Russia and Beyond
By Baron Ballad

Because I was born 15 000km away in Lismore the snow makes me think of Christmas movies. I still have not broken a bone and still have all my teeth even though I have fallen over, violently, awkwardly, painfully and with a great thud dozens of times. Slapstick comedy on a daily basis.

So no one in Russia speaks English and the alphabet is undecipherable. Backwards K’s and a 4 in between a pie sign and no Rossetta stone. Like being trapped inside late night SBS with no subtitles and the volume turned all the way up. But it’s not so different after all. Because there are McDonald’s everywhere. Variations on the same theme. The same menu, the same kids behind the counter and slightly different uniforms.

Too drunk, too hung over to do anything… High order functions, like high school math go first, followed by fine motor skills, general motor skills and bowel control. Where are you from again? Sorry what’s your name? And the same conversation 100 times in the hostel dorm. But it’s great fun and we’re mates who only just met yesterday but sure I’ll buy you a beer.

Museums again and again, wandering in silence between exhibitions. In my mind they all become the Hermitage and I’ve been thinking about doing washing while staring at Monet, or Picasso, or the Red Flag that flew over the Riechstag at the end of WWII.

I ordered a salad and it was onions, pickles, mustard and sausage. You can’t drink the water and I’m so thirsty, hungry, drifting through the streets, lost in the suburbs, desperate to find the Metro home. Which way is North? It’s getting dark and it’s starting to snow. But it will be fine – it always is.

Too hectic. Sometimes bored. Met a girl. Got stood up. Drank the water. Felt sick. Checked my Facebook. No messages. Dirty clothes. Need to do washing. Dancing in a nightclub. Drunk at the pub. Running late. Too early. Currency conversations running through my head…But in Sydney I got up at 7am everyday and moved paper around at the paper factory for 8 hours. And in Sydney I knew where I would be, what I was going to do, nothing left to chance… But that’s no matter, for tomorrow is a brand new day, a new country, new language, and everything is behind me. The future in my hands until fate or boredom intervene. Born again at every border crossing.