I used to get annoyed with people who complained about being bored. After all, I'm never bored, I just procrastinate...
Every year, on the weekend closest to January 3rd, my brother Bob throws a feast in honor of J.R.R. Tolkien. He invites as many people over as his house can hold, cooks up a giant pot roast, loads up on several cases of wine and port, and rearranges his entire living space to accommodate some 70 people or so. We eat, drink, and make merry.
At some point I realize I cannot avoid drinking the cobra whiskey.Years of foreign encounters have primed me to always accept adventure. Am I comfortable traveling around a strange country on my own? Yes—I’m a grown-ass woman, damn it! Does holding a barbecue in three feet of snow in the middle of the woods when … Continue reading The Edge of Glory
Burns' Night is an annual celebration to the memory of the national poet, and it typically involves a lot of fun and merriment. The toast to Mr. Burns is a key event of the night, and it is an honor to be asked to deliver it. I look forward to the speeches each year, as … Continue reading To the Immortal Memory of Mr. Robert Burns
I worry that I take things too seriously. I am afraid I am losing my sense of humor. It is getting harder for me to take a joke.This has nothing to do with Russia; I noticed it some time ago. It began with fraping. Not only do I find the name itself almost obscene, but … Continue reading And Geogie’s always on my my my my my my my my my mind
Food is such a pivotal aspect of any culture, and some time ago I must have swung around that pivot without quite realizing it. Today, as I stood in the grocery store with my bag of kefir, it hit home: I grocery shop like a Russian.My first night in Russia, Tatiana Petrovna sat me down … Continue reading When sometimes all you want is a little milk for your tea.
I had a nightmare the other night: I went home and couldn't speak Russian. Part of my dream was in Russian, which should make me feel more encouraged. It's also not the first time I've dreamed in Russian, which was actually about a month after I arrived, and also involved a lot of German. But … Continue reading Your lips move but I can’t tell what you’re saying.
The low point hits at 7:30 in the morning as I trudge through the sliding doors of Russia’s ubiquitous 24-hour Sem’ya grocery store, and slide my duffle bag off my shoulder. Beside it I set down my large, plastic bag full of the books I plan to send home, and struggle to pull the strap … Continue reading Ilya, the Yolka Hero
There are not many Catholics in Russia. And yet, as fortune would have it, the only Catholic church in Perm happens to be located a block away from my university. I have been attending mass there since my arrival, and I like the place, but I was beginning to feel awkward about not having introduced … Continue reading Catholics are always trying to find out if you’re Catholic.
In the end, I was glad Tatiana was gone all day and never saw me cooking. I made a mess of the table, particularly after scooping out the pumpkin innards (which contain a lot more water than I expected.) I never made it to class, as there was a temporary problem with the latch on … Continue reading I got walnut brownie brains, and molasses in my veins: part III