- Dina, half Russian, half Syrian moved back recently to her birth town St.Petersburg. Shereen her best friend is currently living in a very troubled region in Aleppo city. After losing contact with each other due to war, Dina started writing her diaries as form of letters to Shereen to read later. Filled with anxiety for her friend’s safety, her inner worries and complexes, here are some photos, audio with sounds and quotes recorded during a trip we made to the Russian village Grishno.
- "I met this amazing yogi in Grishino. For some reason, I had this notion as if this is me 20 years from now. Meditation is so easy when everyone around you know how important it is. She said it’s the only thing she looks forward to everyday. Are you meditating? Hope so.
Remember when all this Buddhism fascination started? Life always kept pushing me towards what I call now a Spiritual Practice. I just wanted to shush the noise in my head, and now I have so many questions that need to be answered. I feel full of something, and this something needs to come out. After every yoga practice, I just know. I can’t even write it down, what it is. I just know."
- "Too many stuff around me, too many passage ways. People coming in and going out of my life, but for some reason, they leave a bigger space than when they came in. I wonder if they fill any place at all! Because you see, it’s already filled with you, and I don’t know if I’m ready to give up any space for anybody yet. Although I keep wanting to find love, a real one, just like ours, I feel like I miss it just around the corner, because I don’t think I need it. I don’t think I need anybody. I became way too much familiar, equipped with my loneliness. I even started to notice when my energy’s been drenched by people and how badly I want to go back to my save place and recharge. Just being with myself, rephrasing again and again my abusive thoughts. Feeling more and more irrelevant every single day. How I miss you being around, kicking some sense into me when I need it. I know everything you say is the truth; I know everything you say would heal. The light in Grishino heals too. When the sun comes up, something inside me turns on. But again, when the day comes to an end, I just want to bundle up in my private space, alone with what’s inside of my head, waiting for you."
- "I keep going back and forth between these thoughts. Am I liked for me, or just because I’m exotic? A girl from an exotic place? Are people going to get tired of me after they’ve asked all of their questions and I’m not interesting anymore? I feel like there’s a permanent mask on my face. A stranger anywhere, that has to hide her true face, true unknown-even to me identity. I wonder if walking through a path, where the sun light can freely kiss my hair and my bare skin, I’ll step a foot forward and find a clue. And I won’t have to worry anymore about where I belong. Such a relaxing dream! Although I know that with you I’ll leave a foot trace and I will never get lost again."
- "I said I knew few belly dancing moves, and here I was dancing my heart out. “You should always remember that you have that blood running in you” I was told after the heart whelming compliments. I was never proud of this half. It only confused and infuriated me. Much too complex for my understanding. But why? It’s just another part of me. It makes what I conceive of me now. “I’ll practice more the bending moves” I thought to myself. I can tell now, that by accepting me for the way I am, people around me would accept me too. Something you always did for me, Shereen."
- "I don’t think I deserve the name Rin that much anymore. I’m a bit afraid of the cold. Here when it’s cold, the inside of your nose, your tongue starts to freeze. I’m thankful it’s not that cold at this time in Grishino, but nonetheless I think you’d love it. Walking through an open white field, the woods lining across the horizon, the crush sound of snow under the soles of your boots. The icicles dangling from the roofs of scattered houses, scattered without any rhythm or purpose. Just standing there. You could tell which one is the welcoming and which one prefers you staying away from it. Like me.I’m learning how to perfectly fall backwards on the snow. Knees straight, weight evenly spread. I’m not doing a good job! I think I got a mile concussion trying that, I still can’t even out my weight. Covered from head to toe in snow. Vast sky above. I wonder if I stretch out my hand real hard, will I be able to reach you? I realize I’m doing all this without you, that I making our little wishes come true without you. I didn’t make a snow angle though; I want the person lifting me up from the ground to be you. This one, I’ll keep it till we meet."
- "Guess what! I can freely smile now, and not worry about what other people would think. I’ll smile and make the others looking at me smile too. Weird how it turned out this way! Maybe unconsciously, I always wanted to smile. I can’t show it to anyone but you though. I don’t want to flaunt my new smile at the people who are losing it gradually every day. Hope you didn’t lose it completely yet. Please hold on to it. Remember me every time it’s hard to smile, every time it’s hard to breathe. At night, I just close my eyes imagining your smile. It doesn’t make it easier, but I pretend it does."
- "It’s also weird that life seems to push me towards different cultures. I met so many diverse people from various religions and spiritual practices. I’m amazed at the existence of some of them. Strange people, strange in good way. More strange than me!!! And I’m thinking, if I wasn’t a TCK kid, would I be so accepting? But then talking to them is like opening new dimensions in me. I get to know myself more when I’m around them. I feel harmony. But then, you’re a warm accepting person, so maybe it’s a matter of soul? That means our souls are identical in so many ways. You’d like every single one of them, Shesh!"
- "To not have a home to come back to. I don’t find it a big deal. I’ve never had one. It makes me feel unattached to anything. Which I believe is good. But what about all those people that have homes. That created memories, history in them, and now, they’re forced to leave them. What’s happening has nothing to do with them; it has nothing to do with you. But you’re forced to drift with the tumbling current. And stop living. I keep seeing this nightmare, where I’m in a cap, searching for you, driving through ruins, and what used to be our favorite places. My home is with you. This nightmare has to end eventually… "