Expat Voices: Evy Hua on living in Moscow
Moscow reminds Austrian-Chinese Evy Hua of her dual heritages; European-minded in many ways yet so Chinese in terms of vast distances, traffic and to a lesser extent, the Russians’ mentality.Name: Evy Hua
Date of birth: 8 February 1983
Civil status: in a relationship
Occupation: Business Consultant
Reason for moving to Moscow: Personal and professional
Lived in Moscow since: 2009
What was your first impression of Moscow?
Wide streets and crowded. There are many interesting people to be seen everywhere and there’s a lot of diversity.
What do you think of the food?
I love the food and variety; a lot of oriental cuisine serving sushi among others and many cafes where you can eat European cuisine. Among typical Russian food, I love pelmeni, blini and of course the typical shashlik (barbecue) on dacha (country house).
What do you think of the shopping in Moscow?
The variety is great, but it’s not really that cheap. In terms of grocery shopping, there are many types of cheap supermarkets, but the fresh fruit is not that great. Asbuka vkusa is a very good chain, but it’s slightly pricy. The food looks fresher than in other places and their deli is great.
If you want to shop for clothes you had better do it in other countries. I do my shopping when I’m in the US or in Austria. It’s cheaper because import tariffs are quite high.
What do you appreciate about living in Moscow?
Slavic friendliness and being in a rising metropolis and economy. It’s never boring here. There is always something going on, always something to see…
What do you find most frustrating about living in Moscow?
Process of getting a visa and registration (technically this is something about Russia in general), traffic jams and crowds in the metro.
What puzzles you about Moscow and what do you miss since you’ve moved here?
Nothing really in particular.
How does the quality of life in Moscow compare to the quality of life in other countries that you’ve lived in?
I lived about half a year in Prague (Czech Republic).Compared to that, Moscow is of course bigger, louder and also more exciting. It’s easier to go out though in Prague because everything is more compact.
I have never lived in China but visited my family in Beijing and this is sort of comparable: the wide distances, crowds and to some extent, the people’s mentality. Of course, Moscow is more European in many ways.
I have always referred to Moscow as a mixture between my two heritages: Slavic (Czech Republic) and Asian (Chinese). Compared to life in Austria/Vienna there are some differences. The air in Vienna is fresh; we have natural spring water in our faucets, less traffic and less people, but Moscow is definitely more exciting and the place to be right now, especially if you are young.
If you could change anything about Moscow, what would it be?
More non-smoker friendliness, air-conditioned metro, less bureaucracy and barriers for expats in terms of registration, visa applications etc.
What advice would you give to a newcomer?
Learn a few phrases in Russian (that helps in case nobody speaks it around you, or to break the ice).
It is also important to find local friends. This will help you get help if necessary and be involved with the Russian culture. You never get to taste the real Russia if you hide in expat communities; of course they can help and it’s nice to stay in touch with your own culture, but it should not be only that.
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