Thursday, March 29, 2007

Becoming a Russian

From a friend in St. Petersburg, I offer the following list (in the hope she won't mind my sharing):

You might have been living here too long if:

* When the airline agent tells you that no flights are available within the week that you require, your first mental reaction is: "I wonder how much money it would take for her to change that."

* You jaywalk fearlessly, but approach walk signals cautiously.

* You refer to a heaping platter of cold cuts as a "salad."

* As soon as you enter any building, your first reaction is to look for a mirror.

* You are paying 11,000 more roubles in monthly rent than your official contract states --but that's okay, because you're earning 20,000 more roubles than your work contract states.

* You've cleaned your boots in a public restroom.

* You have some reservations about spending the rest of your life anywhere where you can't stroll down the street with an open beer in springtime.

* When you see a "Bridge Closed" sign, you assume that it doesn't apply to you.

* You visit formerly-public land that has recently been stolen for an oligarch, and join women in fur coats in trying to climb under or over the fence -- not as a political statement, but just because it's ochen' krasivo. OCHEN' krasivo! (very beautiful)

And especially for Petersburg:

* You think you've started to remember the blockade.

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