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Re: motivations

My Russian Jewish grandfather immigrated from Russia prior to the Bolshevik
Revolution.  I grew up hearing his memories of his childhood in Russia, but
never thought that I would ever visit the country.  As life would have it, I
ended up taking a job in Tianjin, China (80 miles SE of Beijing) and my
circumstances allowed me to take the Trans-Siberian Express Train from China
to Moscow on three separate occasions in 1991.  My thoughts upon seeing the
mere architecture of the Golden Ring (orthodox church buildings around
Moscow), the artifacts inside the Kremlin, the structure of the Hermitage in
St. Petersburg and the beautiful metro stations leave me unable to adequately
put into words the connection of my anscestry with who I am now.   One of the
most startling art/history exhibits I encountered was the Checkpoint Charlie
travelling exhibit (from the American checkpoint in Berlin at the Berlin Wall)
in Moscow.  When I had been in Berlin 11 months before, the Checkpoint Charlie
museum was closed and I was unable to return on another day.  I never imagined
I would see a symbol of freedom in a communist country.  (This was on my first
visit in February 1991 before the fall of communism in the former Soviet

I am still stunned by the unassuming beauty that much of Russia has.  My last
visit was in 1994 and I am longing to return.


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