First month in Kazakhstan: a Uighur Wedding Analogy

Before I left I was expecting to land in a different world. I mean: Kazakhstan! It seemed so far away, so foreign. But it seems that a recurring feeling that I have been having since I’ve been here is like a grandiose sense of expecting the unexpected but then being hit with something just weird. … Continue reading First month in Kazakhstan: a Uighur Wedding Analogy

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Close Encounters of the Russian Kind

"People are going to stand a lot closer to you than you're used to." It's not just Russia. Most countries outside of the United States, and some cities inside of it, lack the concept of 'personal space' as formulated by most Americans—for both cultural and, as I see it, purely logistical reasons (I can't imagine … Continue reading Close Encounters of the Russian Kind

Excuse Me Please—Thank You!

We’re all acculturated with certain ideas about politeness. Early on our families, friends, teachers, and society at large all influence us and tell us very specifically how we may or may not interact with others. Before coming to Russia I hadn’t realized how often Americans excuse themselves and apologize relative to people of other nationalities. … Continue reading Excuse Me Please—Thank You!