Personal experience: 10 American habits I gave up in Russia
This is a story about how a Russian, who had left for the States for a long time, suddenly decided to return to her native Moscow. To Russia, one way. It turns out that you can experience culture shock from your homeland, especially if you haven't been there for a long time. And to become Russian again - from scratch. Describes on her blog Diana Abroskina, who grew up in the United States.
Next - from the first person.
It doesn't matter whether to a nearby street or across the country, any move will always be hectic and exciting. For me, moving has always been a joyful event, opening up new opportunities and making various changes in my life. Getting used to the surroundings, exploring nearby supermarkets and cafes, meeting new people and feeling your newfound freedom are experiences that are sure to enrich your world.
However, the most exciting change comes when you leave your comfort zone when you decide to travel around the world. I have spent most of my adult life in the United States. However, one summer day, I ended up at the John F. Kennedy airport with three huge suitcases and a one-way ticket to Moscow. I haven't been to Russia for so long that I managed to fully absorb the American way of thinking and way of life. I flew to my homeland, feeling more like a foreigner than a citizen.
To become a Russian again, starting practically from scratch, is an experience that I would not trade for anything.
During this adventure of returning to my homeland, I had to get rid of some American habits that were already imprinted on my unconscious level. With the habits that made up my daily life.
But basically, I had to change the way I perceive the world around me.
1. Drink unlimited good coffee
Unfortunately, it is very difficult to find a good coffee shop in Russia, even in Moscow. When I lived in New York and traveled around California and other states, I got used to having a coffee shop on every corner, with all the coffees from all over the world. In Russia, it is difficult to find a coffee shop where you can spend an evening and drink good natural coffee. And the further from the western part of the country, the less coffee is similar to coffee.
Yoga is a relatively new activity in Russia. Those types of yoga that I saw can be divided into 2 types. The first of these is the spiritual practice of Hindi yoga, where Kundalini yoga focuses on opening and clearing the chakras.
The second type is physical exercise from yoga, you can sign up for such classes at the local gym. Usually women who are obsessed with aerobics go there to lose weight. Vinyasa, Ashtanga and Bikram, so popular in the United States, practically do not exist in Russia.
Here people still prefer to work out in the gym rather than spend time on proper breathing and asanas.
Yoga practice in America involves a certain lifestyle, eating pure organic food, you need to be peaceful and focused, wear special yoga clothes Lululemon and drinking coconut water before yoga practice.
I enjoyed this way of life and I really missed it in Russia.
3. Get together with friends often
If you are over 25 and still not married / not married, you can forget about going out to the club with your friends. 90% of them are already married or in a serious relationship. They won't go anywhere with you on Friday night or Sunday brunch.
Family for a Russian person is the most important thing that is not bad, but some Russian women literally do not have time for their friends. On weekends, they clean, cook and spend time with their children and husbands; girlfriends in last place.
I moved to the United States right after university, and when I returned, all my friends from school and university were already married and had children. Someone even had two children, someone managed to divorce and remarry. I realized that I was very behind them in terms of family life.
What's going on with a taxi in Russia ?! In New York, we have the privilege of taking a taxi wherever it is convenient, just raising our hand, and it costs a penny.
But in Moscow, you need to call a taxi in advance (which means that you should always have a charged phone with you), wait until it gets to you (if you don’t know or cannot explain - your problems) and then the taxi driver himself invents a price (this is a scam). Taxis are very expensive, especially on Fridays and Saturdays, and most likely taxi drivers will try to cheat you in order to charge you even more money.
5. Happy hours
When I asked my colleagues what good places to go to here during happy hours, they looked at me with expressions of complete bewilderment. There is no concept of "happy hour" here. Russia has a completely different mentality. After work, people immediately rush home to cook dinner and be with their family; they can only afford to drink with colleagues at special events and corporate parties. Boredom!
6. Constantly see people of different nationalities
I am a super social person and I have tons of good friends from all over the world. I'm proud of that. In the United States, I am used to seeing people of various nationalities every day. I love to watch mixed (interracial) couples with mixed children, immigrants talking about their journey to the American dream. Russia, however, is not so colorful.
Russians are white people. Although, now, more and more often you can meet immigrants from the former Soviet republics who come to Russia to fulfill their, similar to "American" dreams. Nevertheless, I would like to meet more people of different nationalities in order to liven up the situation and broaden views.
Smiling is a must for Americans. They try to smile all the time, even if they are sad. I don't see anything wrong with constantly seeing smiles around me. It's great to be friendly and polite with the people around you - but not in Russia.
Maybe because of the climate, maybe because of the quality of life, Russians tend to hide their emotions under harsh facial expressions, and they rarely smile. When I flew to Moscow, I automatically continued to smile to the right and to the left during the first weeks, until I began to notice misunderstanding and sidelong glances in my direction.
People do not understand why you are smiling and think that something is wrong with you. If you don't want to sound crazy, then it is better not to grind your teeth in all directions if you are going to Russia.
8. Go to restaurants
In Russia, eating away from home is a big problem. It was very difficult for me to find a good restaurant there. Of course, branches of world famous fast foods are open here, such as McDonald's, Burger King, KFS, etc., but if you want to taste real Indian Cuban or Chinese cuisine, you have to be content with a parody, and even with inflated prices.
In Russia, I developed a habit of cooking at home. At least I know what products I need and if they have expired.
9. Speak loudly
Americans love to speak loudly. I attribute this habit to a feeling of freedom and comfort in my country and a lack of desire to pay attention to what people around me think. In Russia, talking loudly is a sign of bombast and sounds like “show off”, especially when practiced in public places. Here people do not like extra ears, as if someone is spying on them. Who knows? However, watch your tongue.
10. Affordable regular shopping
If you are a shopaholic and a lover of branded clothes, Russia is not the best place for you. Clothes, shoes and accessories are twice, if not three times more expensive than in Europe (not to mention the USA). Be prepared to ditch the occasional shopping at the mall after work to pamper yourself with a pair of new jeans. Russians go shopping rarely (of course, depending on their financial situation) and practical. My advice is to bring as many clothes as you can. Shopping is expensive here.
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stdClass Object ([term_id] => 13334 [name] => In the homeland [taxonomy] => category [slug] => novosti-rodini)At home
stdClass Object ([term_id] => 13337 [name] => Our people [taxonomy] => category [slug] => nashi-ludi)Our people
stdClass Object ([term_id] => 16779 [name] => Russian Americans [taxonomy] => post_tag [slug] => russkie-amerikancy)Russian Americans
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