Expat Voices: Heidi Lepper Barrett on living in Moscow

Expat Voices: Heidi Lepper Barrett on living in Moscow

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Heidi wonders why people on the street are not very friendly but admits that learning the language can improve life in Moscow considerably.

Name: Heidi Lepper Barrett, Ph.D.
Nationality: USA
City of residence: Moscow
Date of birth: April 1970
Occupation: Professor
Reason for moving to Moscow: Husband’s work. Moscow is our first international assignment.
Lived in Moscow for: 6 weeks

What was your first impression of Moscow?
BIG! And green, so many trees!

What do you think of the food?
Good. Can get anything and everything in diverse restaurants. Grocery shopping is a wee bit of a challenge. Largely due to language barrier but also because certain things are simply different. You learn to adjust.

What do you think of the shopping in Moscow?
Ismailova: an outdoor market place known for its touristy kitschExpensive but diverse and nice. Very cosmopolitan.

What do you appreciate about living in Moscow?

The differences from the States. The sheer amount of things to do. That people here walk a lot!!!

What do you find most frustrating about living in Moscow?
The traffic. It gets in the way of doing all the things we want to do.

What puzzles you about Moscow and what do you miss since you’ve moved here?
The lack of friendliness of people on the street baffles me, so I miss being able to be openly friendly. The language barrier of course is huge as well but I just need to buckle down and learn the language.

How does the quality of life in Moscow compare to the quality of life in other countries that you’ve lived in?

Only lived in the States but ten cities in California, Iowa, Wisconsin. Quality of life is lower in general for the populace here. Environmental and safety issues are far below those in the States, but you can get the health care if you pay for it. We are as a family no less happy living here than we have been anywhere else.

If you could change anything about Moscow, what would it be?

The traffic!

What advice would you give to a newcomer?
Be positive and hopeful. You can be happy anywhere, it is ultimately a choice.

Please visit my blog and read old and new archives, I have written something every day: www.musingsfrommoscow.com. Life is not easy here but it is all relative and you learn to make adjustments.

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