Learning Tatar

Although Tatarstan is politically a part of the Russian Federation, I am constantly reminded that at the same time, it is a country and culture all its own. Beautiful mosques share the scene with Orthodox churches, Tatar delicacies such as chak-chak and mantiy are served just as often as  borsch and kasha, and most exciting for a languageContinue reading “Learning Tatar”

Russia in Color

Russia is often wrongly stereotyped as a depressing land devoid of color and life. Although the Russian winter is  long and there are definitely periods where the dominant colors are white, brown, and grey, I have found Russia to possess an understated beauty that continues to stun me when I least expect it. I’ve selectedContinue reading “Russia in Color”

Riding the Bus in Russia

Many Russians have asked me with a smirk, “so, have you been on our buses? What do you think?,” expecting me to go on a tirade about how cramped and stuffy and dirty they are and how American transportation is king, yada-yada-yada. But actually, I don’t feel that way at all. Yes, getting on aContinue reading “Riding the Bus in Russia”

If the Master and Margarita had a Sequel

Last night, I finally hit the halfway mark in the first full-length classic I have attempted to read in the original, Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita! (Well, I actually attempted The Brothers Karamazov last summer, but that turned out to be way above my level at the time.) I first became enamored with the bookContinue reading “If the Master and Margarita had a Sequel”

#SochiProblems: Russians Respond

We’ve all seen the pictures of the apparently disastrous conditions of the Sochi Olympics, and if we’re honest, many of us Westerners have laughed in glee at the “peach juice” that is actually contaminated water, unfinished hotel rooms and (heaven forbid!) separate bins for used toilet paper. The 320,000 person following of the Twitter accountContinue reading “#SochiProblems: Russians Respond”