Russia, how we, well, shiver at thee. I would say ‘love’, but my teeth are chattering too hard.
When I think of Russia, I think of cold. Cold and miserable people, and a steady stream of crooked and dictatorial governments since the dawn of the country itself. I think something about the cold makes people angry, and makes it necessary for the strongest to become ruler. Ergo, we are left with a ton of strong and hard-to-shift mean rulers. Poor people.
At least they have Babba Yaga and Borscht. There`s some culture most of the world is aware of, and they can be proud of. Heck, I love me some good architecture, and I`ve been drooling over Saint Petersburg`s onion domes since I was nine, and watched a weird Russian themed Aladdin. Strange to say, I have no clue what that movie was about. But I remember those onion domes, and I love them even now!
I love Russia, even if its climate doesn`t love me.
And the borscht, like I said earlier. I love borscht. I have no clue why, as the only kind I`ve had looked blood red, and should have been rather scary. But it wasn`t. It was wonderful. My best friend, Adam (do I really need a codename, with his particular name?) whipped up a pot of this for some friends at some hair brained event I plotted up in high school, and I`ve loved my beet stew ever since. Which really is strange, because I used to be terrified of beets. When people whipped out the beets at Thanksgiving, I`d shy away from them. I was sure they were really blood roots, turnips reddened by, well, blood. Maybe I read too much vampire fiction in my youth. That would be difficult to do, as I though that most Disney movies were terrifying, let alone the type of vampire story they had before vampires somehow became romantic figures. I guess my subconscious denies logic, which also makes sense with my personality. But then I had borscht, and I don`t bother glancing at the color of it anymore. I`m too busy slurping every last drop! (daintily slurping, of course.)
There is something else pretty amazing about Russia. Everyone is wary of everyone there.
This may not sound like a bonus, as that paints the Russian people as a group of paranoid jerks. Not true, all in all. Actually, the Russians I know are quite warm and inviting once you are in a personal space. I guess centuries of crazy autocratic leaders have led them to be more cautious in their affections in the public sphere, though. Can`t say I really blame them for that.
But even if they weren`t friendly in the private sphere, that could still be a plus. First of all, I think it would be a huge relief to be treated the same as everyone else. Well, a relief if you weren`t used to such treatment. But it would be amazing for a young man whose father was killed by the reasoning that his skin color was a poison to the world. Terrifying, to say the least. I`m so glad that I live a life where I don`t see much violence enacted before my eyes.
I may not be Black, and have the corresponding civic right to help record the plight of those who are, but I still enjoy interesting stories. That`s why I took History of Britain as my elective this semester, remember?
Oh, sure I know racism and violence exists. It is just so nice that I don`t get the permanent scarring that viewing such events inevitably bring. I already had nightmares for a year after watching a concentration camp movie that was edited for a child aged audience. (In high school, to boot!) I don`t think I could survive real violence happening before my very nose. Does that make me weak? Yes. But I am not ashamed that evil terrifies me, and I hurt so much for those that are so deadened to it, those that think a shooting is only a terrible event once you add a lot of victims to the list, and drop their ages to toddler stage. (Like the Sandy Hook Massacre) I don`t understand how others can simply watch the news and nibble on popcorn, calmly watching bombing victims and gang violence, innocent bystanders bleeding as they nibble on some bon bons. Where is the humanity in such actions, such callousness? I am proud that I still feel pain for such terrors, and the only way to preserve that wariness of evil is to try and avoid it as much as possible, to prevent a numbness from setting in.
And now, for something Not-So-Different…
But this man escaped much of this when he fled to Russia. Not exactly heralded as the land of the free, especially as this took place during Stalin`s Communist regime. But he found a peace in being excepted as a worker, and never mind such a silly question as whether he had the right skin color or not. I think there is beauty in that freedom, and it is so gratifying to see that someone`s life went well during the Depression and rise of Communism.
And there is always beauty in tolerance. Though I must say I prefer that people embrace the outlying beauty of their fellow humanity more than merely tolerate those who possess different traits than themselves.
If you want to actually see this movie, you can head on over to the blog I found it at: thewritelifeshow.com
If you want to learn more about onion domes, you can head on over to caelmettera. That`s where I also found the lovely photo!
I couldn`t begin to list all of the different regional variations of borscht. So I thought I`d just leave you with this recipe, and the blog whose photo I borrowed.