Life in Moscow Update, Part 2 - Technically
HELLO, LUVZ! Are you having an excellent week? I´m in a much better mind frame than my last blog. Spending time with tribe helped me tremendously. When we feel we are drowning, they remind us that we´re in a puddle, so stand up. Suddenly, our perspective changes. My last blog, I was drowning in anguish; mentally exhausted. And though my tribe helped me realise i wasnt drowning, it was my responsibility to step out of the puddle. So I took a personal day yesterday, and went shopping.
My favorite mall was STRIPPED BARE of the biggest global brands of today. I knew about it, it just hits differently when seeing with my own eyes. . But I hadn´t been on a shopping trip in Moscow, since I made a blog, testing my Russian Bank Cards, after being dropped by SWIFT. Normally I do my main shopping when I travel to Europe. My mouth dropped at the sight of a CLOSED Victoria´s Secret...IN A MALL. I was visiting a parallel universe. As far as everyday life, there are countless evolutions taking place....
The technical adversities of Moscow living is not as the Western media has been reporting. Of course, It was soul jolting for this American to watch sooo many brands exit Russia. Everyday, there´s an announcement of new Brand´s leaving, as sanctions enter. However, the most jarring one for me was Netflix and McDonald´s. It took me a moment to wrap my head around the concept. NO MCDONALDS?????? Insane!! The first thing I do when traveling to a new country is learn how close I am to a McDonald´s and city mall. If its not in the vicinity, I think twice about performing in the area. LOL
I have never known life without the Big M. Besides the loss of employemnt, loosing Mickey D´s has not bothered the Russians. In reality, if the country wanted a fast food restaurant like Mickey Ds, theyd have their own version. Besides, KFC, Burger King, Subway, and other similar restaruents are still here. And the deleting of Western brands has only made room for other countries to enter.
Movies?.... There are several means of downloading ANYTHING they want to see, from ANY country in the world....including movies BEFORE they hit the theatre. So loosing Netflix wasnt a loss for anyone.
I believe it is being reported that Russian citizens have limited information to the rest of the world, due to certain parts of the internet being blocked. Maybe thats the case for the older generation, but anyone with a computer has VPN. It allows access to the rest of the internet, including social media. However, the country is not allowed to run ads via social media. The benefit (at least for me) is there are no more ads to clutter my newsfeed.
As far as the economy, my knowledge is pretty limited, since i get paid in USD. So, my spending power has increased in Moscow due to the ruble weakening. But strangely enough, the ruble has bounced back to roughly the same value before the invasion. Russia has its own version of SWIFT for their bank cards. The first week, I had issues with using it, as i reported in my earlier blogs. But all transactions have been smooth ever since. I am fortunate to have a card on SWIFT and another on MIR. When i travel outside of Russia, I use the SWIFT. And I just learned today that Russian´s version of Google Pay "Nash Store" will start operating in May.
In conclusion, from my personal assessment, Russia is steadily keeping afloat technical wise. But of course, everything can swiftly change overnight. Luvz, I can´t believe I am actually witnessing History as. it. happens. This time will go down in our history books, for children to study. And I can actually say I was there as it happened. I missed out on soo many historical events growing up, because of the cult. In a zombie state, I lived thru 9-11. The death of Tupac and Biggie was an epic time for my people. I remember what i was doing when it happened...but felt nothing. I was actually sitting in a mall with other cult members. We were taking a break from preaching to our neighbours. As we ate our lunch, we could see the agitation of everybody around us. They were loud, and restless. "Tupac died", a kid said when i asked what was going on. I felt neutral. But Today, I am witnessing history. A Black American woman living is a very Unique perspective. And I will try my best to keep you posted, each time I visit.