1. I was born during Communism and lived in Moscow when it fell. The entire country went through a major change when I was about 8 years old. Since I was too young to understand much, the one thing that stands out to me from this significant event is that I didn't have to wear a uniform and a Lenin star anymore. That's right. My country went through one of the most significant changes while I wondered why I didn't have to pin my little red star to my shirt every morning anymore.
2. When I was really young (I do not recall the age), my parents saved up enough money to buy new wallpaper for my sister's and my room. They spent an entire weekend putting it up and then smiling at each other with pride. That Sunday I woke up in the middle of the night and "helped make it pretty" by covering almost every square inch with permanent marker drawings.
3. Virtually every little girl in Russia ended up doing gymnastics or ballet. When I was about 8 or 9, my mom signed me up for gymnastics. Our teacher was really strict and insisted on doing "stretches" once a week where she would ask you to sit in a split position and then push down with all her weight (I was a very scrawny kid) to deepen the bend. This always resulted in my tears, followed by threats of quitting and never coming back. I would then storm out and sit on the curb until my mom came by and picked me up. Then she would drop me off again the following week. I hated that class.
4. Every single year since I was old enough to own one my bike was stolen. One particular summer I left my brand new bike under 2 other bikes by the house we were staying at for the summer just outside of Moscow. When I came back from whatever activity was going on at the time (swimming? badminton?), the two other bikes were placed nicely against the wall and mine was gone.
5. On the first day of the first grade of school I noticed a boy standing in line to go into a huge auditorium for the "Welcome" rally that was held every year for new students. I thought he was cute so I introduced myself and asked him to be my friend. He was my best friend for the rest of the years I lived there and many more after. Some of my fondest memories include time with him; the time we learned how to use the phone and prank called everyone we could think of; the time we decided to skip class and spent an entire day at the play ground; the time we were skating around and he tripped me and I ended up with a concussion. We lost touch about 6 years ago.
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