InterNations Featured Blog
English Dad in Moscow
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Russia, etc.
I am British from London England.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences at English Dad in Moscow?
I began blogging about my experience of living in Moscow, when I became a Stay at home dad (SAHD). I found being at home with a small baby, in a small flat, in a new and unknown city very lonely. However, I love writing so decided to blog about my experience as a SAHD living abroad.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
Tell us about the ways your new life in Russia differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
Life in Moscow is totally different life back home, although I have not lived in my home country for some time. Moscow is big, expensive and congested with traffic. I had some culture shock that I have mentioned in my blog and it took me about a year to get used to living in Moscow.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Russia? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
I was not fully prepared for Moscow. As many Russians will say, Moscow is not Russia. Russia is vast and fascinating country and like anywhere, has positives and negatives. I have lived in Moscow before about ten years ago, when I stayed here for 6 months, although it did not prepare me for living here as father and with a family as back then, I was single. Moving to Moscow from a small city is a shock, whatever your age or nationality. If I had known how hard it would be to find an affordable flat and how bad the traffic is here, I may not have moved to Moscow.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
Briefly, when we were looking for a flat in Moscow, we were shown some awful and some very strange flats. We went to see one flat and we went with our real estate agent. At the flat, we met the owner of the flat. He told us he was waiting for his real estate agent. Eventually a Hummer truck arrived, a young, arrogant guy jumped out wearing a leather jacket and sun glasses, he has a mobile phone stuck to his ear that he would not put away for the whole time he was with us. He spoke in Russian and made negative comments about our budget to the owner but what he did not know is that my wife speaks fluent Russian. After a while, she looked him straight in the eye and said in perfect Russian “it’s our budget but we won’t pay you a thing” we left and did not take the flat. It was surreal as at this flat we had our agent, the owner and his agent!
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Russia?
Preparation and you must love big cities. Start looking for flat and for a suitable area to live in, well before you move to Moscow, if you can get financial help with rent it will be easier.
How is the expat community in Russia? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
There is a large expat community here. Many Americans but also British and other nationalities. Moscow attracts certain types of people and certain professions, so finding like minded expats can be easy and hard depending on your background, circumstance and free time.
How would you summarize your expat life in Russia in a single, catchy sentence?
Hard, busy and a real experience.