Some foreign friends and I decided to take a walk around VDNKh park the other day. I positively giddy with the buzz of electricity, the squealing ice skaters and tiny Christmas market set up nearby. That's when I noticed my friend looking very uneasy. "What's wrong?" I asked, concerned. "Oh, it's nothing. It's just really dreary weather, combined with the ominous looming soviet architecture and falsely westernized market and English Christmas music is a lot to take in at once." When I stopped to look around, he was exactly right. Black thunderclouds were rolling in. The tiny Christmas stands blaring English Christmas music were cast in shadows by the surrounding enormous museums, which really were quite daunting. After living in Moscow for two years, I have completely adjusted my sense of what is "cheery" versus what is "gloomy." My friend, who only moved to Moscow a few months ago, was horribly homesick for Winter Wonderland back in London. Funny how two people can have two very opposing reactions to the same experience. I wondered how the "me" from a year ago would have felt.
These musings were abruptly cast aside when, back in the metro, we spotted the completely decked out "New Years" train. Christmas lights and decorations line the entirety of the outside and inside of the cars. Dressed up Snowman and Reindeer characters were handing out lollipops to kids. I've never seen so many smiles on a Russian metro. People were yelling out "Happy New Year" to each other and giggling as the Reindeers passed by. "If this isn't holiday cheer, I don't know what is," I thought.