July 01, 2020

An Expat Goes Home

An Expat Goes Home

At dawn one day in late November, I was awakened by a call.  It was my niece, sobbing: “Uncle Vic… Papa died.” 

My elder brother Vladimir had died in the subway on the way to work. A Moscow policeman found his cell phone on him and dialed the first number listed in the contacts. An hour later, an email from the Research Institute, where my brother worked his entire professional life, confirmed his death.

Visiting one’s home country after a long absence (I left in 1993) might seem like a thrill, but be careful what you wish for. Changes can leave you with a sickening nostalgia for lost memories, while making places and events from one’s past, once so dear, seem like nothing but hallucinations.

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