Author Archives: Arielle Martins

Interpretation of a Dream

On my last night in Petersburg, I dreamt that I was in a hotel on some business trip.  While I was waiting in the foyer, I saw two little boys—donning golden mullets, of course—and smoking cigarettes.  And when I say … Continue reading

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A Weekend in Estonia: The Truth about Russia

“Not everything has a name. Some things lead us into a realm beyond words.” -Alexander Solzhenitsyn; historian, author, and former Gulag prisoner. I spent two days in possibly the cutest city I’ve ever seen: Tallinn, Estonia.  It reminded me a … Continue reading

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Russian Words You Should Обязательно (Obligatorily) Know

On Tuesday, I got pizza with my friend Meagan and her parents.  I’d forgotten what real crust tasted like, and, let me tell you, it was glorious.  We’d been carrying on some casual small talk, when Meagan’s dad asked me … Continue reading

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Reverse Culture Shock

I have a funny feeling that I’m going to return to the states as a total weirdo.  Even though I haven’t experienced any sudden culture shock, I’ve noticed myself picking up some utterly Russian habits. For one, I’m much more … Continue reading

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Stuff My Host-Mama Says

I will be the first to admit I lucked out in the housing selection process. My family is wonderful, I live in a great location, and the food is to die for. But once in a while, my host mom … Continue reading

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Russia: A Culture of Mistrust

You may be deceived if you trust too much, but you will live in torment unless you trust enough.  ~Frank Crane Today, I passed a bank, prominently displaying the following advertisement: For one thing, I have always loved figure skating.  … Continue reading

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The Rigors of Academia

Recently, we had a mandatory mid-semester meeting for all the study-abroad students. The purpose? To make sure that we understood what our midterm assignments were in each of our various classes. Here are some memorable student responses: “The professor hasn’t … Continue reading

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Counting Joys

Человек любит считать свои беды, но не считает радостей. -Федор Достоевский Man only likes to count his troubles, but he does not count his joys.  -Fyodor Dostoyevsky I have come to notice a большая ирония (big irony) in Russian culture:  … Continue reading

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The Longest Day

I did the unthinkable: I stayed out all night, until the metro reopened at 6am.  No doubt this is a source of pride for anyone, but—for an expert sleeper who can just about pass out on cue (usually the opening … Continue reading

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Mountains out of Molehills

Today marks Day Six of the Maslenitsa Blini Challenge. As I previously mentioned, Maslenitsa is essentially a week-long Fat Tuesday to prepare for Lent and to celebrate the beginning of Spring. I promised myself not a day of Maslenitsa would … Continue reading

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