”We believed we had a good idea,” Yana said from her coffee kiosk near a major metro station that opened at the end of October. ”The most difficult thing was to take the plunge and leave our comfortable jobs. Our business has now become our life. It occupies us 24 our a day, even when we sleep.”
ROSTOV: This 22 year-old from Rostov said he has played about 100 board games since about age 16. He said the fascination all started six years ago when he and his girlfriend were bored and the two decided to play Munchkin. He became a regular at a board gaming store and was offered a job. He said he sometimes plays board games with customers inside the store when they invite. ''Talisman is my favorite and I am always very happy to play it,'' he said.
Khabarovsk: Zoya, 23, was with her former dorm roommate at a new, ‘hipster-styled’ bar in Khabarovsk on a recent evening. Zoya grew up in Komsomolskaya, but like many young people from that town, moved to Khabarovsk to study. She worked for the tax inspection upon receiving her bachelor’s degree. Having heard so many terrible stories about the tax agency during my years in banking, I asked her about that job.
It's a story I hear regularly...Karina came to Moscow from one of the former Soviet republics to earn money to help her grandson. She wants him to study in Europe, so she labors here - cooking and cleaning - to set aside money for his education. The Russian economic recession not only means that the rubles she earns buy less foreign currency needed for her grandson's study, but it means she earns fewer rubles as she has fewer clients these days. She is hoping to stick it out another year or two at the most and return home to see her family for first time in a decade.
Like Sasha (yday portrait) Anna also said the most memorable event last year was a real-life lesson. Anna, who comes from a well-to-do family near the Ukraine border, said she decided to donate lots of her clothing and toys to Donetsk refugees. However, she gave away her first childhood toys that had family meaning, so Anna had to go to the refugee camp to find them. Anna said visting the camp shocked her as she "had never seen people in such poverty before."
Yulia, a soil science student from the Urals, said one of her most memorable events of 2014 was spontaneously deciding to celebrate Halloween in the dorm with about 10 university friends. While they found constumes, they didn't find pumpkins, so they bought oranges as an alternative. I asked if the dorm guards gave them a hard time: ‘’We weren’t too loud, so the dorm guards didn’t mind.
Sasha, an economics student, said one of her most memorable events last year was a tough, real-life lesson in personal finance. Like many others, her family's dollar mortgage became a burden when the ruble tumbled. Thus, Sasha said she spent a lot of time running back and forth to banks to get the mortgage converted to rubles. Sasha, who wants to develop and market new consumer products, said people should not take a mortgage in foreign currencies.
Another photo of Nikolai, the retired machinery worker who has taken up ice-skating for firs time in decades to stay in shape. Nikolai came to the pond by bicycle.
Ruslan, 22, a geology graduate student, said his most memorable event last year was hitch-hiking around Armenia for two weeks with his girlfriend. ‘’Armenians are very hospitable - they were not only willing to pick us up along the road, they would invite us for coffee, offer food or even to stay at their places.'’ Ruslan said he met his girlfriend through a rockabilly dance school, where they both take lessons.
Katya was sitting outside a mall on a sunny day before the New Year dressed in all black except for a big, white tank top that was over her turtleneck. As she smoked her cigarette, Katya told me that she had just done some holiday shopping (those are her white bags) and was waiting for her sister. A future designer, Katya said one of the most memorable events of 2014 was an impromtu summer picnick with her friend at 2am in a Moscow park with beer and sushi. She said their spot was an island of happiness amid the homeless, police and trash in the dark vicinity.