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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Real Russians Exist

russian-israel-flagMy four kids came from a Russian subculture that was not the best that the Motherland had to offer.  They knew starvation, abuse, deprivation, neglect, and a whole host of other maladies.  It was the underbelly of the beast.

As you know, my family background is Russian.  All four grandparents came to America from the Old Country.  We spoke Russian when the children were first adopted, and continue to have them read, write, and speak Russian, attend Russian camps (not to learn Russian, but for Russian children who speak Russian), and work with Russian tutors.  They have come in contact with many Russians in America and elsewhere.

But it never ceases to perplex most of them, that real Russians, those who are kind and caring, those who don’t beat IDF female soldiers - httpwww.jr.co.ilpicturesisraelhistory2008a4429.htmchildren nor starve them exist.  They simply cannot imagine it.

Here we are in Israel, and Russian Israelis, not to mention boatloads of Russian tourists and pilgrims, are visiting.  Our teens’ heads whip around.

“Shtoh?” (what?) they wonder every time they hear Russian being spoken.

It’s like being in Mini-Moscow.

IMG_5799.preview“Listen, it’s Russian, and it’s going to continue to be Russian,” I explain.  “Yes, they don’t speak a whole lot of Hebrew or English, so don’t be surprised.”

They stand in their very first falafel shop, trying to decide which condiments would complement chickpeas and tahina.

“Baklazhan?” (eggplant?) asks the vendor in Russian, sizing them up immediately.

The kids start giggling and the guy asks their names.  Before long, they order their pickles, peppers, and Diet Pepsis in their native language.

I can see it dawning on them that there is a Russian middle class. They have the dyengi to travel, to visit cafes, to dress 756313730_d5125e7c79_znicely.  Or, they can emigrate to other countries and make a decent life for themselves there, as well.

Never mind my side of the family.  I guess we were “family”, so we didn’t count-!  Never mind the many Russians we chatted with while in Russia– sweet, dear people who said “God bless you” when they figured out we were a newly-adoptive family. The children probably had so many other immediate memories of becoming a family that these other issues paled in comparison.

In my opinion, it’s good for the kids to understand that Russians don’t become “good” only when they come to America.  It’s a natural correlation or theory that makes sense from their point of view, yet is so wrong on so many levels.

IMG_6312.previewThese are “real” Russians, straight off the plane, who somehow prove to the teens that they are not imagining that they were once there.   While their experiences were anything but pleasant, they now understand that Russians can run the gamut of personalities and behaviors, just as any other nationality.

While this may appear to be an elementary observation to many, for us, it continues to be revolutionary and relevatory.  Healing in many ways, we might say.


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2 Comments : Leave a Reply

  1. avatar Sarah says:

    Hello Alexandra, Yes there are very nice Russians in Russia and outside of Russia. As some one who goes to school with 56 Russian families they are different and separate themselves much more than the other families from all over the world that are a part of our expat community here. The Russians at our international School are nice but really keep to themselves until they know you well. They also always have a gripe or want to exclude others quite often. Either they aren’t true Russian meaning it isn’t as good to be Belarussuan, Ukrainian or god forbid Kazak or Uzbek. Lucky for us our kids are true Russians as they tell me and one of them is best buds with one of Putins oligarchs sons. Even my household help has to be true Russian so my kids have the right accent. Another thing is So and so doesn’t have good enough russian for the Russian classes or cursive writing isn’t pushed hard enough here I could go on and on. I think they are nice but they are a different breed that is hard to crack. I truly believe this is all due to their history and what they have all been though. The environment of suppression and informing on each other has left very deep scars which is understandable. It is a very tough place and it’s people are truly effected by it. Russia is complicated and the effects of the country can be seen not only on the orphans that are lucky enough to get out but also the well to do Russians who are lucky enough to leave. It is a shame the situation is still continuing there. What do you think?

    • avatar admin says:

      Complaining is a very “Russian” trait, lol, if we can paint with a wide brush. I know of many adoptive families around the world whose kids are never truly accepted as Russian. That’s a shame. Some parents want to send them to Saturday Russian school, and even the other parents won’t really speak with the a-parents if their Russian is not good enough. It is what it is.

      This trip has semi-stumped me because in the US, my kids will speak with any Russians. Here, other than Russian-Israelis that we personally know… not so much. They actually seem to be shying away from the Russians the older they get. I think that, for them, maybe it indicates that they’re adopted. This is an age of blending-in… sigh….

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