Honestly, we had lot’s of thoughts and ambivalence going to Russia. I mean all the anti- gay awful laws, homophobic violence and other strange idea’s of human rights and the trouble going on with Ukraine to mention a few but also consider all the history combined with the news we get in Sweden about this huge country isn’t exactly happy, good or fun at all. But what would have happen if we boycotted the whole trip? Nothing. I mean come on we’re not Lady Gaga or Obama! At least now we live to tell our story.
We where also curious – there must be more than what meets the eye even tough we don’t agree with the regime of the country. People are mostly like people – all over the world – right?!
Our friend Jennifer from Bag-All.com had somehow got connected with a really fun, cool and creative magazine called Season Project, based in Moscow. Jennifer now lives in NYC and she recommended Nastasia From Season’s to contact med when they got to Stockholm. Well, Nastasia and Geanie came to do a house tour at my place (it’s now printed in their magazine as seen above) in February and we just clicked. They where super cool and fun and we had a short but very good time. And I kept on telling them how I now wanted to go to Moscow someday and if I would go could they help me? I just had an idea that Moscow is one of those places that would be much more fun knowing someone. Well I guess most places are but you know Moscow with 15 million official (but they think more likely 18 million) residents and with still lot’s of never been heard of places would be better with a street smart know-it-all that lives there. We talked about it, they went back home and I kind of forgot about it.
A couple of months later I got a mail from Nastasia with the title – Welcome to Moscow! I was invited to give a talk and workshop in Moscow. The Seasons Magazine have a Design Festival every spring – Called Seasons Subbotnik Festival. Subbotnik used to be some sort of Spring Cleanse – like when all Russians came together and planted, painted and fixed stuff after the winter. The magazine has it’s headquarters on the ground of an old perfume factory Flacon. There are now all kinds of shops and work spaces for creative people. Seasons doesn’t only produce the magazine from there they also give lessons in drawing, painting, work shops for kids etc. all year around. So me and Jenny went – above she is pointing at the big festival posters – it’s says something about Swedish crazy persons giving talks. And we gave talks, had workshops and went to peoples homes so that Jenny could photograph them – we will show them soon here on the blog.
Also invited and giving talks where very talented Alexis Holmqvist & Cristiano Pigazzini from Note Design studio & Frida Eriksson from Furniture. Cristiano and Jenny thought it was the worst idea ever – jumping on top of the roof… But I just can’t help myself. But as you can see I’m not jumping- I’m flying!
Happy people listening to our talks. It was weird being translated with an interpreter after each sentence but I think it worked out great.
The What did we think:
Well after meeting all these lovely people and experiencing everything that we now have, we must say that it was in a way nothing like we thought. We are aware that we hung out with a minority of Russians, creative people who looks, acts and thinks like much like us. And going to some parts of Moscow was like parts of New York. The thing is that we had been so warned about many things. Things that people normally warned about before knowing anything. That it wasn’t safe on the streets, that the credit cards would get skimmed all the time, that people wasn’t friendly. I mean just read this report from the Tripadvisor site. We thought the police & all the stately affairs would be much more present in the daily life but somehow it felt very far away. The city was also much more colorful than we thought and the food was great. And for a Swede it wasn’t that expensive. But without our Russian friends as guides I guess it would have been harder to see and enjoy the town. It feels like there is a lot of things happening. And about politics – it seems that no – they are not totally happy but at least right now there is a better way of living for many people than in a long time and also somewhat stable which most people truly appreciate. And we totally get that.
Here they are – our fantastic Moskowitsi crew. When Jenny was taking her photos our lovely friends just hung out. We are amazed over the way that they took care of us. And how they took care of each other. So much love! Thank you so much!
After lunch Chocolate cake and milk! And Yes of course coffee for Jenny.
Go and see this city yourselves! We’re doing a best of Moscow list soon. Contact someone from there and let them guide you.
And keep an open mind. Always!
Isabelle & Jenny