The Long, Long, LONG road to Varna

Content 18+

My wife Liuba is from Omsk, and many hard, frozen, poverty-stricken years there did nothing to damage her health.But all it took was four winters amid the belching smokestacks and poisoned atmosphere of Moscow for her to contract a chronic bronchial infection. During her last two years in the megapolis, often amid endless bleak rains that more and more prevail there because of climate change, our apartment was … Read the rest

Happiness And The Book Of The Dark

Content 18+

I am blessed by the fact that my students and other friends are always sending me interesting things to read. One I got recently was an excellent article by a writer I hadn’t heard of named Cody Delistraty on the theme of what he termed the “relentless, competitive” quest for ‘Happiness” and how people today often make themselves miserable trying to obtain it.

I use the word “obtain” … Read the rest

Shadows Gather

(The eye, altering, alters all) -- William Blake

Content 16+

One of my more engaging and creative young Chinese students (a girl of 13 years) recently started an essay with the following title: ‘Imagine that you are someone’s shadow for a day.’  In the first paragraph, she asks, “Can you choose whose shadow are you or would you just come into existence when someone is born or when the person … Read the rest

The Winters of My Summer Afternoons

Content 18+

I any of you ever wondered, Eric and I are not just bloggers, but writers, so the blog was always sort of a hobby. While my books were published mostly in Russian, Eric is obviously publishing in English, and there is his new book, The Winters of My Summer Afternoons, available on Amazon already!

And I quote here, as it would be hard to say it better:… Read the rest

The City (And Nation) I Loved So Well

Content 18+

I remember flying into Moscow in 2007 with delicious misgivings. Brought up in America during the Cold War, the Soviet Union was always presented to me as the Factory of Godless Communism, and I knew I would never see the inside of it. But I was curious (a common response to Russia on the part of non-Russians everywhere then and now).

pexels pixabay 372297

Then suddenly, after becoming a teacher … Read the rest

O Vapid Voyeur, Let’s Walk In The Rain

Content 21+ (published as is, blog owner may have different opinion from the author) One of my teenage Russian Skype students, a very bright young fellow named Maxim, is more or less obsessed with cars. Often at the weekends he visits the Moscow dealerships just to check them out. But his interest does not go the usual route of jargon-signifying chatter about what’s under the hood and snorting demands of … Read the rest

Two Saints: Paul and Augustine, 1967

Content 21+ It was my first plane ride, and the stewardesses had no choice but to be beautiful back in those days; it was part of the job. Even now, I can see the reason. It was to inspire confidence. Aviation was not as safe then as it supposedly is now. I have never looked at the statistics, but I do know — from my grandfather’s own account — that … Read the rest