Saturday, October 13, 2012

Flee Russia - Free Bavaria

So what exactly happened with Russia?  I paid there heavy fine.  And I returned back to the Russian Blue Room.

In the Blue Room, the officials there finally spoke to me in English.  Earlier, they pretended to know no English, but now they spoke to me in English.  They always said I needed a translator, but this was not true.  They could have translated, but earlier, they had done everything to make my life as painful as possible.  Even the demonic lady had become a tad nicer and stopped barking at me and showed more human emotion.

But of course this was the case.  Like parasites on hot blood, they fed on me, and all of God's creatures are satisfied when they are fed.  But in some time, they'll be hungry again.

My transit visa was on government green paper.  It had a black and white photo of me, and it looked like it was typed on a typewriter.  It was a small pamphlet that did not attach to my passport.  It looked so old and so Soviet.  I had bought my freedom back.

I experienced two surprises at the airport.  First, the Rossiaya Airline representative that had saw the whole scene I made at the airport served me again.  She pretended that she never met me before, even though she was fully aware that I had caused an uprising of 13 police officers to drag me out of the airport.  She only said uttered one sentence to me (and pretended I didn't exist): "Aisle or Window?"

I said, "Aisle."

I thought, jeez, couldn't you have been more friendlier.  Yet, when I actually sat myself on the airplane, I was pleasantally surprised.  She gave me the best seat on the airplane.  How ironic I thought?  She watched my dignity stripped away last week, and now she was trying to compensate me.  I didn't know how to feel.  Should I laugh or be upset?  Was this some joke?  At the end of contemplating what happened, a small smile washed over my face.

The second surprise was that as I was boarding the airplane, I caught one of the guard's attention.  He looked at me with shock and his eyes said everything: "It's You!  The boy who caused all the trouble last week."  I nodded to acknowledge it was, indeed me, the same person.  And he realized, I was finally free of Russia.  Now, a large grin washed over his face.  I nodded again to thank him and tell him - yes, I was leaving Russia.  Russia returned its freedom back to me.

I didn't know how to feel about how happy these people were now, the airport people, the airline worker, the guards, or the Blue Room Officials.  Were they happy that my rebellious American will had been broken in - like Pavlov's Dog?  Or was it that they were sincerely happy that I was finally granted my wish to leave Russia?  I don't know.  Anyone who lives in Russia will tell you that it is a country that seems to thrive on interweaving incompatible contradictions.

When I made it to Munich, I had to decide where to stay.  I could stay with my Bavarian little brother or some strangers, who invited me to their home.  When these strangers heard my story about my struggle to leave Russia, one of them asked me if there was anything they could do to help?

Because of their kindness, I knew I had to meet these people.  He was also a Russian and lived with his mother.  He didn't answer my phone calls or emails but told me to come.  So, I managed to make my way through the Munich subways and locate his apartment.  I range the doorbell and when they saw me the Russian mother and son said, "Paul?!"

I said, "Yes.  I've been trying to call, but no one's picked up."

The son said, "I was sleeping.  I'm sorry.  But this is absolutely amazing you found us and came.  Please come in."

His mother made me an amazing, rich and hearty soup.  She made two more courses, and they heard my Russian story.  Both of them said, "That's Russia.  Welcome to Russia."

But then, they told me their stories of Russia.  I wish I could say they were telling me a story, but really, it was more like a song, a song of suffering and survival.  These two were rebuilding their lives in Germany, and I know how hard it is to rebuild one's life in another country.  I, myself, had to do this twice.  This happened when I immigrated to New Zealand, and when I immigrated back to America.  So - I knew.

As they sang their song of suffering and survival, I felt so humbled that I made such a big deal about my own experience with the Russian government.  I don't want to get into it because the song was so intimate, but I can say that what they told me went outside of my scope of imagination.  There is an agony that can penetrate deep into a man's bones and crush his spirit, robbing him of life.  I heard this song and nearly wept, and they said, "But no matter, it's not something to talk about much."

Late into the evening, the mother, son, and I rode bikes into a nearby forest.  In it, there was a stone ping pong table.  The mother and son played ping pong and laughed and showed a spirit of life.  And somehow - the whole scene nearly made me weep.  How do people manage to find life in their own misery?  I asked them both, "What is the secret of living through such pain?"

They both answered me, "You need to live for love.  And you must live.  There is no other option."  I just didn't know how to respond.  I mean what could I say.  I just felt like a grain of sand amongst such giants.  So - I just stayed silent.

Finally - they asked me what I was doing in Siberia.  I talked a little about my story about searching for the Elixir of Life.  I explained I failed, but had a found another precious item: the Rose of Resurrection.  She asked to see it.  I went through my suitcase, rummaged through it, and pulled it out to shower her.

She looked at it and smelled.  "Yes," she said, "this is the Rose.  But I don't think you understand.  The Rose of Resurrection and the Essence of Immortality are fraternal twins of each other.  They don't look alike, but they do exactly the same thing.  You can make your Elixir."

I said, "Really?"

"Yes.  I know this.  We grew up at the Ural Mountains.  My family knows all about this stuff.  You can make your Elixir if you chose."

I researched it, and what she said was true.  A small smile and a sense of accomplishment came over me.  I thought my expedition was a failure, but really: I succeeded.

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