On boarding the plane to Perm I was filled with both excitement and apprehension of the week ahead. My preconceptions of Russia were mostly from headlines in our own media, and faded memories of history lessons. I had no idea what to expect from a city that, despite being (just about) in the same continent, seemed a world away from Oxford.
It was fitting then, that our departure to Perm coincided with the Russian ‘Day of Knowledge’, the first day in September when all school students begin a new year of studies.
For a traveller, not understanding the local language is like seeing the world with restricted vision. Only when words and conversations around you are translated, do your surroundings also visually make sense. With the help of some kind, inspiring and brilliant English-speaking locals on our trip, I could begin to understand this place and culture. I was lucky to hear about hundreds of years of history and traditions in Perm, as well as the future hopes and dreams of it’s people, from the stories that they told.
Here is a small collection of moments and memories that I was able to bring back with me.
Watching people who are here, but not here…