[18 December, 2008]

Я не знаю вас, больше

I am trying to manage the expectations of both cultures, I really am. But I think I am going to break.


The other day, we sat at a hip (and expensive) San Francisco restaurant; I only slightly enjoyed the company and downed the wine. Across, in a booth, sat a group of young carefree girls. They laughed over their seafood dinners, played with their hipster jewelry and took silly photos. There, I thought. There is the epitome of the urban 20-something American perfection. Friends, fun, bright smiles. It doesn't work when you are lonely or grumpy or don't like to show your teeth. It doesn't work for me and I don't work for it. No matter how hard I try.

The next day after dinner, my mom picked up a book of Akhmatova's poetry from my bookshelf. It was dark outside and my mom began to read her words, which was soul-wrenchingly lyrical and slightly uncomfortable. There, I thought. The epitome of the Russian-intellectual evening. The generational passing down of quiet wisdom. Something I long to belong to and something I'm not sure I'll be able to do myself.

They say this duality is a blessing, an extra set of skills. But I end up feeling estranged from both sides. Not reading the right books, not playing the right games, not laughing at the right jokes.


I'm sorry I can't be a better member of either of your cultural circles.

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