We have officially been back in the US of A for 1 year. Can you believe it? That was a very fast and quick year. I know every time I write about days, weeks, and years I say that. But this has truly been a fast year.

I’m going to be very transparent with you. This might not come as a surprise to many of you because you ask me how I’m doing periodically.

Over the past year, I’ve noticed a few things:

  1. We eat a lot of food in very large portions
  2. Public transportation is a great thing if it works
  3. Propoganda exists in nearly all countries
  4. It’s ridiculously expensive to fly domestically
  5. There are much fewer days off and we love to work
  6. Nostalgia can be a pain my butt!

These are just a few thoughts that I can think of at the moment. Of course America has great food at a low price/high quantity, Dallas needs to really work on a better public transit system, and we all know about propaganda here, there, and everywhere. Don’t get me started on the price of domestic flights.

I know some people will read into this way too much (and by way too much, I mean way too much), but I’m not a communist and we are NOT moving back to the other side of the pond.

When I first lived in Moscow in 2007 for 3-4 months, I couldn’t wait to leave and get out of that city. A couple of years after that, she was calling my name. I finally went back, I had a great two years, and then I left her again. Now, I can’t stop thinking about her. It’s almost as if I have a really bad, unhealthy relationship with her. And that’s the problem. I can’t stop thinking about Moscow.

I’m being a tad facetious or playful here, but there is some seriousness to this.

I knew that I would have nostalgia for a couple of months. I think it’s normal. It’s like when I was younger, and  I would return from youth camp or some other vacation. I’d have this feeling that was higher than cloud 9 a bad day didn’t exist. Even if it did, it wouldn’t bring me down. Eventually the feeling would go away, and it was back to normal. You know what I’m talking about. We all have this feeling in our lives.

What I didn’t expect this time around was that I would still be thinking about my work, friends, parks, Metro, trips, winter, fall, laughter, and so on 365 days later. Looking back, I wish I actually took my Russian more seriously and went to more museums. Even still, why do I (or we) have nostalgia and why is it difficult to get rid of at times? Or do we ever get rid of it? Is it a good or bad thing? Or it’s neither and it’s just there?

I’m clearly not a psychologist nor have I studied it. I have my thoughts and experience. I believe a reason we have nostalgic experiences is because we are coping with important life transitions whether it be job transition, city change, bored with life, going through a hard time (big or small) and want to feel at ease, evaluating our lives, or simply longing for those better times when you were happy (what we think was a better time anyways). I saw somewhere that people in their late 2os/early 30s and people over 60 experience the most nostalgia.

What I do know is that it’s important not to block it and just experience it. I think that in order to “control” nostalgic experiences we need to fill our life with excitement and not get stuck into a daily routine of this thing we called life. Nostalgia comes when we feel negative or are in a funky mood. Experiencing it makes us happier and warmer (literally).

I am hoping my memories of Moscow (or anything in my past) never fades away. Keeping these memories alive and in a mental bank will help inform the future, motivate me in low times, and keep traditions alive. Plus, think of all the stories we’ll be able to tell when we are old and sipping lemonade on our front porch!

Have you ever experienced some sort of extreme or long nostalgia? How did you handle it?