Russia Has Some Strange Ways For a Westerner to Understand…

To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries: Aldous Huxley…

I have mentioned many things over the years and many things that I have mentioned are about the strange ways that Russians do things. I thought that today I would talk about these things, that even after 7 full years, I still find it strange, but I would never want it to change. For all the strange things Russians do are what makes me love Russia…

1. You walk/drive in Russia! You will find that hardly anyone looks at you. They know you are there and they try to watch with their head down and determine your path. They very rarely look you in the eyes. I find by this action alone, that Russians are introverts and they make me a extrovert in comparison. Even though in America I am a introvert, that is not true in Russia. I look at peoples eyes (Or try to!) as I walk and I drive. It is a known fact to me, that Russians try to drive the way they walk and I set that as an example to why Russians are terrible drivers…

2. A Russian and their shopping cart! I have never seen the likes of how dangerous a Russian is pushing a shopping cart. They are totally dissociated with the fact that their shopping cart is a solid object and it will hurt or maim people as they ram it through the isles of a big store. It would be hilarious if I was not the one to be attacked all the time, but I am it seems to be forever slammed in the ankles with a shopping cart. They never run into Sveta and she does not understand why I get testy with Russians as they run over me with those damn shopping carts from hell. This is another case of a perfect example about how they drive their cars and walk…

3. That cashier at the store! I have no issues with this type of way to handle business. I know how to make sure that they will deal with me and that frown and hateful expression that is there anyway, will be accurate when I am done. A cashier in Russia 9 out of 10 times will despise the fact that you even dare to want to buy something. Why just today, my cashier at the corner store who was new and was having a discussion with the security guard (While the store was full of people who just might steal things! :)), decided that I could stand there and wait, while she discussed fingernail color with the female guard. So I took a 10 ruble coin and made enough noise to wake the dead, as I tapped it on the stainless counter. This was the sign to give me some mean looks and I was satisfied. For I would have received the same mean looks whether I woke her up or not. For I could have stood there for 5 minutes and been treated the same. The security guard was laughing as she ran off, for this was a new cashier and the others have dealt with me before. I buy a lot of food from them and they know it, next time I know she will be alert to me…

Continuing on a cashier: This is normal in Russia and I would have it no other way. I have learned when I am by myself, to judge the situation as I come up to pay. I may drop something from a higher level and create a loud smacking noise and see if that gets the attention of the cashier. It is simple in Russia, a cashier does not like you to bother her. Even though that is her job. I let Sveta deal with it when we are together…

Oh – we all know about the worthless cashier in America, but that is the exception not the norm…

4. The drink cooler! All over Russia are drink coolers. You know! The ones that sit inside a 7-11 and hold beer, Coke, Pepsi or what ever needs to be cold. They have doors on them and do a good job of keeping that small bottle of soda nice and cool. Well in Russia you may find that one out of twenty coolers actually work. Well I should say they work, but they are never plugged in. They are just storage units to hold room temperature soft drinks. They sit outside, inside and anywhere that someone wants to have a way to lock up their drinks, but not to cool them. I always wonder every time I get a drink from a kiosk and they hit the button to let me open the door to get my drink, as they watch with eagle eyes, to make sure that I do not run with more than one that I bought. I am not sure why they would think a fat bear would run with any of their drinks, much less hot drinks from a should be a cold cooler. I am use to it and would have it no other way now…

5. Children will be outside and there is no exceptions! I am sure that this next thing is because of the fact that winter is half a year or more, but the Russians believe that your child goes out and pays, no matter what the temperature is. Now they have appropriate clothes for these occasions, but the fact is that it can be -30 C and the playground is full of kids. They simply seem to have no aversion to cold. These little monkeys as I call them, can play for hours outside at subzero temperatures and never bat an eye. They are tough and that is that…

To go along with this train of thought: People pull there kids everywhere on sleds. The kids get on and are in for a wild ride, as mom goes to do her things. I have seen kids left behind and seen kids dumped in snow banks up to their ears. They take it in stride and one thing that seems to be very true, Russians kids do not cry at the drop of a hat and they have super grips as their hands have to hold them onto a sled that is being drug over hill and dale…

6. Russians don’t value money as much in comparison to western counterparts. It is of course a better life with money than without money, but to have lots and lots of money is a really a bad thing! Being a rich person, you are considered to be unfair and a greedy type of people. If you are rich – don’t ever boast about your money. It will come back on you and you may not be rich very long. Many Russian people live from salary to salary and often borrow money when they can from neighbors and family. Russian people are a more than a bit lazy at times and don’t always earn much money, but that is what makes them unique! They get away from the high-speed money race that is so common in the west. They are able stop and look around in time and see the beauty of the world and people around. I like to call it, “Stop and smell the Roses!”

I find that my way of thinking falls into the same category as Russians and I find that money is evil also…

I will end this today, because I could write forever about differences. Maybe I will write another soon and tell about even more differences. I see them all the time and I thought I would end this with: One curious thing about Russia…

It has become strange now for me, I watch foreigners coming from (so called rich) western countries to Russia for the first time – they are stunned (good and bad) by everything they see here. But then they stop and absorb what they have seen. Many do not understand what catches their eye, mind or soul in this badly organized, gloomy and cold world that Russians live in. But it is not abnormal that they come back again and again and again, to feel the Russian inner soul, traditions, customs and culture…

They are ready to drop their pretenses of the west to be able to feel the Russian collectivism, hospitality, friendliness and disorganization, but also at the same time to feel how wonderful it is – just to live life as a real free person, in mind, body and soul…

That is why I love Russia…

Post by Kyle Keeton
Windows to Russia…


kKEETON @ Windows to Russia…

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