Croatian Expat Living in Russia - Interview with Iva

Published: 10 Apr at 10 AM
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Filed: Interviews,Russia
In my other life, before Moscow, I was a career woman. As life is not predictable, in a matter of few months, my husband got a job in Moscow, Russia and I decided to become a CEO of home, taking care of our two kids and a dog. Trying to understand and cope with what I was told and what really there is to know about Russians, I started a blog. And luckily, funny and clumsy things always happen to me, so tune in! Iva's expat blog is called FunnyNotesBlog (see listing here)

Here's the interview with Iva...

Where are you originally from?
I come from a small country Croatia and even smaller capital town Zagreb.

In which country and city are you living now?
Currently I live in Moscow, Russia.

How long have you lived in Russia and how long are you planning to stay?
I have already lived in Russia for nearly two years, and we are not sure will we stay for another year or five. Life is unpredictable.

Why did you move to Russia and what do you do?
I moved here to take care of two kids, dog and my husband.

Did you bring family with you?
Our whole family moved to Russia.

How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
At first it was pretty stressful, but the moment you find people you like to hang out with and you realise Russians are soo badly stereotyped in the West, you feel amazing and very welcome.

Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
I am always very easy in making new friends. My goal, when coming here was to find friends from expat and local communities. I couldn't fit in International women's clubs because there I feel small and non-important. At first you find friends mostly connected to kids. Now after a year and a half here I can say I managed to form my own club with women from all over the world, including Russians.

Moscow from Bolshoi theatre
Moscow from Bolshoi theatre
What are the best things to do in the area; anything to recommend to future expats?
Moscow is a huge city, with millions of things to do. The main issue is to learn to read in Russian, because online everything is in Russian. Some of the best places we went to - Huge parks with millions of attractions, Theatres (Bolshoi, Russian theatre for musicals), Carting places, climbing places, museums for kids (Experimentarium)....I could go on and on. But better read my blog to get more insights.

What do you enjoy most about living in Russia?
I love that if you are open there are possibilities to do anything you want for any price. There are amazingly expensive and amazingly cheap things to do. People are cold at first, but when they open up they would give you their kidney without any questions asked.

How does the cost of living in Russia compare to home?
It really depends where you go and what you want to do. You can find all price levels. Only thing I still did not find that has reasonable price is when you need to book a place for your kid's birthday. This is five times more expensive in Moscow then in Croatia.

Curling attepts
Curling attepts
What negatives, if any, are there to living in Russia?
As I think even any local would tell you, the biggest problem is traffic. Or as they say in Russian 'probka'. For two kilometers it can take you one hour in the car. But if you are ok with Metro, everything is near.

If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving to Russia, what would it be?
Try to be open and put aside all stereotypes you heard about Russians. Also, learn at least a few sentences in Russian even before you come. When you try to speak Russian from first time you talk to any Russian they are much more open to help you.

What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
Learning that every time I make a joke, I need to say that I am joking. Otherwise people think you are crazy.

When you finally return home, how do you think you'll cope with repatriation?
I am a positive person, so I think it will be as if we have never left.

Izmailovsky market. Best place for bargaining
Izmailovsky market. Best place for bargaining
What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?
  1. Learn basic reading and talking In Russian.
  2. Use Metro, get rid of the car
  3. Be as open as possible to Russians, they will then become your friends very fast.
  4. Don't whistle on the street
  5. Don't expect people to smile at you in the shops. While they work, whatever job, they are always serious.
Tell us a bit about your own expat blog.
It is actually a blog about all the confusing things that happen to me in Russia. Some because it is just a different culture, some because it is me. The point is to have a relaxing, funny read with some interesting information.

How can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?
best to contact me through my e-mail. [email protected]

About the author

Expat Blog ListingIva is a Croatian expat living in Russia. Blog description: Iva Pracevic, former career woman, moved to Moscow Russia with her husband and two kids. Trying to understand and cope with what she was told and what really there is to know about Russians, she started a blog. Every week there is some exciting and funny story about her mishaps.
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