The rumor has been spread, whether it's true or not, that if someone is able to live in Moscow, they can live anywhere. If this is true, I would like to think I have survived this trial and am now suited to survive any city in the world. Next stop ...?
While the rumor seems a little far-fetched. I do have reason to believe it's at least partly true. Moscow is definitely not a city I would want to raise children in -- too crazy, too big, and while there are tons of parks and open areas I think it would be hard to let them be independent. Also, like Seattle, the majority of the year, Moscow is covered in clouds. Modesty is not highly valued here, and I'm beginning to think it's cultural. Everything is expensive - this is probably another reason why the rumor could be true. If a person is able to make enough in Moscow to feel comfortable, then they will be able to do this anywhere in the world.
As I look back on the last 8 months, I realize I have gone through a lot and survived. Yet, not all the native English speakers who came to Moscow to teach English survived their 9-12 month stint. Some left early, citing cultural issues or a dislike for Moscow as their major reasons. Out of our school's native English speaker newbies, there are three of the original seven left. Only two of us have committed to another year here. Either we're crazy or masochistic or exceptionally tolerant and open-minded or a little bit of all the above.
As I prepare myself for a month at home, I'm also looking forward to what the next 12 months will bring. There will be many new experiences and insights into myself and my culture I'm sure. I have been told to prepare myself for reverse culture shock before I head home, and I'm sure my view of America will change. I look forward to new students and new native speakers who come to Russia fresh off the boat with no idea what to expect. I hope I am able to guide them like I was guided when I first arrived. And of course, I look forward to gaining further use of the Russian language.