This evening I found my own way from my workplace to my accommodation. It is only about a 15 minute walk but nonetheless it’s a bit scary in a city where it is hard to decipher the Cyrillic signs, and although I can say ‘excuse me’, ‘thank you’ and ‘good evening’, I have no idea how to say ‘I am lost’. So, it was hugely satisfying to get to the right front door.
On the way I ventured into the supermarket for some fresh veg. Wherever I go I find it incredibly grounding to go to the local supermarket and enter into the basic transactions of buying food or incidentals. The rules are universal: you pick up your basket or trolley, you wander up and down aisles and even if you don’t speak the language the context of the foods and the pictures on the labels help you with your choices, you join a queue, unload your items, the checkout staff offer you a bag, they scan your stuff, you pack, you pay. Today I had the added bonus of being served by the Check-Out Angel. I had not realised that you had to weigh your veg and get a price sticker before paying. This delightful lady halted my apologies and trotted off to do it for me, as if that was what she had been waiting to do all day. And in that moment I knew that big old, cold Moscow has a warm heart