Friday, October 06, 2006

Pyshkinskaya, My Pyshkinskaya.

I’ve gotten comfortable living here on Pyshkinskaya, the pedestrian-only thoroughfare that stretches 16 blocks or so through the center of the city. Pyshkinskaya is lined by stately trees and nine-story Communist-era apartment buildings several decades past their prime. I’ve lived in one such building for seven-and-a-half years now, six months longer that I lived in my childhood home.

My landlady wants to sell the apartment so I need to move – although she did give me dibs on buying the place and offered it for US$100,000 in cash. So, as I said, I’ll be moving soon and the whole process has been quite smooth so far – finding a new place and getting it ready because, for one thing, there’s no hurry. And for another thing, my attitude has been good, so far anyway. I’m okay about this move because I see it as an opportunity.

Last move, my outlook was a bit different. I remember that distinctly. That was four years ago when I lived on 3rd floor of this very apartment building. I had been there for three years and gotten things all spruced up when the owner, Tatyana Somebody-ovna decided she wanted the apartment back for her son and family. Okaaay. As I recall, I did share with her my displeasure about that. (Imagine.) Mostly I was dreading finding a new place, not knowing quite how to go about it.

But, as the Aussies say, “No worries, matey!” A new apartment landed right in my lap thanks to the unofficial network of Russian babyshkas, the grandmothers who know what’s going on with everybody. The sweet, busy-body babyshka (BBB) on 6th floor asked if I knew of anybody looking for an apartment. At first I couldn’t think of anybody (duh) but eventually I did (guess who) and dear BBB connected me with the owner of the newly available apartment.

I came up to have a look around, saw 35 years worth of dusty canning jars, broken windows on the balcony, the rickety cabinets in the kitchen and decided “nyet, nyet, a thousand times NYET.” But later while listening to a sermon (no offense Igor), my mind wandered off to the sage advise of “location, location and. . .location.” The grime and junk could be dealt with. Windows and cabinets could be replaced. But the location was absolutely unbeatable. So the “nyet” became “da”. . . and here we are!

I’ve been on 7th floor for more than four years now. Doing repairs and replacing wallpaper are but vague memories. But the view overlooking Pyshkinskaya out on my south balcony still takes my breath away. To the north, three large windows are in the tree tops and I relish the big sky, the summer sunsets and a family of delicate little birds with blue caps, blue wings and yellow underside, officially the Blue Tit species. I haven’t shed one nostalgic tear missing that 3rd floor apartment. Moving was in my best interests.

So, lesson learned, I’m realizing that another move equals new opportunities. I think I’ll like my new apartment even better in some ways but I will miss Pyshkinskaya with its peace and quiet. I’ll still be able to enjoy Pyshkinskaya, walking from the Vor-osh-il-OV-skee bus stop to our church building. The route goes right past a favorite dining establishment where I feel right at home – McDonald’s.

Left: Views north, northwest from apartment on Pyshkinskaya.