I was excited. I was nervous. I was curious. And by the time we had entered the cosy apartment, I was pleasantly surprised. The friendly administrator, the comfy couches with colourful throw pillows, the high speed internet- it was the closest thing to home. That night, I had a long conversation with a Guatemalan professor about the cinematic significance of World War ll movies, the impact of media on education and how political agendas propagate ignorance.

The following morning, we set out to explore the sights and sounds that Moscow had to offer. Once again, being in a big city, I was in my element. The Russian capital is the perfect juxtaposition of old and new. It is easily, the prettiest city I have ever had the opportunity to visit. Dozens of cute cafes, gleaming store displays and colourful buildings.  This is just the view outside our hostel! A short walk away is the famous red square. The St. Basil’s Cathedral was stunning and the Kremlin was an imposing structure that was quite intimidating, to be honest. It was comforting to be surrounded by hordes of other tourists for a change. People from all over the world swarmed the central squar clicking pictures, staring up at the buildings in wonder and in that moment, we were all united.

Moscow by night is even prettier than it is during the daytime. Or perhaps my nocturnal state of mind has me biased. Either way, the bright lights and the bustle of city nightlife completely transforms the place and whether or not you know the language or the people, you can’t help but feel like you’re a part of something much bigger.

The weather was playing spoil sport on our second day in Moscow but a little drizzle never hurt anyone, am I right?
As one of the prettiest metro systems in the world, Moscow metro is a tourists’ must see. That fact that it was underground, safe from the rainy skies above, was a major plus. Each metro station is a thing to marvel at! Mosaic paintings, intricate murals on the ceiling, exquisite sculptures and sparkling chandeliers came together to form some of the most elegant metro stations I have ever seen. One could easily mistake it for a ballroom.
Against the classic backdrop, modern day diversity stood out in contrast. Skater boys zipping through, girls huddled around with faces buried in their phones, people in all shapes and sizes going about their day hardly enchanted by their lavish surroundings. Another example of the great paradox, that is Moscow.
By the time we surfaced, the clouds ceased their sobs and we were able to click a few pictures at the beautiful Revolution Square.
Once we got back to the hostel my brother and I played an interesting game of “Nightmare” (a popular Russian card game) with another boarder from the UK and Kate, the hostel administrator. A bowl of chocolates in the center, we sat on the comfy couches and played like an immature bunch of little kids. I lost.
The evening on our last day in Moscow was spent in the back room of one of the city’s hundreds of cafes with members of the Rotary club of Moscow East. Being responsible for reaching out to rotary clubs, of all the clubs I sent emails to, this was the only one that responded. An exuberant bunch, I must say! Though not all of them spoke English, the evening was filled with both light hearted laughter and meaningful conversation. After the customary flag exchange, we sat down and shared the various rotary projects of our respective clubs as well as the Gift of Life Adventure. It was wonderful. I think luck really must be on our side because we just happened to be in Moscow on the day the Rotary in of Moscow had their weekly meeting