Sweet Potatoes, Caviar and Whatnot’s Abound…

sweet-potatoes-butterSweet Potato: In our Globus nearby, we found sweet potatoes. Sveta loves sweet potatoes (I introduced her to her very first a few years ago.) and they are very rare in Russia. In fact so rare that Sveta took some to her mother to try out. It is not often that we find sweet potatoes in the Russian stores and when we do we always buy some. They are expensive, but oh so good…

This is strange to me, because I grew up on sweet potatoes grown in the garden. Sweet potatoes were as common as green beans and asparagus and that was plentiful in my childhood. In fact it was nothing to have a choice of baked sweet potato or baked plain potato and I always grabbed a sweet potato or two if allowed. Nothing better than a split open baked sweet potato and a chunk of real butter, melting inside it…

It seems so strange that what was common from my childhood and life in general is so unknown to Sveta…

Caviar: Then we turn the table, so to speak and we come to caviar. Sveta use to eat caviar all the time. Russians are caviar consumers and it is nothing for them to eat caviar at every meal. Sveta has not been eating it, because I just have no taste for it, but Sveta loves it and I felt really bad this holidays and Sveta was not having caviar like everyone else. So I bought her a jar of caviar for New Years…

Now I did not know what type to buy and I used my best reading abilities and watching all the other people grab caviar off the shelf. After a few minutes I gathered that this little jar of Globus brand red caviar would do the trick and I guessed correctly. Sveta has danced for joy at the caviar treat that she has been eating…

Unlike Sveta loving sweet potatoes, I just can not get excited about caviar and I guess that my growing up stigmas just play too strong of a roll in my life. I explained to Sveta that caviar is for the rich and that only people who are snobs eat caviar. Remember Robin Leach? Robin Leach ended each episode of Life Styles of the Rich and Famous with a wish for his viewers that became his signature phrase, “Champagne wishes and caviar dreams!”

Now that seems strange for this American to be saying that, when Sveta looks at me and explains that why even when she was in Pioneer Camp for the kids, when she was little. They always had caviar as a daily meal everyday for weeks on end. It was as common as bread and butter…

It seems so strange that what was common from Sveta’s childhood and life in general is so unknown to me…

I guess that blows my childhood propaganda about Soviets and being socially, mentally and physically abused in all ways and means. Heck who would thunk? Soviets ate caviar all the time. That is a serious issue to contemplate when all you have learned is contrary to what you absorb on a daily basis…

This is a common way of life for me in Russia. Everyday I am reminded of how wrong I was raised and lead to believe what life was like in the rest of the world. I am always laughing and pondering over the realities that I face everyday. Even after 7 years in Russia, I am still amazed at the things that I still discover and it looks like I will be discovering another lifetime of disparities as I grow and develop even more everyday in this fantastic new world, that I have been lucky enough to have been accepted into…

Whatnot’s: Informal unspecified assorted material – that sums up tons of other things that I gather and collect in my mental file drawer everyday that I live here in Russia. The two examples above are just two tiny examples of what I interpolate everyday as I transect Russia…

Some things are the same in each country: From the store clerk that can not make change for a large bill, to the secretary that is doing her nails behind the desk and the employee that comes to work stoned…

Somethings are different in each country: From the Russian smile that is very sincere, to what lawsuit?  You can’t sue in Russia, it is your own damn fault anyway and Russian friends who do not run at the first sign of trouble…

Call me crazy but I like the Russian “Whatnot’s” the best…

Kyle Keeton

Windows to Russia…


kKEETON @ Windows to Russia…

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