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
I announced to my course-mates and my Russian host family that I wanted to cook them a Thanksgiving dinner, and was both surprised and gratified by the enthusiastic response. Everyone had an idea of what to expect, but no one was sure about the particulars, myself included. Cooking in foreign countries is difficult, because the … Continue reading I got walnut brownie brains, and molasses in my veins: part II
Eric Hobsbawm died a few weeks back. I noticed at the time, because he, along with Terence Ranger, edited a history book called The Invention of Tradition, the significance of which I judge to be fairly high given the number of times it has been on the “recommended reading” lists for my history courses. I … Continue reading I got walnut brownie brains, and molasses in my veins: part I
Water in Russia is weird, a fact of which I am reminded every time I touch my hair. The first few times I showered, I thought I hadn’t rinsed out all the shampoo. After a few more attempts, when my newly-washed hair dried to appear even more oily and dirty than before, I came to … Continue reading dirty water gonna cover me over
When I was trying to decide where to go for my year abroad, everyone told me that the people in Perm were exceptionally friendly. Upon my arrival, I doubted this, not because of a failing on the part of anyone I had spoken with, but because everyone on the street looked so depressed. I have … Continue reading We didn’t ask what it seems like, we asked what it is.