Dear Scott,

Oh yeah, my very first blog (insert shameless self-promotion) talked about being from USSR. My parents went back for a 2-week visit in 1997, while Jeff & I went to Ireland. My mom cried the entire time. At one point, once she actually took a shirt off her back — she met up with a friend she didn’t expect to see, someone from college & she was out of gifts. I have zero desire to go back. Less. The Minsk of my childhood is gone, the little park, the small movie theater, they are no longer there. Why should I go back? I want to go to Spain, Japan, Scotland, Iceland — but not back. Plus I don’t think it’s better for the people. I never think it gets better for the little folks. How does Putin ever “like” opposition? How free is the press? No. Life is hard & sad. And anyone who tries to work to make it different gets either dead or jailed.

Well, that got dark fast. When it comes to the old country, I’m not an optimist, because: look at the track record. Now that I am officially depressed, you should get another opinion. Maybe of someone who left the USSR when they were an adult, not 12. Because, seriously, when it comes to Russia, I’m just a collection of hatred on good days & indifference on bad days, even after more than 42 years. Also, prejudices, kind of blind prejudices. Hard to stay Switzerland when it comes to that particular subject. Also hard to change opinions formed with mother’s milk.

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Writer and storyteller, immigrant, wife, mom, knitter, collector of jokes, lover of cheap, sweet wine.

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