The Russian adverb тяжело (pronounced tee-dje-lo) means heavy or difficult. It is used to describe that which is hard to bear or wrought with obstacles. There is another word in Russian for difficult which is трудно (pronounced trood-na). Russians often describe life as тяжело (heavy) and not трудно (difficult). When I first heard this statement, I didn’t make the connection. I understood тяжело to mean heavy as in physically heavy, not as difficult. It struck me that Russians use a synonym for heavy as a way to describe life. When I think of it in the literal, physical sense of the word it makes sense to me on another level. There is a certain weight to life in Russia. Life feels somehow more physically heavy. The trollybus that rolls down my street is like a tank on wheels that rattles the foundation of the apartment building where I live and creates a mini earthquake every 10 minutes. Heavy carpets hang as decoration on the walls of many Russian homes. The old Soviet apartment buildings are cement and brick behemouths that could probably withstand an F5 tornado. Everything here feels solid and immovable, rooted into the earth- earth that is ironically lacking in rootedness as many Russian cities are built over ever shifting swampland.