If you had told me 10 years ago that I was going to fall in love with Eastern Europe, and more specifically Russia, I would have laughed in your face.
Russia: the land of snow, bears, vodka and the miserable people struggling to rebuild their lives after the fall of communism? Not a chance.
Apart from Russia isn’t like that at all.
Yes, the winters are brutal, the bears exist and the vodka is plentiful, but Russia is full of vibrant, open and welcoming people who will not hesitate to invite you into their house for a cup of tea and excellent conversation.
Russia is 24h flower shops on every corner, 3am sushi with your nearest and dearest, vibrant architecture in the middle of a concrete city, straightforward attitudes and beautiful folk tales that give you a mere glimpse into the complicated lives of Russian people and Russian history.
I have never felt as home anywhere as I feel in Russia, and leaving Russia in 2015 after 5 months in Saint Petersburg left me in tears. I had formed so many great memories, grown as a person and was itching to go back.