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Welcome, Thanks and Brief Comments

Last week was a bit of a whirlwind for me. I'm not a blogger or photographer, just a normal girl who likes to travel and explore other cultures. I never expected that when macos translated my first notes on Russia they would receive so much attention. It came as a complete shock to me. Before that, my blog was only read by a few Russians and family/friends. Honestly, I still don't understand why our posts caused such a stir but I'm grateful for a new audience and welcome you all. If I would have known my notes were going to be read by so many people perhaps I would have been more thoughtful in my analysis. However, the post was called "General Observations" and not meant to be a reflection on all Russian people or the entire country. I obviously can only write about what I saw and that's what I did.

I wish to thank those who wrote interesting and kind comments, sent me private messages and provided further insight into your country. I tried to respond to all of you and want to maintain an open dialogue with readers. I gladly accept criticism of America and Americans from those who have traveled to my country as I also am curious of foreigners' perceptions of my homeland. However, some of the biggest trolls infecting the comment thread have never set foot in America, simply pulling photos of Detroit and abandoned houses from the Internet and judging Americans and our culture based on what their government controlled media tells them. Such opinions I don't respect or value. Some people asked me why I didn't ban these people. The answer is that I'm a huge advocate of free expression. It's a core American principle and exercised at all levels in American society as we actively protest, criticize, speak and write about politics, the President and other domestic and international affairs in our country. Please note that sexual comments will not be tolerated as this blog isn't about who I'm dating, sleeping with or other related matters. These comments I automatically deleted and will continue to do so.

Lastly, I just want to clarify one point. Over and over again people commented that my views of Russia were a result of my host. I'm not some naive 20 year old woman who cannot think on my own. In fact, I'm almost double that age. My impressions are my own and not what Sasha was putting in my ear. He offered to take me to Pushkin and other museums but they are of no interest to me because I wanted to know how REAL Russians live. You cannot understand this by visiting fancy museums or watching a grand performance of the Bolshoi Ballet. I've traveled a lot through Europe and have visited tons of art museums, cathedrals and typical tourist sites. They bore me now and I'm only concerned with understanding the way average people live in other parts of the world. Before the trip and when we traveled together in the States, I continually told him I would come to Russia and point out good things about the country to him. So the accusations that I went to Russia looking to confirm stereotypes are totally inaccurate. I saw good in your country, but I also saw a lot of bad and this is what I discussed in my first post. Many of you failed to recognize that I also mentioned some things I like about Russia in the text, maybe you became so enraged by the negative that it simply escaped your memory. And so many comments implying that I think America is perfect without problems. I never said or implied this. My post was about Russia not America.

I hope to publish my second Russian post next weekend. In the meantime, I wish everyone a Happy St. Patrick's Day! This is a big party day in the U.S., with many bars opening at 6 a.m. We have lots of parades, drink green beer and many (like me) wear funny hats and pretend to be a leprechaun for a day. Maybe my "fake American smile" will nauseate some of you. But it's genuine as I'm usually a cheerful person.


stpatricks

The city of Chicago even dyes its main river green every year to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. ©10Best

St Patricks Day Chicago

And how do you celebrate St. Patrick's Day in Russia??

