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Tuesday, January 25, 2011


So some of you know that I work for a Russian travel agency. It is seriously my dream job -- I get to sit at home in my pj's and write stuff all. day. long. And I get paid REAL MONEY to do this, which is, you know, a nice perk to any job.

Monday morning, I woke up to my mom flipping through Yahoo's news. She called me to the computer to show me this article. And my heart dropped.

I did a post about it on the company blog. My job over the past six months has required me to research the crap out of Russia. I am well on my way to being a certified Russia expert (if they handed out certifications for such things) and even attempted to learn the language awhile back (further proving my destiny to be unilingual). I could tell you way too many details about Moscow, St. Petersburg, Uglich, Yaroslavl, Goritsy, Kizhi Island, Siberia, and the upcoming Sochi Olympics in 2014. I have spent a lot of time flipping through Google pictures of St Basil's and the Hermitage.

All this research has made me realize just how little most of us know about Russia. It's always been "that really big European-ish country that used to be communist, right?" and most people have no clue what charoite is. This is due in part to the craziness of an oppressive government a few years back, but thanks to a lot of non-crazy people, Russia is much more open now, which is why I have a job at all.

But now this attack. Attacks like this change a lot. Or tend to. After 9/11, people got very hesitant to visit NYC, as though the entire city became a ticking time bomb of destruction. Every terrorist attack turns the victim country into a giant, flashing warning light that scares everyone away. This, though, is what I am trying to encourage people not to do.

This country is incredible. Ever since I saw the cartoon movie Anastasia as a kid, I have had a special place in my heart for it. And it is awful to think people might miss out on getting to know Russia because of gutless fear-inducers.

I know most people who read my blog aren't world travelers, so my sum-up message isn't the same as it was on the post I did for the company blog. To you, I say simply: don't let events like this control you. So many people get corralled through life by fear and miss out on so much wonder. It's not worth it. Listening to fear isn't worth it.


Kathryn Rose said...

I teach adults ESL in Los Angeles, and the majority of my students are Russian. I love Russian culture too - my favorite literature course in uni was Russian lit (Pushkin FTW!). My students were so sad to hear about what happened yesterday; I was too. Love that quote over top the picture. So very true.

Patti said...

That was a very sad story. That's a great quote in the picture.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

It's disgusting some lowlives think killing innocent people going about their daily business carries some kind of message or accomplishes anything. I know the people in Russia will not give into the fear anymore than we did in America.

Wyman Stewart said...

Nyet! Komrade, was it not recently we returned to Russia several of their prize spies, who enjoyed many years inside our Democratic Republic spying for their homeland?

Indeed, visit this wonderful culture! It runs through many time zones, races of people, cultures, and conflicts, if you travel through the entire former Soviet Union. It crosses from Europe, borders the Middle East, passes East into Asia. It begs to be understood.