Miguel Francis (on his potty)
I remember 1989 as a tough year. I was 3 years old back then, my Mom tells me it was a year of rough turbulence for us. Financially most of Russia was struggling. My Mother remembers standing at a long line near the Metro with me, waiting for our loaf of bread. I clearly remember my great Grandmother making money by recycling glass bottles. I helped her scout them sometimes.
1989 was one of those transition years between the Soviet Union and the Russia that we see today. My uncle went to Switzerland and made a connection through the Red Cross that was able to ship food boxes to Moscow. Salami, cheese, bread and various spreads were included. These boxes helped me and family through the tough times, and boy were they delicious.
I remember when they started selling coconuts in elite supermarkets, I bought one and brought it over to my kindergarten. Everybody was thrilled, including my teacher. I was treated like a celebrity the whole day, and of course the Soviet thinking “you must share” kicked in and I had to let the whole of my kindergarten group demolish my the coconut.
The lifestyle in Russia was generally a marketplace way of living. Chickens, fish, veggies would be laid out on long tables practically anywhere in the street and sold to hungry people. Some vendors even managed to get Western porn magazines into Moscow, and sold them the same way.
I spent most of my days playing my small guitar, sometimes I played together with my Dad, who had a proper, big guitar. That was until he went back to his home in Santiago, Chile, and bought two computers which helped us buy two apartments later that year in Moscow. It was a magical time of opportunity.