This is not your usual narrative. The story is told by a dead child haunting the Moscow underground. You really do not need to know anything else. If that does not prepare you for an insane ride (forgive the pun) through an unfamiliar culture, then nothing will. My advice is hang on to your hat and enjoy the thrill.
The first real lead that I'd gotten was from the fifth or sixth fellow apartment hunter, the first who wasn't baffled. Typically, people who have advertised in search of an apartment in the city center will slam the phone down after my first words. By the time I'd called that number, I'd already gained at least some experience. I had the number of a place that had been rented out long ago. It was a fantastic prospect: the landlord had gone off to the North somewhere and left his dog.
I spent a long time getting used to the idea of that dog, and our life together with it, although at least one problem would be solved: writing every day in my diary, 'Tomorrow I will get up at six and go jogging!'