WHEN TO SPEAK RUSSIAN (a guide for Estonian children)

File this under “you can’t make this sh*t up”. There is an article in Russian that does a bit of explaining; for those who cannot read the Russian you could Google-translate the description – but the video/audio is incomparable. Here’s a brief synopsis: Estonia, 2015 Boy meets Girl. Boy is a Russian tourist and girl…

WELCOME TO LYUTEN

January, February, March… Month names are some of the easiest words to recognize across European languages. Take February for example: that would be Febrero in Spanish, Februar in German, Février in French, Φεβρουάριος in Greek and Февраль (pronounced as Fevral’) in Russian. The script might be different, but the sound is still familiar. For the…

ON MAGNETIC STORMS AND POLITE CONVERSATION

Have you seen the big news? Likes this one: “Geomagnetic storm could give Boston glimpse of Northern Lights” or “Solar storm strikes Earth following monster flare“? If somehow the MAGNETIC STORM OF THE CENTURY flew under your radar, it’s because you do not live in Russia. Here it’s the talk of the country, because the…

VOICES IN MY HEAD

One of the things I perpetually miss in Russia is the American movie-going experience. The movies themselves are here. American movies. Big Hollywood blockbusters. Award-baiting limited releases. We get them all and then some – it’s easier to find an Asian, European or Latin American film on a big screen in Moscow than in New…

FRATASTIC FUCKTARDS

For my job, practically all the work I do is in English. In the office I speak a mix of English and Russian, even though there are no other expats or semi-expats among my colleagues (it took me a year to get comfortable with this – when I started out, my Russian was completely dormant).…

“EXCUSE ME, DO YOU SPEAK ENGLISH?”

These are my favorite words to hear in Moscow. Usually it’s a tourist asking for directions to some cultural spot.  This was the case this morning – a couple of Italians trying to find the Moscow Museum of Modern Art. I don’t know exactly why these incidents make me so happy –  maybe it’s the pride in showing off…