Comments

( 148 comments — Leave a comment )
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oo_o_oo
Mar. 17th, 2013 03:56 am (UTC)
You should ban users and delete all theese propaganda comments otherwise there will be a shithole here after some time. They will try to flood all your space with ideologic noise.
fareastener
Mar. 17th, 2013 04:20 am (UTC)
It is so liberal to prohibit any POV, except your own... :)
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fareastener
Mar. 17th, 2013 04:16 am (UTC)
hmm... Everybody celebrates St.Patrick's day differently. But general plan, I think, is same as in Ireland - drink alot of irish beer and irish whisky, have much fun and feeling good, But most important is don't forget about hard work after long party :). Unfortunately, many people don't think about it in Russia :)
fareastener
Mar. 17th, 2013 04:22 am (UTC)
oh... I forgot something: nice picture and very nice smile :) Happy St. Patrick's Day, Shannon. :)
peacetraveler22
Mar. 17th, 2013 03:39 pm (UTC)
Thanks, I'll go drink green beer in a few hours.
(no subject) - fareastener - Mar. 17th, 2013 09:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
samarskyrider
Mar. 17th, 2013 04:43 am (UTC)
Hi there! I totally understand your criticism in this post, that's totally fine and it's your own opinion. That's why we read your journal. The opinion of American who went further than Red Square is 2 times more valuable in this regard. Keep on posting and Happy St. Patrick's Day!
peacetraveler22
Mar. 17th, 2013 03:43 pm (UTC)
I wanted to show a different view, something most Americans don't have the opportunity to see in Russia. Everyone knows the common scenes of Red Square, beautiful St. Basil's, etc. because they're plastered in all travel magazines and brochures. I doubt many American tourists are traveling the route I took.
(no subject) - samarskyrider - Mar. 17th, 2013 05:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
vvelda
Mar. 17th, 2013 05:01 am (UTC)
As you wrote, "I also am curious of foreigners' perceptions of my homeland". I suppose that's the most common reason for Russians to come here and definitely the one for me. But then you suddenly realize that there are lots of great posts to read and the author is really nice :)
Totally agree with the St-Pete road horror story, can't stand it myself. And hope to come to the USA at least another time - so far saw only Chicago for 3 days, immediately got madly in love with it,
peacetraveler22
Mar. 17th, 2013 03:45 pm (UTC)
Chicago, it's one of my favorite cities. I wrote a few posts about it and travel there frequently for business. I'll be there in a few weeks and will try to find something interesting and new to write about.
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skilled_man
Mar. 17th, 2013 05:32 am (UTC)
Hello!
Why in the photo water green?
Today we celebrate Maslenitsa!
peacetraveler22
Mar. 17th, 2013 03:46 pm (UTC)
Green is the national color of Ireland. It's tradition on St. Patrick's Day to wear this color, drink green beer, wear kilts, etc. The other tradition is to pinch those not wearing green. :)
yarowind
Mar. 17th, 2013 05:57 am (UTC)

Hi, Shannon!
St. Patrick's Day is usually celebrated by a small group Celticum fans. This is understandable, since Irish in our country is extremely small (except employees of the Embassy of Ireland), not like in the U.S. Much more we celebrate Maslenitsa - Spring Festival, before Lent, which comes a few weeks before Easter. Today is the day called Forgiveness Sunday.
peacetraveler22
Mar. 17th, 2013 03:48 pm (UTC)
Hey Vlad, thanks! I've never heard of "Forgiveness Sunday." Russians are busy seeking forgiveness on this day and Americans getting completely drunk. :) I've been to Boston on this day a few years ago, the largest Irish-American population in the States. Complete chaos but great fun!
(no subject) - yarowind - Mar. 17th, 2013 06:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
tasha_kudryasha
Mar. 17th, 2013 06:14 am (UTC)
Hello Shannon! I'm Natalia. I'd like to thank you for sharing your observations and impressions! It was really interesting to see your point of view and your feelings about difficulties in Russia. For me it was like new understanding and re-evaluation of things. Sometimes it seems we're in a trap of bribery and corruption. Many people understand how to make life better - that's not only about quality of roads or situation with parking places, it's about level of life - but the ideas stuck... I hope we'll find the way to change the situation. Anyway, I'm glad to find you here and would love to read your new posts :)
peacetraveler22
Mar. 17th, 2013 03:49 pm (UTC)
Hi Natalia, welcome to my blog and thanks for your comments.
(no subject) - modest_so_zvezd - Mar. 19th, 2013 07:44 am (UTC) - Expand
vitsky
Mar. 17th, 2013 06:22 am (UTC)
Go on travelling and writing about it. It's very interesting to read your journal.
Hope, you'll also visit Belarus or some other post-soviet countries.
And happy St. Patrick day! We celebrate it here too. :)
peacetraveler22
Mar. 17th, 2013 03:55 pm (UTC)
Belarus, I've heard it's a cool place. Maybe next time I visit Russia, I'll take a side trip there. I've been to Ukraine and some other post-Soviet countries but it was before I started this blog. I'll continue to travel in this region.
ssh24
Mar. 17th, 2013 06:33 am (UTC)
>because I wanted to know how REAL Russians live. You cannot understand this by visiting fancy museums or watching a grand performance of the Bolshoi Ballet.
Yes. But the best way to it, is to live some time with natives (at least 1 month).
peacetraveler22
Mar. 17th, 2013 03:56 pm (UTC)
Sure, it would be great but not possible at this time due to work and financial obligations.
tais2016
Mar. 17th, 2013 06:55 am (UTC)
Здравствуй Шенон. У нас сегодня последний день масленицы и называется прощенное воскресение.
В этот день мы все просим прощения друг у друга за вольные и невольные обиды.
Мне интересен Ваш взгляд на нашу жизнь и хочу остаться Вашим читателем.
peacetraveler22
Mar. 17th, 2013 03:59 pm (UTC)
Здравствуй! And welcome, I hope you will enjoy future stories and posts.
(no subject) - state_gov - Mar. 29th, 2013 06:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - tais2016 - Mar. 29th, 2013 06:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
moonrainbow
Mar. 17th, 2013 07:30 am (UTC)
It is not widely known, but numbers of people in Moscow celebrate St. Patrick day annually with a small parade, Irish music and dance events. Look at this year's event in Gorky park.
http://ru.livejournal.com/323897.html

