To a Russian I am a Paradox…

paradox

A Paradox?

Paradox: reasoning from acceptable premises, leads to a conclusion that seems senseless, logically unacceptable, or self-contradictory.

That is me to a Russian…

Yesterday I talked with two young Russians. They were walking the monastery and the woman was wandering if Boza would bite. Then after I expressed that he was safe and nice, she proceeded to use the situation to ask me about the monastery and she started to rattle at a fast rate of speech. This is where Russians lose me in talking. When communicating with a foreigner, they must slow their speech down. I have to assimilate what they say and I need time to convert words in my mind. My Russian is still poor and I get along, but when someone wants to just rattle away. They lose me…

To pace the situation, I have to let them know that I am American and speak English as native language. This is when I find that almost 90% of the time, someone speaks English and in this case, the guy spoke good English. So we talked to the grouchiness of the gal, in English…

This is when I find that Russians either affirm or destroy their beliefs in who and or what an America is. For many Russians, I am the very first American that they have ever seen or even talked to. With the exception of propagandized western media and Hollywood…. The TV show “Friends” is a perfect example of what Russians see Americans as…

A Russian has a hard time getting their heads around the fact that an American would drive a Volga, live in a Tiny Russian Village and or even survive such an experience in the first place. For the Tiny Russian Village is a place of hardship for even a Russian in most cases…

Most of the time, when they find out I survived winters in a Tiny Russian Village. They look at me as if I am lying. They can not fathom this happening and then the thoughts turn to; How could a person from the land of Gold and Honey like it here? They finally realize that I am real and right in front of them. They realize that I have contradicted everything they know and yet they still have issues with the data assimilation being tossed at them. From a Tiny Russian Village way out in no mans land…

Father Pavel then came by as we talked and then they walked on together and out of the village. I thought about what I see time and time again and then it hit me…

I use to feel that changing Americans opinion about Russia was important and necessary. Now I realize that I am changing Russian perceptions about Americans and in my 10 years here in Russia, I have affected the thoughts of thousands of Russians and not a single Russian has left my presence, even if they hate me, without their old preconceived ideas, being torn asunder and restructured. Good or Bad…

I do not fit what is the accepted about Americans and I bring a new logic that falls upon the unacceptable at times. I then realized that I teach everyday and learn just as much everyday. My existence within Russia, the fact that I thrive, the fact I enjoy and the fact that I accept Russia as she is……. And do it alone in many ways…

Is the paradox…

Many more exchange students from the western world have run crying from Russia, than who accept Russia as she is. These exchange students are what many Russians know about and the diehard American who loves what Russia is and is about are few and far between. Yes, Moscow has Americans, but 95% of those Americans never leave the safety of the big city and they almost never live amongst the natives. Either due to fear or preconceived notions about mafia neck tie’s…

The English speaker that makes it in Russia, realizes it is not the ability to be Russian in all aspects that succeeds. It is the ability to see the opportunities and grabbing them. Russia is a profound experience to the ones who try. But too try is the real thought there. Russians are exceedingly intelligent and they will adapt to the necessary communication to do what is needed. Just as I adapt and betwixt them both life is expressed…

Yes I am a paradox to the Russians at times, but then I realize that I am a paradox to Americans at times…

Therefore, hate me or like me, be perplexed as to my motives and desires and or wonder why I am what and who I am; I bridge a gap that has only widened as time has passed. I am a bridge much more important than the Embassies and consulates between the countries. I live as the Russians, I work as the Russians and I embrace the Russians as equals. I bridge a gap between Russia and the western world. A gap that should have never been developed…

WtR

kKEETON @ Windows to Russia…

Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given...

A survivor of six heart attacks and a brain tumor, a grumpy bear of a man, who has declared Russia as his new and wonderful home (&) Honestly, I have no idea how much to ask for, but is a gift of even $1 something you'd be able to consider, to help keep Windows to Russia online in a Tiny Russian Village?