss the passion I see in people around me.

My boyfriend is really passionate about food. He is a natural foodie and a believer in enjoying life through food. I’ve noticed how his eyes light up and a smile plays on his lips in the following situations:

  1. When in the restaurant, he notices the dish he has ordered is coming out the kitchen and the server is approaching our table to deliver the order;
  2. When in butchery, he sees a beautiful piece of raw marble meat and imagines how this medium-rare steak will taste in his mouth;
  3. When at home, he reads a food blog or watches a YouTube food vlog and finds a new way to cook traditional dishes;
  4. When he pours himself a glass of Malbec and starts improvising in the kitchen while I sit at the bar table and watch this creative process of food transformation;
  5. When he plans the trip to Europe and makes a list of restaurants (instead of a list of museums) we should absolutely visit there;
  6. When we drive around the city and randomly stumble upon a small family restaurant, authentic and original in its method of cooking.

In all these scenarios (and many more), his pupils dilate wider than normal. Food truly makes him excited and happy. Happy the way a child is when getting a new toy from the parents. I see this happiness in him and it radiates so much that I get affected by that. I start looking at food from a different perspective as well: not only as means to satisfy hunger, but as another reason to be alive.

What is your reason to be alive? What is your passion?