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Year in Review: 2013

At the end of the year, people throughout the world focus on introspection. Some years are better than others, but the most important thing to me is to always grow as a human being. Sometimes growth comes from joyful experiences and relationships. Other times heartbreak or sorrow. Bad experiences and personal mistakes often create the greatest lessons, and the bravest of souls are those who can look in the mirror or inward, recognize personal faults and try to fix them. Every year, waves of emotion build and crash and life remains fluid, constantly moving and shifting in both good and bad ways. In 2013, life was mostly good and on the travel front exceptional! I never imagined at the end of 2012 that I would visit Russia twice in 2013. Many other new countries were added to the list, including Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Belarus. I discovered several new States in my own country, including wondrous Wyoming. My solo journey through the Jackson Hole area of this State was one of the best and most memorable of the year, rescuing me from a very dark emotional place mid-summer.

When I wrote my summary of 2012, I had only 12 subscribers on LiveJournal. Now I have 1,300. I'm still amazed that Russians care about the musings of an average American woman, but I'm happy to have so many new readers in 2013. Special thanks to my original supporter Alexander Belenkiy and new advocates inoblogs and ru_learnenglish, all of which continue to promote my blog and make people aware of my content. Let's take a look at my most popular stories of the year. I bet you can guess which post came in first place!

1. American In Russia: General Observations

The story that "blew up the Russian Internet," as one reader told me. It also brought over 600 subscribers to my blog and remains the most commented on post in my blog's short history.


2. Aeroflot and the Missing Vibrator

This post taught me an interesting blogging lesson - that reader interest and response almost never correlate with the time and effort invested by the author in creating a post. I wrote this post in less than one hour and it generated over 200 comments. Why? The mere mention of a vibrator! I never expected such a reaction from readers, nor did I realize that Russians still consider public discussion of such topics taboo - especially from a woman.


3, Bizarre Russian Foods

Again, this post took little effort but received a lot of attention on my own blog and others who republished it, including the new project inoblogs where it received over 650 comments and made it to Top LJ. Very amusing comments on the translated version. Take a look at this new community focused on translating interesting content from non-Cyrillic bloggers.


4. Russian Men vs. American Men

This post was fun to write and discuss with readers. Perhaps you notice a common theme in my top posts of the year? Readers like when I write about Russia and sex. Russia I'll continue to write about, but sex, men and relationships will never be the primary focus of my blog. Sorry to disappoint, but LiveJournal is already full of female bloggers writing on these issues. Take a look at Top LJ and almost every day you will see posts from lena-miro.ru and morena_morana there. These women are completely consumed with superficial discussions about women's bodies, the dreaded fate of older women, pleasing men, etc. Yes, I think about these issues the same as all women but not obsessively and I don't wish to focus my energy on such discussions with readers. However, I did visit and photograph an American sex shop due to reader curiosity and will write about it early in the new year.


Which of my stories did you like best during the year?

Here are a few of my favorite photos from 2013. The first was taken in my hometown area of Washington, DC. The second in an abandoned field in Wyoming.


I know that in Russia the main holiday celebration comes this week, and I wish all readers a festive celebration! I'll leave you with the following inspirational quote from American author Mark Twain:

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade wind in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

We sometimes become so consumed with the mundane tasks of adult life that we forget to truly live. Explore...dream...discover...I hope each of you makes time to do so in 2014.

I have no doubt that many new adventures await me in the new year. I already know of one, and will announce the details soon. Stay tuned...

Happy New Year to all!



Dec. 30th, 2013 07:50 pm (UTC)
Why do Russians believe Americans are so stupid?
Because Americans often behave like they have been mentally programmed and do not apply their mind to the concrete situation.

The story:

Once we went with our project manager and her 13yr-old son to a holiday trip to some island near Seattle.
We got off from the ferry and there was a very small quiet town.

We, two Russians started to walk on the road looking around.
And then this boy, her son, said "Hey, guys, why do you walk in the middle of the road?".
13yr-old! He is supposed to be a hooligan and a rule breaker!

OK, normally we do not walk in the middle of busy roads. But in this concrete situation the was a quiet town with, maybe, several cars per hour passing.
And we were alert on the road and could see a car approaching.

So this is mostly why Russians call Americans stupid.
You ask an American something and then, BOOM!, you get a firmly formed rule back and in the eyes you see that a person really can not imagine that it's possible to behave a different way :))
It's like talking with a computer program.

On the contrary Russians are always opportunistic.
You cannot but if you really want you can. There's always a way around.
It's not always good, of course, and you saw the results in your trips, but it is the quality that allowed Russians to win many times over more straight-minded Germans or Americans even not having the same economic or technological strength.
Dec. 30th, 2013 08:03 pm (UTC)
Interesting observations you make. :)
Dec. 31st, 2013 05:59 pm (UTC)
Oh, really!? Do you believe it is smart idea to walk on the middle of the road in a quiet american town?
But if you consider Americans are very stupid people you must suppose some american fool could drive along the road with extremely high speed, distracting himself with cell-phone talking and not thinking about couple very cute russian guys may be walking along the road the same way as the pack of turkeys strolling on the streets of Wayne, NJ


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