My name is Madina, and filling out “about myself” sections has always puzzled me. I usually think to myself: “Who would read that at all?” And I squeeze everything in three sentences. This text has had five revisions, each time becoming a little longer.
Born and raised in Russia, I am a mix of bloods and origins, from Greek, Azeri, Turkish and Georgian all the way to Tatar. It was probably my mixed background that is responsible for the feeling of discomfort from living in just one place for my whole life. I couldn’t imagine that. I’ve always had a wish to experience living in another country, to challenge my ability to speak another language, to adapt culturally. So some years ago I moved to a different part of the world, to the Netherlands. Thanks to the wonderful people that surrounded me, my integration went smoother than I could have expected.
I did my master’s here to become a molecular biologist and to do a PhD in neuroscience. For many reasons, I have a love-hate relationship with science, yet I spent 11 years of my life (including the university in Russia) studying it. Recently, I have finished my PhD, and made a decision to give in to my long-standing dream: exploring my potential in a different field – as scary and uncertain as it feels to me – and starting the projects that kept my mind busy for a long time. (Now, I have to say I am not in favor of talking about my plans before having reached any results, therefore I keep the “projects” part so vague for the time being. Once there is something substantial to talk about, I won’t be able to keep it to myself anymore, I promise.)
But that all is still not who I am. Determining who I am as a person is probably one of the most controversial questions for me. Now I am a lover and a mother, this is what I feel myself most at the moment. I am also a dancer and a keen life explorer.
I admire nature. By “nature” I mean all the laws of physics, the living creatures obeying these laws, the processes going on in living or dead bodies on all the levels and generally life itself.
But most of all, I love people. Everything about them: their vulnerable minds, their reasoning to live or die, their fears and dreams at nights and aspiration at daylight, their creations and discoveries, their mistakes, victories, and the stories behind all that. I believe that people – myself included – are ugly and beautiful at the same time. And their true beauty is in this contradiction and in the ability to evolve, get one step higher – or lower – than their yesterday self.
All the above sounds quite ethereal, but that’s also not who I am. I strive to savor the “now” too, the physical part of it, and our baby is the best teacher in that. She shows me that after you cry, you can immediately start laughing as if there are no tears on your cheeks. That time flies faster than I used to think so every day nap close to her warm little body is to be appreciated because tomorrow this body will be a bit less little and a bit more independent. That proper prioritizing is the key to happiness; so if she wants to cover us both in yoghurt and we all laugh about it, cleaning up the mess is an irrelevantly minor issue. Living and observing such moments together with my husband, family and friends is what I care for most.
At the moment, our little family lives in the middle of Holland, where we moved a year ago. My husband and I are raising our girl, decorating our house and working together on interior objects, graphic design and more.
In this space, I am sharing my experience of relationship and motherhood, my perception of family, style, science and emigration (quite a crazy mix, I know). I am writing about Holland through the eyes of a (former) foreigner, about its culture and society, about peculiarities of this country. And the most precious topic – I’m talking about our “now”: our family’s everyday life, travels, struggles and victories.