An Everyday Adventure

The kitchen of my host family's apartment is the center of all the best moments in their home - it's where I eat quiet breakfasts while studying before classes, where we gather at night to talk about our days over sweets and fresh fruit, and it's where I have gotten to know my hosts the … Continue reading An Everyday Adventure

Déjà Vu in Dushanbe

I was hit with an acute case of déjà vu as I disembarked from the plane at 4:30 am in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. This feeling was not without due cause, for 14 months earlier I had arrived in the very same spot when I first came to Tajikistan to participate in the U.S. State Department’s Critical … Continue reading Déjà Vu in Dushanbe

Appreciating Your Time Abroad

Unfortunately, my time abroad in St. Petersburg, Russia is coming to an end. It is crazy to think that I have less than three weeks left with a city I’ve fallen in love with. Though I am excited to return home and share my experience with friends and family, I will surely miss St. Petersburg, … Continue reading Appreciating Your Time Abroad

When East Meets West: Culinary Style

Sambusa, or whatever variation of the name a particular country has, is a national dish found in most places throughout South and Central Asia. Americans are probably most familiar with the Indian version, called samosa, which usually consists of peas and other vegetables stuffed into a shell, which is then deep fried and served with … Continue reading When East Meets West: Culinary Style

Salo and Grechka and Borsch, Oh My!

Exploring Kyiv and taking in the culture has been as much a linguistic adventure as a gastronomic one. One of the cornerstones of cultural immersion is to fully experience the local cuisine, and through my homestay family, I believe I have become acquainted with the classics of Ukrainian cooking. Every day at the kitchen table, … Continue reading Salo and Grechka and Borsch, Oh My!

I Get By With A Little Help From My Host Mom

I have been blessed over these past few months with a wonderful host family experience. My host mom, Natasha, is not only great at keeping me fed and safe, but she has shown me kindness and friendship in ways that I would have never expected from her. Before I left for Russia, my professor in … Continue reading I Get By With A Little Help From My Host Mom

On Birthdays and Celebrations in Kazakhstan

I must admit that I was a little bit apprehensive about living with a Kazakh host family for the summer as a 30-year-old PhD candidate. It is difficult enough to play the appropriate roles when I visit my own parents! But so far, I have had nothing short of an amazing experience. A week into … Continue reading On Birthdays and Celebrations in Kazakhstan

A Week with a Russian Babushka

Of course they warned us. Before departing from Washington, D.C. we were told all about the frank and honest nature of the Russian people, the worlds of difference between our modes of self-expression, forms of etiquette, and so on. The honesty received from our Resident Directors and other American Councils staff during orientation was much … Continue reading A Week with a Russian Babushka

7 Lessons in 7 Days: My First Week in Russia

DAY 1: Finally, I’m in St. Petersburg -- the moment I’ve been waiting for! After how many years, I am finally here. However, it’s hard to know what to think after being in a plane for 15 hours. It’s hard to know how to take in all the Cyrillic alphabet that surrounds me as I … Continue reading 7 Lessons in 7 Days: My First Week in Russia