Тhe reception at the consulate really sticks in my memory.
It was an honor and also a very comforting moment to be welcomed to this "home" away from home by the consul and staff. And I thought that the consul's remarks perfectly summed up our activities. She emphasized how a cultural exchange can foster meaningful experiences, and in a very plain way it summed up the nature and purpose of the trip!
As if to prove the point, after the reception you then sent us on our way with Alex, Dmitri, and Igor. I can't say enough good things about these guys and how well they hosted us that night--and for the rest of the week. We shattered our preconceptions about each other and were delighted by the great fun and friendship that we enjoyed.
And yet, this is kind of experience that we found at every turn! We were glad--even anxious--to share our music and knowledge. And clearly our Russian compatriots felt the same way. Beyond barriers of language and national, this was a meaningful exchange, and it has changed the way I think, feel, and speak about Rusisa and about the power of music and culture.