The easiest way to become a nice person

The easiest way to become a nice person is to move to American South.  When you moved to the South, you are automatically became “Sweetie”, or “Honey”… or “Hon”.  That is how people call each other here and how they call you.  Everyone, your neighbor, a lady at parking service, salesperson at the supermarket you see for the first time.  At the beginning, it’s quite strange and even shocking – “Do I know her?”  I always asked myself when I heard again that I was “honey”.  “Does she knows me? “ Obviously not, if she calls me this way).  Yes, it sounds strange, especially when you moved from the big city of Moscow.  In Moscow, you are lucky enough to get Continue reading “The easiest way to become a nice person”

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Lost in Translation

This morning was cool, even cold.  During breakfast my husband gave me some weather updates and told that on Thursday it probably would be 32 F degrees.  Fahrenheit (along with inches, miles and pounds) doesn’t mean much to me because I (along with the rest of the planet, by the way) grew up with Celsius, meters and kilos and I have everywhere in house thermometers in Celsius.  However,  I learnt by now that 32 Fahrenheit is “0” Celsius.  “What?  “Zero” in Thursday!?” I shivered in advance and continued “I bet Continue reading “Lost in Translation”

To Laugh or Not To Laugh

10 years ago, when we were going to move to Russia, I anticipated how my American husband will get excited about it.  He grow up in the South, and travel overseas only twice, so I thought he should be thrilled about the prospective to move to Russia.  “Aren’t you excited about it?!!! “- I kept asking him looking at his face with hope.  “You are going to such a great country!!!”  Despite my enthusiasm, my husband seemed to be worried and much less excited then I would expect .  I ordered a lot of Russian literature as Chekov, Nabokov, Bulgakov, Bunin, to name the few.  I even took “12 Chairs” by Ilf and Petrov  from the library to slowly introduce him to the culture. I was especially enthusiastic about this one. Really, how can you not like “12 Chairs” ? When I read it, I cry from laughing…I have to say that the book was some kind of shorten version of “12 chairs” translation, I guess, because it wasn’t as big as it shoukd be.  But, anyway. I gave to my husband the book and he started to read it at evenings.   I watched him…He didn’t laugh, not even a smile.  Well, that was strange.  I waited two more nights – the same reaction (or no reaction to be true).  Then I finally gave up and confront him with question.  “So, do you understand what is this about?” “ Sure,” – he answered to me.  “Did you get it?”-  I repeated (it’s my favorite habit all family members hate). “ And who is Ostap Bender? What kind of person he is?”-  I continued to interview him.  “Just a сute criminal,”- he answered calmly.  I was shocked.  Just a criminal!!!??? Ok, Yes, maybe, BUT!!! It’s not all about that…” He is just great –so funny, smart and creative! All Russia admires him!”  “All Russia admires a criminal…Why am I not surprising?”- he grumbled and turned off a reading light.

The most often said phrase when people are married

97987547_0 There is one unquestionably good thing when you marry a foreigner, that you got an amazing excuse on your hands:  “It is cultural!” Basically, from now on you can do what you want (or even what you don’t want) and use this wonderful reason.   You can apply “It’s cultural” to anything you do.  You may be loud, quite, shy or bold. You may want to party till 2PM, or like to travel every 2 month, or don’t wait for Friday night to have a night out “It is cultural”.  It simply is. Anything works.  Continue reading “The most often said phrase when people are married”

This Blog is About

People meet, fall in love and marry.  Of course, it’s not that simple, but if we pretend that life is a movie, that we keep the remote in our hands and can forward from the beginning, it looks like that.  As teenagers we hoped to meet a friend, a soul mate and a great love (of course).  We could dream about how that person would look, what kind of personality he/she would have, probably even about his profession.  But usually we do not have a thought of the nationality of our future spouse. It all comes later.  It all comes after you meet, fall in love and say “I Do” with an accent.

To marry a foreigner can be very exciting and interesting. You always find something new with which to be surprised or irritated.  Every day, day after day… How to deal with and enjoy different languages; culture; attitude to family, friends; different points of view on raising kids, planning vacations; cooking; sad and funny misunderstandings; communication with in-laws ?

This blog is for anyone who dated or married a foreigner, who lives in a foreign country with an accent, raises bilingual kids, trying to adjust and understand.

I am a Russian who married an American man.  We met at a Halloween party in the US 12 years ago, and after two years got married in San Francisco. We later moved to Russia and lived there for almost eight years. We worked, rented a tiny apartment in Moscow and raised our two kids (my daughter from first marriage and a son).  After almost 8 years, my husband got tired of Moscow, and he asked me and the kids to move back to America. He simply got tired of being a foreigner.  He wanted to have a normal job, speak his language, be able to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with his family and he wanted to exchange our extremely small apartment in Moscow for a two-story house. And he especially wanted to forget all about Moscow’s long, cold winters.  Well, I knew he had a right to wish all of this.  He was patient enough all these years and it came my turn to pay him back. My husband and I and our two kids, moved from huge and exciting Moscow to the quiet and sunny suburbs of Atlanta. It became my turn to be a foreigner.  What to do? In an international marriage one of the two will live abroad.

Here, in this blog, I share about my first and second year immigrant experiences, pitfalls and plateaus of cultural shock, and my hopes. I still try to find my way through Southern living with no driving skills and a strong attachment to my homeland.  Since childhood I liked to write essays and poetry but only in Russian.  When we moved to the US, along with homesickness, I got some free time to do what I always wanted to do.  I joined the Atlanta Writers Club and trying to write in English, but still with a Russian accent.

I never had a blog before. I apologize in advance for any possible mistakes I make in my writing.  It is not due to carelessness or absence of respect, it is simply because I learned English quite late in life, and, probably, I will always speak, write and live with an accent.

Thank you for reading,                                                                       

Yulia