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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Cultural Differences

Today is Russian Passover.  I'm still not really certain as to what the difference between Russian Passover and American Passover is.  Church, colored eggs, dinner, etc.  The whole nine yards.  Of course somehow, my mother managed to screw up hard boiled eggs.  I really didn't think that was possible but they tasted absolutely awful!  Might have something to do with the fact that she forgot they were boiling on the stove until they started exploding.  We had to throw them all out.  But at least they looked pretty until we tried to eat them.  The only difference I've noticed so far is that you smash the eggs together with another person and eat them.  The person who's egg does not shatter will be lucky.  I guess this is going to be my year because my egg was rock solid.  This brought me to ponder on Russian superstitions and other cultural differences between Russia and America.  Though I am very Americanized, I don't believe in American superstitions but am very paranoid about Russian ones.
Nesting Dolls
My Russian doll collection

Here are 10 things I can think of:
1. You can't whistle indoors in Russia.  I have such a hard time convincing my friends to not whistle inside around me.  Everyone just thinks I'm nuts.
2. Unlike in America, in Russia, if it is your birthday, you pay for dinner for everyone you invite.
3. Toasts in Russia take forever because they just keep getting interrupted.  And you don't drink your drink unless someone is making a toast.
4. It's bad luck to open an umbrella in doors.
5. Every time you say something that might jinx yourself or another person, you spit three times and then knock on wood (or your head if wood is not accessible).
6. Tattoos are primarily for convicts and prostitutes.  The number of lectures I have had to sit through from my Russian relatives about how much I have ruined all my looks and femininity by having so many tattoos is mind boggling.  Oh...and I can't be buried in a Jewish cemetery because of my tattoos as I have desecrated my body.
7. They love to have dinner parties in Russia...like a lot of them and there is usually singing of folk songs after a few rounds of vodka shots.  Oh, and we love cognac too.
8. If you bring home your American boyfriend, expect Russian male family members to test him by getting him as drunk as possible to see how well he holds his liquor.
9. There is this amazing food that I miss terribly as it is only made with meat called pelmeni.  It's meat wrapped in dough and boiled.  On New Year, you put a penny in one of the pelmini and who ever gets that penny will have luck for the rest of the year.  I think this has resulted in more broken teeth than luck.
10. You can't randomly smile at people and you can't smile on the bus because people will think you're crazy.

I'm planning a trip to Russia in June 2017 with my mom and I can't wait to witness this firsthand.  I have not been back to Russia since we left in 1993 and I'm very excited to go back to my roots.