a big beautiful mess

Posts tagged culture

Should You Fulbright?

Should You Fulbright?

I’ve recently been asked from a few different corners about my Fulbright experience, and I feel I have enough distance from it now to make some broad generalizations about the experience. Deciding whether or not to apply for a Fulbright is a big decision in itself. Here are my two cents. I don’t recommend the […]

Bus No. 53

Bus No. 53

No one was quite sure who A. Shagin had bribed to be allowed to charge less than the city norm for his bus route. But somehow he’d managed it, and an inhabitant of Severorechiya could travel anywhere along Leninsky Prospekt for just eleven rubles, fifty kopecks, fully fifty kopecks less than any other bus line […]

Poland confused me.

Poland confused me.

What with it being located between Russia and “Western” Europe, and what with my latest experience being in Russia, and what with my experience in the Balkans pretty much directly south, I was expecting Poland to be sort of like a cleaner, more compact version of Russia. But when I arrived and Łuki started showing […]

Homophobia

Homophobia

Last weekend, as I was walking to the library, I came across these pro-gay snowpeople lounging on the ground. I was so glad I had my camera! I’ve been curious and eager for any indication of attitudes towards homosexuality, since I know that Arkhangelsk has a law against “homosexual propaganda,” supposedly to protect children’s morality. […]

Popping My Banya Cherry

Popping My Banya Cherry

At one point over the weekend in Ufa, I found myself lying belly down on a wooden bench, face inches from a burning hot brick wall, in a steamy room, stark naked, being beaten with birch branches. This is the culmination of a certain piece of Russian culture I had heard about, evaluated in passing, […]