An object from my childhood that I couldn't possibly imagine my life without is a stereo that still sits atop a shelf in my grandparents' living room. Since I was three months old, I spent most of my time in my second home, at my grandparents' house, where they practically raised me because both of my parents worked. Without this kind of upbringing, I don't believe that I would be able to connect with my culture and ancestry in the way that I do today.
When I was younger I sat on the same shelf the stereo sat on, and I could feel the music's vibration coursing through me. It was an ethereal experience as a child because it wasn't very often that I connected with music in the same way that I did then. From listening to the cassette tapes, I got a sense of the way music was listened to by older generations and felt a kinship with the people that used the stereo before me. I understood the meaning behind music and that it is not merely a melody to hum along to, but a story that is being passed down through generations. I felt nostalgia for a time I never lived through, and got a sense of my ancestor's emotions, whether it was through songs of love or of a soldier's perspective.
Through listening to my grandpa's collection of classical Russian army songs, I understood his experiences as a war veteran, as well as the multitude of hardships that he faced. Songs written in 1995 such as "Комбат" by a band called Любэ depict a graphic retelling of the emotional and physical turmoil that soldiers faced in World War II. My grandparents didn't understand English, so spending time with them was my way of practicing my native tongue, as well as a way of understanding the artisticness of the Russian language by analyzing the metaphors used in songs, which I wouldn't have otherwise learned through conversation.