Getting My Nails Done Helped Me Feel at Home in a New Country
When I moved to Moscow, Russia with my new husband three and a half years ago, I truly had no idea what to expect. I had never set foot on Russian soil before and was about to embark on a period of deep adjustment — to my new life as a wife, a home away from friends and family, and a world that spoke a completely foreign language.
It was about as hard as you would imagine. The culture shock I experienced was intense as I went about setting up shop in a new land. From navigating the metro system to the grocery store to new relationships with a ton of Google translate along the way, I slowly (very slowly) began to find my own here.
One of the biggest ways I found fun and solace in the journey actually was through the smallest of places — my fingernails. Moscow knows beauty and is home to some of the greatest nail artists I have ever seen. People with a passion for nail art aren’t few and far between here either: I’ve spotted dazzling tips on every from the pharmacist to lawyers to the lady working at airport passport control.
Experimenting at nail salons by showing the artist photos of saved designs I coveted was a great way to find a love for this new, kind of extremely overwhelming place. Expressing myself creatively and then feeling joy every time I looked down turned into an internal shift that helped me retain a sense of self, and really something light when everything else around me felt so heavy a lot of the time.
For people who haven’t made the move to Moscow, these businesses have robust Instagram pages filled with inspiration. Below, six of the nail salons that have helped make my new city feel more like home.