Column from Moscow: Thankfulness gives a smile on the face


Christian Life

Nina Koryakina, CNE.news

War and politics are enough to make us worry the whole year long. But thankfulness for what God gives makes us happy, despite all the difficulties. Photo AFP, Alexander Nemenov

I’ve had a creative block. I think most of you know what it feels like. Not that I lacked ideas or creativity – all the stress and anxiety blocked and muted me, and I could not express myself. Too many voices in my head, each singing their own tune and all out of harmony. Needless to say, it only amplified the stress.

Then the CNE team came up with a great idea: can you write about something we are thankful for? Once the question was asked, the words were rushing out of me; it was as if a dam had burst. As my focus shifted, writing became oh-so-easy.

Even in Moscow, you can have a happy landing. Photo EPA, Maxim Shipenkov

Despite all the chaos and the grim headlines of 2022, I have tons of things I am thankful for. The hardest thing is not where to start but how to stop once I begin. If I get carried away a bit, just kick me (gently!), and I’ll give the floor to you.


I know it’s best to start with my family, but I’d rather start with my friends this year. After my divorce a few years back, I had a hard time pulling myself together, re-defining myself, and starting anew. And I am very blessed to have a strong network of friends who have been with me all along, have not been judgmental, and supported me while respecting my boundaries and privacy.

I was brought up with a lot of criticism and negativity and no such thing as boundaries. It has taken me years to get to the place where I am right now, and I really enjoy the healthy, mature, and positive relationships I have with my friends. It means a lot to me, and I am grateful for each one of them.

Of course, I am grateful beyond words for my family. I am very excited to see my kids turning into adults, becoming independent, making their own choices, and doing things on their own. It’s a bumpy road; growing up always is. Still, they seem to do better than I did at their age – you may say it’s their mother speaking, but, to be honest, this young generation seems to be more aware of things like nutrition, mental well-being, ways to deal with stress, healthy vs toxic relationships, and so on.

I see it in my students as well. Many things that I learned not before my late 20s or my 30s, are for them a natural part of their vocabulary and mentality at a much younger age. So I feel like these kids have a head start over my generation, and I am happy to see it. I hope it helps them to make better choices and be kinder to themselves and others.


Also, 2022 proved to be a turning point for my second marriage. Getting married after a rather painful divorce was already a leap of faith. But on top of that, ours is an international and interracial marriage. It required all the faith and optimism we both had, at very 40-plus, to board on this journey.

Happy couple around the Kremlin (no relation with this article). Photo AFP, Alexander Nemenov

Imagine all the regular ups and downs any adult couple would have. On top of that, me having three kids (imagine five people getting adjusted to each other using three different languages!), and all the crazy paperwork we had to do. To say it was not easy would be an understatement, especially during the first year, just running against so many odds; it was insane at times.

And I am deeply thankful to God and my husband for all the strength, love, and care I have received. I am blessed to be on this journey, and I am blessed that my captain is a strong man with a great sense of humour and tons of love he pours on me every day. I think this is when you kick me (gently, under the table) for being so overly poetic and making a face. Alright, alright, I get it.


So much for the creative block – I typed one page of text just like that, and trust me, I am not done yet. There are tons of other things I am grateful for.

Nina Koryakina (1973) lives and works in Moscow. She is at least the fourth generation of Muscovites on the maternal side and even worse on the paternal.

Nina - small.jpeg
Nina Koryakina

She lives her life in Russian, English, and Spanish. She makes a living of teaching English as second language (ESL) at a university, while her passion is translation and conference interpreting – and yes, she makes a living of that, too.

Nina has been raised by her three kids; together they have a Devonrex cat.

Among these, I am grateful for whoever came up with the idea to reflect on the good things I have in my life and give thanks. I feel so much better – I feel the smile on my face, I think the anxiety is vanishing, and I feel empowered to go on.

Thankfulness is the best remedy. With all the stress we have in our lives, we should have Thanksgiving every week – what do you say to that?



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