SAMARA: Evgeny, 27, grew up in a small town outside of Samara and worked as an economist for two years, ”making good money.” But he gave up the job to open Long Live clothing store 14 months ago. The store gives more space – about 80 percent – to unknown Russian and Ukrainian designers compared to well-known brands.
”To do what you love is the most important thing,” Evgeny said about his decision to leave his office job. He said he wants to offer clothing that is ”unique, that doesn’t have serial production.” As for promoting Ukrainian designers alongside Russian, he said ”political games shouldn’t concern simple people.”
SAMARA: It was a pretty amazing site....the sun was covering the Frozen Volga with a bright light on a late morning... when in the distance, a darkish figure was moving quickly across the white mass. It was someone riding a bike across the frozen river. I ran back toward the stairs leading to the Volga to catch Alexander getting off his bike. He said he lives on the other side of the Volga and crosses 5 times a week to clean snow off roofs. Alexander said he was on his way to work. I asked if it were difficult to bike across the ice. He answered that it was easy as he has been doing it for so long.
SAMARA: Kostya has been working for one of the world’s largest oil producers for the past decade, but, despite the good benefits, he said he had been itching to do something on his own. A few years ago, he said he watched a video about opening a barbershop while drinking wine that really made him think…and act.
SAMARA: Dmitry and Sveta were walking along the frozen Volga River on Woman’s Day, far from the rest of the holiday goers that were enjoying the beautiful sunset. Dmitry, who works for a local power company, said he met Sveta at a New Year’s eve costume party in the Samara suburbs to ring in 2014. He was dressed as a martian and she was dressed as a robot…
SAMARA: This couple was returning home on Woman's Day from their walk across the frozen Volga with their 8 month-old dog. They said it only took about 15-20 minutes to make the cross, which others complete via a boat ride across the ice. They said their daughter has been living in Los Angeles for the last three years with her Russian husband, having opened a music retail store.
Ksenia and Danil, 14, were walking along the frozen Volga in Samara around sunset time on Woman's Day. Danil had given her five tulips, red and yellow, but Ksenia left them at a cafe fearing they would freeze if she took them on their Volga River walk. Both teenagers study English 6 times a week at an advanced high school and both have studied English abroad, Ksenia having spent 3 weeks in upstate New York. Danil would like to be a chemist while Ksenia said she would like to become an engineer. When I asked them what is lacking in Samara, they were quick to answer: ''We want a Starbucks in the middle of the city,'' said Danil. ''It is the best coffee in the world,'' chimed in Ksenia. Starbucks is in fact opening at the moment their first store in Samara, but it is located at the airport, a good 30 minutes from the center of town.
Elena and Mikhail, who will celebrate their 45th anniversary this year, were walking along the Volga riverside in Samara on a sunny Woman's Day. Elena said she was a professor at the local medical university, teaching latin, and wanted to converse in English. She said she has been working at the university for 40 years. Both her children studied at the university and now her granddaughter studies there. ''I recommended to my family to study there,'' she said. Her daughter is a nurse, her son works for a pharmaceutical company and her granddaughter is studying to become a pediatrician, she said. Elena said her and her husband continue to work despite reaching retirement age in order to stay active.
MOSCOW: Liza, 21, was walking down Old Arbat street in Moscow with a bouquet of flowers ahead of Woman's Day celebration. A Chelyabinsk native who studies law in Moscow, Liza said she was given the flowers by a fellow classmate and was surprised by his gift. I asked how she plans to celebrate the March 8 holiday. "I have no idea how, but with my friends for sure.''
MOSCOW: Aigul was waiting outside a Moscow metro, holding flowers given to her by a friend in celebration of Woman's Day. Half Russian and half Kazakh, Aigul said she was a former accountant at one of the Big Four and now works as a financial sales analyst for a food company. Aigul said she likes making food herself, particularly desserts and just started promoting her goods via social networks. ''It is my dream to have such a business....and I want a small, cute cafe. Now, I am just taking my first steps'' in this direction.
MOSCOW: Svetlana was walking down Arbat dressed in black and carrying a single red rose. She said she was a poet and had just finished a 3-hour walk with a friend, who had given her the rose ahead of the official celebration of Woman's Day. Svetlana said she now writes poems about Moscow and started to mention various poets she admired, none of whom I recognized. She then asked if she could recite for me a French poem. When I said I didn't know French, she said she would recite the Russian version of it. It may have been 8 or 10 lines long and it was about nature and waterfalls. I asked if she spends a lot of her time reading poetry. "Poetry isn't meant to be read, it is meant to be listened to," she said and then hurried off to meet someone.