Monthly Archives of: May 2010

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Vicki’s Marriage Advice

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The Boykis wedding torte. I hear it was delicious.And the Aladdin cake topper, which I struggled valiantly for, since certain family members thought it was "too terrorist."

Chaviva is getting married today.  This is a big deal, for a number of reasons, including the fact that she has been undergoing an arduous journey in converting to Judaism, one that finally came full circle several months ago with her Orthodox conversion.

As  a fellow Jew and one that has been married for almost two years, I feel completely qualified to give marriage advice. This whole episode is making me extremely sentimental remembering our own Jewish wedding which satisfied almost none of the requirements of a Jewish wedding and only some of the requirements of a Russian wedding.

But, regardless, I think we’ve had a pretty solid marriage so far.

So, here are my tips for marriage to newlyweds.

  1. Compromise. If you can’t compromise, wait it out.  Then throw it away.
  2. Build a home together. Then destroy it and become minimalist.
  3. Go to experiences that unite you.
  4. Go to experiences that may make you parapalegic.
  5. Marry Russian.
  6. Maintain sanity in the household.
  7. And screw yourself over every once in a while.

Mazal tov to the newlyweds.

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Friday Links

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From the blogs:

  1. Norcross on why he hates his life being optimized
  2. I always love Maya’s doodles, and this time it’s about Geneva
  3. Scary Azeri on burkas
  4. Rima has a new home!  Go check it out
  5. I’m very proud to know a person published in Slate :)
  6. Neil has a different take on Stars on Ice than I did

From the Internet:

  1. Once upon a time in Afghanistan
  2. M.I.A. is crazy
  3. Three minute trip through India
  4. One of the most stupid Reddit threads I’ve seen
  5. Obviously this post generated 141 comments
  6. Cyrillic domain names
  7. How to make brownies, Pentagon-style
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Update from the home front: my aunt comes from Russia and my mom flies free from logic

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Today, a two-for-the-price of one story treat.

My aunt

After a three-hour drive to Moscow, an 8-hour flight, 3 hours waiting in passport control at super-efficient and terrorist-free JFK and a four-hour drive to my parents’ house, my aunt, my dad’s sister, is here.  She brought lots of goodies and stories from Russia, including, for my mom, pictures and a letter from her best friend for 25 years.

There’s nothing like a visit from her to really put my life in perspective.  Not only does she make me feel 110% American (or maybe just reflects a mirror on who I really am as opposed to who I think I am,) but her stories also manage to make me feel extremely depressed, without fail, namely because every male that my dad has ever known in school is either dead, out of work, or divorced.

The first rule of the house when she comes is to always speak Russian since she doesn’t speak English.  You would think this rule would only cause problems for myself and Mr. B.

However, to my surprise, my parents struggle as well because we’ve all become experts at Runglish. As I valiantly try to purport that treffik is awful on the Beltvai, my mom explains that she went na shopping to buy sneakersi and my dad says that his friend got into an aksident in his Dzheep.

It is virtually impossible to speak perfect Russian after 20 years in immigration. Our lives are filled with driving na highwayah (which is not at all the same as vodit’ mashinu po prospektam), cooking tyurka for Thanksgiving, and  paying taxi (not nalogi) that we all hate so much.

While I tend to be more of the language purist and can usually suss out words that my parents need to translate, the issue is that I switch completely into English, but my parents use the Runglish crutch words.  How do you explain that you went to excercise v’gyme to someone who has never been in a gym because it’s not the norm in Russia? How do you explain going out to lunch for someone who lives in a homecooked culture and where going out to a restaurant is a lavish occasion that costs a hefty amount of a paycheck?

Me, the parents, Mr. B, Mr. B’s parents- we’ve all fooled ourselves. Here we are, living in a Russian emigrant community, having Russian weddings, listening to the latest Russian music, watching Russian shows, proclaiming obnoxiously on our blog banners that we are Russian and named after a strawberry, and we are all 100% American. But when we are with Americans, we feel Russian.   But it’s fun to feel American.

My mom, ornithologist

The other interesting piece of news around the house is that my mom has become the Birdman of Alcatraz.

It started with a call last week.

“I’m in the bathroom watching the bird right now,” my mom told me over the phone with an intensity she usually reserves for watching coupons.

“What bird?  What are you talking about?”

“There’s a bird in one of our pine trees (to the very left in the picture) and she’s sitting on some eggs.  She can’t leave, so I’m watching her. ”  Conveniently, this tree is located right next to our first-story bathroom window, so my mom observes the bird daily from the bathroom.

I was updated on the status of the bird for about a week, until Mr. B and I ran out of clean clothes and went to my parents’ house to do laundry, as per usual. However, when I went to turn on the dryer, my mom went Cloverfield on me. “Don’t turn on the dryer!  You’ll scare the bird and she’ll fly away!”

My mom became Overly Ornithological and there was no way I could stop her.  Only my dad could overpower her and turned on the dryer, much to my mom’s dismay.  My mom immediately ran into the bathroom to see if the bird would fly away.  Somehow, the bird persevered.  Although whether her eggs will hatch remains to be seen because, according to my mom, she has been at it for a week now, which is three days longer than another bird who was sitting on an egg in our bushes earlier in the week.

My mom doesn’t know when the bird’s eggs will crack, but I have a hunch that someone else’s eggs already have.

P.S. I know I still owe you Los Angeles, but I just can’t think of how to tie in the fact that our hotel was socialist/anarchist with a story about how I visited the locales of Ari Gold, so stay tuned.