As you can probably understand from the photos, I missed the parade this year because of the weather. After an intense blizzard on Friday the weather turned warmer, and all the snow started to melt. I looked out and decided no to try: walking on puddles and mud is no fun.
peacetraveler22
Mar. 17th, 2013 04:00 pm (UTC)
I visited Gorky Park on a weekday during my trip, but it was a ghost town. Absolutely no one there and unfortunately the rink that I wanted to skate on was closed. But I did eat some tasty roasted corn. :)
(no subject) - moonrainbow - Mar. 17th, 2013 07:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
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peacetraveler22
Mar. 17th, 2013 04:00 pm (UTC)
It's a great city, you must visit if you haven't been there.
dubai100
Mar. 17th, 2013 08:42 am (UTC)
By the way Sasha didn"t find equal traslation for "Fucking Scary" to write it in Russian in his blog. He wrote it is too strong)


Last year in Chicago
macos
Mar. 17th, 2013 09:14 am (UTC)
I'm also celebrating St.Patrick's: cooking beef with Guiness sauce, which I bought in Germany last week :)

(no subject) - fareastener - Mar. 17th, 2013 09:40 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Mar. 17th, 2013 03:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
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birdofprey
Mar. 17th, 2013 10:06 am (UTC)
That's absolutely true, most Russian people never been to States, but have seen a lot of Hollywood movies, most of the times showing some wierd events and stories taking place in US. Then the official propaganda wisely uses that fact to make to further spoil the impression about the country. Only when I visited the States, I've realised how many faked stereotypes I had about the country. Although some things I though about US turned to be real, I don't really like them, on average, I'd say, USA is much better country than Russia from many perspectives. (Well, I'm judging by quite short visit to Boston, New York, and some countryside in the middle of nowhere in New Hampshire)
fareastener
Mar. 17th, 2013 10:36 am (UTC)
Most russian people don't hate US people, in my humble opinion... But - they hate US government, for many reasons, frequently irrationally and without any sense. But they don't understand - that people and government are different things.

I can only speak from myself, not from people... I drank alot of beer, vodka and whisky with guys from Texas, Wyoming, Arizona, CA and many other states and countries :) - they just people, some way - similar, some way - different with us. Understanding of this differences someday will come, I think.
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