Monday, May 3, 2010

Wishful Thinking

(Edited at bottom on May 4th)

"You know what would be perfect, Mommy?," asked Natalia today in the car. "If all stores in America were also in Russia. Not just in Russia, but in Moscow. Within walking distance of our house. And no more expensive."

Dream on, sweetheart...

The kids have seen so many changes (i.e. American stores that are now here, and more convenience in shopping in general) in the past few years that I can see why Natalia would engage in some wishful thinking, but...

It would be nice, though. It kills me to take the kids shoe shopping here in Moscow. On the one hand, I'm thankful to be able to find quality shoes—and a wide variety of them. But the prices? Ouch! (The hybrid sneaker/sandals that Natalia is wearing cost $80; I could have gotten similar ones from Land's End for $29!) How I wish I could just click "send" and shop online from tried-and-true stores back home!

I didn't bother trying to bring back shoes for the girls when I was in the USA on my own in March; it's too hard to know in advance what will be comfortable for them and what size they'll be. When I used to try, I often ended up with sandals that didn't fit until October or weren't big enough... I haven't really even lucked out passing down seasonal shoes from Katya to Natalia; who needs winter boots that you grow into in April?

But getting back to Natalia's little fantasy... I dream of an Einstein Brothers Bagel Shop, or something like that... Panera?! I'd be in heaven! The real dream come true? Michaels (craft supplies) AND Borders or Barnes and Noble (bookstores)!

(Edited on May 4th)

I agree with everyone about how depressing it is when all of America looks alike... Not knowing what town you're in... I know what you mean, really. I wasn't advocating for Moscow to end up like any other "taken over" US town...

After six years of living here, though, I simply miss not being able to have a healthy and inexpensive breakfast. I also wish I didn't have to plan crafts with the girls half a year (or more) in advance since many basic supplies don't exist here. Sure, I can get my hands on other stuff and be creative in different ways—but sometimes you just really wish you could find what you had in mind and have it not be so difficult. As for Panera, Le Pain Quotidien is about as close as I've been able to find, but the sandwiches just aren't as good, the chairs aren't comfortable, and it's too expensive... I long for the bookstores simply because it's comforting to just plop down among all those English books sometimes... There are some nice bookstores here, but none are welcoming and relaxing the way you find in the USA.

8 comments:

Tina in CT said...

It's a shame that you couldn't hold off until you're here but it's spring and they need sandals and sneakers. Katya's silver sandals and sox. OMG! Is that a Russian thing? Remember that Katya needs rain boots for camp. What about ordering them online to be sent to my house?

Rozmin said...

LoL, I sometimes wish the SAME thing. Except for Geneva, not Moscow. When I find myself missing home because of the stores or the restaurants (nothing fancy, just something like Panera, like you said!) I feel so shallow. But I guess it is the little things...

Annie said...

I wish for just the opposite. It seems to me that the world is becoming far too homogenized already. Everything the same. I did touring theatre for a number of years, and so often - you could look around and only see exactly what you could see in Oregon, Indiana, Utah or Pennsylvania... nothing but chain stores. Nothing to strike the fancy or make you glimpse in any way how the people HERE might be unique, how this PLACE and culture and its history might have impacted those who live there. Really breaks my heart.

Russia is not the first place I ever was that was so wonderfully "ITSELF", though obviously it was the most unique. I also relished the lower east side of New York City and the little farming towns in the middle of Montana. Hurrah for places with character!

Thus speaks someone who lives in absolutely the most boring, colorless place on earth. It has a Panera, but I'm really tired of it.

Anonymous said...

I am with Annie.
I remember some years ago we were driving cross-country (must be from Louisiana to NY) and I woke up one morning,walked to the balcony of our motel, looked outside and got scared - did we even drive yesterday? everything looked the same, I could not tell what state we were in.
I am for diversity.
Have no idea how to apply diversity to a good pair of children shoes.
Olga

Sun With Passing Showers said...

The next time I'm annoyed at companies for charging so much extra (way more than it actually costs them) to ship to Hawaii I'll think of you and be grateful that at least I have the option of having things shipped to me. I'd still love an IKEA though but I'm pretty sure that's wishful thinking!

Jennifer said...

This was one of the biggest headaches for us to!! I think I spent half of my "vacation" trying to make sure I'd got everything on the list. Ugh! I like the new header of your blog!
Interestingly, I 'm working on a new column about how you go to a foreign country for the glamor and the excitment, but if you settle down you just spend your life waiting for the plumber to come.

Annie said...

I'm so often thinking I've found my soulmate in Olga.

Anonymous said...

Annie,
thank you,
Olga