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The rain is coming down so hard now that it is actually painful. But I continue on, wiping furiously at my eyes and nose. I turn onto my street, onto my busy pereulok; I stare at the beautiful architecture of my parents’ apartment building. I look at the people safe and dry inside the little cafe at the bottom of the building. I walk closer to study a young woman who is standing by herself and facing the window, her face is wearing a strange expression, almost apathetic but in disbelief. Her hair is also wet; curly which is unusual for Russians. She hugs herself and squints her eyes, trying to make sense of the world. I analyze the young woman harder, until I realize I am staring at my own wet reflection.

I look up at the sky, and am greeted by angry lightning. Shivering I continue on, I walk into the building, take the elevator to the third floor and ring the doorbell. My hair is dripping wet, creating a large puddle around me. I cross my arms across my chest, trying to provide myself with some body heat. The redwood front door opens up, and there stands my mother. The rain has stopped, and I don’t continue on. I force myself to stop.

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Rachel! Stop!

My mother looks at me, taking in my saturated skirt, shivering red hands, and finally my face. A look of understanding crosses her face. I am confused about my yearning to return to Moscow. But as my mother embraces me warmly, and I cuddle into her welcoming arms, I feel at home. Home doesn’t have to be liberal, democratic, modern, and wealthy.  All it has to be is…Home. And that is why I want to come back.

This is home, after all.

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