I recently traveled to Russia for the first time. My trip was a crafted adventure to help begin an acupuncture program in Moscow for a small group of doctors and Qi Gong masters that are wanting to bring the ancient art of healing to their beautiful city. I can’t say that I had any real expectations but I certainly had some trepidations as Russia was always portrayed as being “bad” in my childhood and there has been some recent unrest both in Russia against the homosexual population as well as discord in the neighboring Ukrain. I didn’t feel that my daily existence would be forged with battle or attack but unrest, at it’s core, makes us all uneasy and I am no exception to that.
That said, my experience could not have been more wonderful. Russia is a culture rich with history, interest, and beauty and you can see the marks of time in every corner. There are resurrections of churches foiled in gold glory that popped up after the communist fall and have taken to shining like little stars in the nights of winter. There are old world structures standing for several hundred years mixed with the cement block buildings of soviet rule. The side streets wind away from the center in a mix of european romanticism and nostalgic mysticism to bisect small parks, each with a splash of surprise, weather it be an outdoor rink for ice skating, a heated pool to dip in the warmth while outdoor in the chilly winters, or simply decorated in root to tip lights that hug every tree. The subways are deep in the terrain, originally built to sustain the throws of war, but now an easy way to jet from place to place with a vintage feel in their antique trains from the 50’s and 60’s surrounded by decorative marble.