I was born in Ryazan, in a country that was at that time called the Soviet Union. I had a wonderful childhood, full of warmth, love, bright colors and fantastic adventures. We lived in a house on the outskirts of the city – mom, dad, grandpa, grandma and I.
The house was warm, nice and cozy. There was my grandfather who loved to make something by hand, play chess with me and talk about his interesting life. There was my grandmother who loved to do gardening, plant roses, peonies and gladioli. There was my dad who loved electronics, always soldering, assembling and setting up something. There was my mother, this was her home, her childhood home. In the garden there were apples, there were always too many of them each year, currants, raspberries, irga, gooseberries, plums, cherries, peas, cucumbers and tomatoes that never ripened. In winter the house was warm, because my grandpa turned on the heating and sometimes we warmed ourselves up together by the radiator in the corridor. It was cool in summer because the blackout curtains protected the rooms well from the sun rays. There were many books in the house on completely different topics. I liked to sit in the armchair, take one of them from the shelf and read it as long as I wanted. When no one was at home, I liked to mess around, jump on the couch and dream.
I had friends, mostly from our or neighboring street. Well, with them... there were adventures with them. Even then, at the age of six, I felt trapped at home, in the yard or on the street. I wanted more, I wanted to explore the world around me, I wanted to discover new things and share it with my friends. We explored everything around: factories, hospitals, ponds and summer cottages, the city dump and the military training ground, the tram depot and garage co-ops. It was our special, fairytale world, full of fascinating and intriguing things. Oh, it was not easy for my parents to deal with me, they went through hell and high water.
Soon, my mom, dad and I moved to a new apartment nearby, and a different life began. High school, university, my first professional job. I never liked Ryazan, probably because the most interesting, the best and the most promising things were, of course, in Moscow, so the question of moving to the capital was just a matter of time.
As soon as I graduated from the university, nearly the first train took me to Moscow for a new job, new ideas, thoughts and achievements. I found myself in the best city on Earth, where there was all I needed, where everything was possible, in the city where dreams come true.
At first it was very unusual, alien and strange, but then, gradually, I fell in love with Moscow, but this time it was like my own city, a city in which there were friends, home, family, work – almost everything.
It did not last long, exactly until I got to Deutsche Bank, doing finance. The lack of international borders, the feeling that the whole world is not somewhere out there, but here, on the other side of the phone, behind the screen of your computer, among colleagues sitting next to you. It changed my perception so quickly, rapidly and irrevocably that Moscow became cramped, small and limiting for me. Financial capitals – New York, London, Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo, all of this became part of my reality and it became clear that sooner or later I would move somewhere and this would happen not because it was bad in Moscow, but because it was good out there.
Comparing the cities, and I was only looking at big ones, London was ahead of the rest. Moving there was, on the one hand, not easy, but on the other, after a close study of all the matters, it was not so difficult. I didn't want to lower my standard of living at all, so I was very careful in my decisions and took my time.
And so, the stars aligned and I am in London. It wasn't easy at first, but this was already my second move in my life, so I knew what to expect. You can't even imagine how happy I was to live in this new place. The greenery of residential areas mixes with the shine of skyscrapers, the comfort of small streets, the smell of coffee and the noise of the big city. London is a place where everything is possible, a place where you can find people with any interests, a hobby according to your spirit or a job according to your liking. London is a city where everything is changing rapidly, keeping up with innovation, a city that already looks different today compared to yesterday. London is the Center, the Capital, the place where all roads lead and the place where the best people of the planet gather.
After living in one place for several years, I wanted to move again, so as soon as I received a British passport, my life changed. I have left to live elsewhere several times, either quitting my job or working remotely. This special feeling of freedom is difficult to forget.
If the journey is dragged on at some point, you start to want to go home, the place that you are used to, where it is good, where your friends are. While sitting in one place for a long time, sometimes you get an urge to travel, explore new territories and meet new people. So, these desires alternate for me, first I live with one, and then with another. One thing is clear, at the moment when I want to go home, I don’t have a question where my home is, because the answer is obvious.
Now I live near the center of London, on the Thames embankment, in a bright and cozy apartment in a quiet and green area. In the morning I watch how the sun rises above the Canary Wharf skyscrapers, in the afternoon I watch people sunbathing on the lawn beneath my window, and, in the evening, I watch how the sun sets behind the City, shining on the horizon.
This place is special to me. It is warm and cozy, quiet and peaceful, green and spacious, my friends are here. Here I like to dream, walk, and sometimes I just don't go anywhere, because it feels so good to be at home too. This is probably the only place in the world where I feel the same as I did as a child – easy and free.