Theater Culture in Russia

On March 27 was the World Theater Day.  From early childhood, I love theaters. In past, I lived in front of theater and always watched crowds and actors to go in and from work and went to almost every play. I also played in school theater (of course-who doesn’t).Theater is a big part of Russian culture, and I really miss it in the United States. Of course, if you are in New York or San-Francisco, you probably will have enough to feed your theatric curiosity, but not everywhere in the US. When I go to St. Petersburg during summer, on the second day after arrival I run to Continue reading “Theater Culture in Russia”


Happy St. Patrick’s Day


Today is St. Patrick’s Day. This year it went unusually quietly for me. The best thing came from my Zumba instructor, Janice. It turns out that she is Irish ( this, of course, explains a lot, especially her irrepressible energy charge). Janice brought to class all sorts of green hats and handkerchiefs, was fun and cheerful, and even made ​​us dance under few Irish songs.

And I remembered my acquaintance with this cool holiday in one of my first Continue reading “Happy St. Patrick’s Day”

Shut-Up Music

Last week we were driving in the car and I turned on a CD,  Tchaikovsky. Suddenly, my son started to scream:  “No shut-up music PLEASE!!!”  I was surprised to hear that, and I looked at him: “What?” He actually liked classical music before.

“Yes-it’s shut-up music!”- he continued. “They turn it on at school during lunch and when they do that we have to be quite and say nothing.  All the kids hate that! “

Well, a few days later my husband and I visited our son for lunch at school.  And really that was it – kids were excited and loud, they ate, and talked, and laughed, and made a lot of noise (which is natural).  BUT! Every 8 minutes or so, classical music came on and the kids had to be silent.  I saw many unhappy faces during this “classical music time”. And right after the music was turned off, the level of loudness rose quickly like the buzz of bees in a hive as the kids tried to compensate for the silent time-they were as loud as they could be. I don’t know how to comment that.  In general, I was very surprised to know in that in American school there is almost no breaks between classes as it is in Russian schools (each 45 minutes -5, 10 and 20 minutes breaks “peremena”- crazy running and talking time).  Here in elementary school, for the seven hours kids spend at school there is only one recess for 20 minutes outside on playground and lunch break for 30 minutes where kids have to take a “quiet break” each 8 minutes.  Kids are expected behave in the hall as well on the way to playground and cafeteria, which mean to silently walk in a single file line.  I understand it is comfortable for the teachers, but what is about kids?  Probably the intentions were good: to introduce classical music to kids while they are eating…but, clearly, it had the opposite effect.

I already see it would be tough to get back a taste for a good music.Image

10 best things to do during Federal Government Shutdown (for government workers mostly and their friends)

10. Stop worrying – they ‘ll pay you anyway

9. Enjoy your unexpected vacation in addition to the government’s “generous” 12 days per year

8. Finish all things you need to do at home, spend time with family

7. Turn off alarm and sleep well

6. Jump in the car and go somewhere (not too far, unfortunately) as you don’t know when they’ll call you back

5. Catch up with your friends also working for government-you all have a great reason (and time) to meet

4.  Do some job search to see what is around in your field

3 Finish the book you have been reading for a year

2. Go to restaurant, then shopping , then to movie or vice versa

1. OR go to Charleston for a wedding, sailing with other bridesmaids in Charleston Harbor, swim in the ocean and have FUN as I did!

One of the first things to do before moving to the United States (continued from September 24th)

Dr. N. was as sweet and nice as any American dentist I can imagine.  He was overly polite, which never is a good sign, had respectable gray hair with a perfect haircut and wore good cologne. He looked at my teeth with a polite smile, but then suddenly he seemed worried.  He completely ignored my weak statement that I visited a Russian dentist just a few months before and did deep cleaning in a very good and expensive clinic.  He nodded and told me cruelly: “It doesn’t count”.  Continue reading “One of the first things to do before moving to the United States (continued from September 24th)”

One of the first things to do before moving to the United States

One of the first things to do before moving to the United States is to visit your dentist. I knew that, and I took care of my teeth a few days before my departure.  At least I thought I did.  But on one Sunday when my mother–in–law came to visit, I cooked a nice lunch.  Cooking never was a problem for me, but when your mother-in –law is around, everything becomes more complicated. She is very nice and sweet, but she is still the mother of my husband.  I don’t know how it is culturally in the US, but in my country, usually, the mother- in–law is not a “girl’s best friend”.  At a minimum, you get nervous having her around. That is what happened to me as well.  I was nervous, and, therefore, I was talkative in addition to my regular chattiness. In the middle of a conversation about great Russian literature, I bit a cherry a little bit too passionately, and with horror, I realized that one of my teeth I so lovingly took care of back home was cracked.  Shall I say that my day was ruined, my week was ruined, my month was ruined as well?  At the end of a month I finally decided that I have to go visit an American dentist.   Going to the dentist is a famous affair for Russians.  Historically, we don’t have impressive teeth for a number of reasons I can only guess at. Many ex-Soviets I know in the US and back home have problems with their teeth, and it is a sore topic for my people.

I started to look around for a trustworthy dentist. I asked people I knew for their recommendations. I checked my husband’s insurance policy. I read on-line.  Finally, a lady from my neighborhood suggested going to our neighbor who has his office not too far from our house.  After serious mental preparation and a phone conversation with the dentist, I made an appointment and went to his office (to be continued)

Every end is a new beginning

Each day thousands of people move to the United States.  They move to stay.  They move to change their lives, habits, language, friends and culture. No matter where you come from – an exciting, flamboyant city, a cozy town or little village on the edge of the earth, from better or worse – and no matter what your intentions are, your life will be changed forever and you’ll never get it back.

Who are they, American immigrants?  Continue reading “Every end is a new beginning”