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Andy: Eye On Moscow

In our InterNations Recommended Blog section we let you take the spotlight! Expat life in general is, of course, a perfect breeding ground for great, user-generated reads, and life in Moscow makes no exception. Take your time and browse the great blogs showcased in this article!

Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Moscow, etc.

I am from the state of Ohio, USA and have lived most of my adult life in Russia. I lived in Perm, Russia for 11 years and then moved to Moscow at the beginning of 2010. I am enjoying learning more about Moscow and Russia together with my wife and four children.

When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?

I started blogging in 2007. I think that expats often fall into a trap of being so goal or project oriented that we can lose some of the wealth that can be found in experiencing the local culture and meeting new friends and learning from them. My blog is a continuing attempt to record the Russian behavior that I observe and the parts of the culture that are very different from what I grew up knowing back in Ohio.

Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?

Tell us about the ways your new life in Moscow differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?

Not culture shock, but “sticker shock” when it came to flat rental prices.

Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Moscow? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?

Honestly, I wasn’t prepared for how polite most people are. From the first day, everyone said “hello” in the apartment building lift. Strangers are usually happy to take the time to explain directions. And Muscovites often are open to discussion of new ideas.

Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?

Somehow my face doesn’t look American to most folks. Often when I meet other expats for the first time, they compliment me on my English skills. I usually just tell them that I grew up in a village where everyone spoke English.

Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Moscow?

  • Use the public transportation and pack good shoes for lots of walking.
  • If you choose to disregard Tip#1 download a library of audiobooks so that you will become more intelligent as you sit in traffic during your stay.
  • It’s all about relationship here. Your goals are secondary. If you make relationship primary, your goals will be reached more quickly- and you’ll enjoy your stay a whole lot more.

How is the expat community in Moscow? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?

Moscow has a large expat community. Very little effort is required to find fellow expats who are not only here for business, but enjoy the lifestyle in this mega-city where the East collides with the West.

How would you summarize your expat life in Moscow in a single, catchy sentence?

Constant observation of the inexplicable is an exhilarating way to live.

Jürgen Hofmeister

"When I came to Moscow I barely knew anyone, but now I've got dozens of expat contacts from dozens of countries. "

Caroline Hayes

"At the first InterNations Moscow event that I attended I was absolutely delighted by the elegant atmosphere and the high-quality expat crowd. "

Global Expat Guide