So, as many of you have seen, I have taken a small break from blogging due to some pressing issues. I had a lot of thinking to do and a lot of hard decisions to make. Long story short, I decided to call off my engagement. While I love my ex-fiancé very much, I couldn't see us reconciling our lives in a way that would work for both of us. It had nothing to do with any cultural or racial differences, but rather life just got in the way. I'm at peace with this decision because I know it's the right one.
Now, on to the point of this blog. I have never traveled extensively in Eastern Europe, but when a friend of mine told me she was going to Russia for a week, I was excited to hear about her experiences. We went out to lunch and I knew something was wrong because she looked positively frazzled. The things she told me made my blood run cold. She said that when she first arrived she noticed that some people were staring at her, intensely. It wasn't a friendly or a curious stare, but rather one of hatred or disgust. Then, when she arrived at the hotel, the workers there acted as if they didn't believe that she was really supposed to be there. They insisted on calling the manager to verify the booking and to make sure the credit card she was using was valid!
The next day, she was at a café and she heard Russians behind her, saying that she was probably a drug addict or prostitute and that they hated all of the "African trash" in the country. She told me that she had never felt so fearful. I was surprised at this comment because she has traveled more than I have, including to some war-torn and extremely poor nations. Needless to say, she won't be going back to Russia. After hearing about her experiences, I can't say that it will be on my itinerary anytime soon as well.
*Edited to include part of a comment I made on this post. Everyone's experiences are different when traveling, like with everything else. The things my friend told me about her personal experiences made me sick. She has since sent me several articles describing the intense racism towards black people in Russia and it is disgusting and terrifying. My decision to not visit Russia is not based on fear, but money. I refuse to spend my money there and support the country in any way.