Blog Series: “Letters from Russia” Chapter 3*

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I cannot understand why every human being on this planet does not want world peace. Why? WHY??

I still have much to share from my friend, Jessica Cher. We have committed to each other to not give up. It’s difficult at times, though, for both of us. The information she receives from her government almost always directly contradicts the information I give her. And though she has access to news outside of Russia, she has been brought up, as most Russians have, that Mother Russia loves you and is a part of you. You are taught to believe in the motherland above all others. We have resolved our issues by both believing we can support and love our respective countries and not support our governments. It is my opinion that President Obama has no clue whatsoever what to do outside the borders of this country, therefore, he does nothing. It is also my belief that President Putin rules with an iron fist for one reason, fear. People fear what they do not understand. Putin does not understand being Westernized and he will not stand for it in his country or on its borders.

Border countries have much to be concerned about right now and concerned they are.

Still, Jessica Cher and I persevere.

*I am changing the format slightly. Copy/pasting each conversation takes an incredible amount of time. Some conversations will be condensed though it’s integrity will not be compromised. You will also no longer see quotation marks. The comments made are direct quotes nonetheless. Hopefully, these changes will make it a more pleasant read.

So we pick up right where we left off in Chapter Two.

Jessica Cher: Have you seen those reports how happy people of Crimea now? They are happy that now they live in they motherland.

Me: I am sure there are lots of Russian citizens who are very happy about it. But the way Russia too Crimea is illegal and wrong. Putin has stated clearly that he does not want to take Ukraine. We don’t believe it. Do you?

Jessica Cher: We don’t need Ukraine 100%

Me: I soooo wish you could come to Miami for a visit.

Jessica Cher: Ahah fast friends! I’d love to come;).

Me: It is such a cool city! I’m from SC and moved to Miami 2 years ago to get married. I love it here! Always summer!

Jessica Cher: Sooo cool! It’s 4 degrees outside now. The whole world is scared of Russia right?

Me: Yes, I think so. Our leaders would never admit it but I believe it is the truth. However, we saw all nations getting along at the Olympics.

Jessica Cher:Btw did you like Olympics in Sochi?

Me: Love love love the Olympics! Especially the figure skating and the hockey. Damn Canadians. Lol!

Jessica Cher: Haha don’t want to sound rude but Russians don’t like Americans after that game on Olympics when our goal wasn’t counted. But it’s ok now, we calmed down:))

Me: Oh I know. Wasn’t that game incredible? Haha I must go to bed now. Let’s talk again soon? Just let me know when you have some time!

Jessica Cher: Ninight<3

Me: G’Nite! Talk again soon?!?

Jessica Cher: Yeah for sure!

Me: kk Good night from the USA!

I will stop here for now. You may have picked up on a pattern. Whenever she or I pick up on the fact that we may be insulting the other, we quickly change the subject. The object here is never to fight. What would be the point? The object is to show that we can work through our differences and remain friends.

In the coming chapters, you will see this more clearly.

Talk to you soon! xoxo

 

 

Thank You Russia – Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics bids Farewell

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I wrote at the beginning of the 2014 Olympics that I did not think I could do it. I did not think I could enjoy the 2014 games particularly because of its location, Russia. I was wrong.

I stand corrected.

Excusing the hotel conditions, as well as some Olympic practicing areas, it is very clear that Russia truly took the responsibility of hosting these winter games seriously. I had to remind myself, they are not American and I am not Russian. So to expect things to be done in a particularly certain way, was ignorant on my part.

I was very nervous for the USA Olympians especially, given the USA’s history with Russia. I needn’t have worried. Truthfully, I did not worry for long. Sochi, Russia went out of it’s way…in a BIG WAY to make all countries participants feel welcomed. And ended it with a sense of humor that made me inexplicably happy.

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And now, as I watch the closing ceremony (while I write this to you), I see such heart in the Russian Olympians and spectators alike. I am moved to tears in a way that I think only people of around my age and older would be. I remember the old USSR. I remember being a teen and terrified Russia was going to obliterate our country. I remember having a hard time falling asleep some nights. Fast forward 20 years and while we may not be all warm and fuzzy politically, we have come together for these Olympic games as one human spirit.

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The Olympics are a world-wide competition; a finale of sorts, proving each country’s best.  I also see people, from all walks of life…coming together. They smile and laugh together, even if they are unsure of what is being said. It has been a wonderful sight to see.

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I have thoroughly enjoyed it all. And I hope you have too. I watched far more of this years Olympics than ever before because it was truly engaging. It was amazing to see our countrymen in a part of the world that, at one time, it was impossible to believe we would ever be welcomed in. I almost feel as though I know the athletes. So much was shared about their stories. It made winning (and losing) that much more personal.

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I am so glad I gave these Olympics a chance. I hope and pray that as these Olympics come to a close, leaders around the world have taken notice as to just how affective we can be if we just work together.

Thank you Russia, for a fantastic 2 weeks. I have enjoyed every minute of it…even if it was only from my sofa in sunny Miami.

Sochi 2014 Olympics New Observations of Weirdness

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We have all heard the stories coming from Sochi, Russia, regarding the disarray of an unprepared Olympic host country. I will not bore you with the same stories (i.e. yellow tap water, unfinished hotels, etc., etc.,) Rather, my intent is to discuss my observations of the 2014 Olympics so far, from the comfort of my own sofa.

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Did anyone see this? Russian President Vladimir Putin appears in this photo to almost be smiling. Almost. As far as I have seen, this is as close to a smile as we have seen from the Russian President. Even at the end of the opening ceremony when each country’s team was introduced and it was finally Russia’s turn, still nothing. The cameras panned to him often and captured Putin, stone-faced and lightly clapping his hands. It was eery. It made me feel nervous.

I am having a hard time enjoying this year’s winter Olympics. To me, the Olympics represents sports men and women who are not only at the top of their game, but who are also dreamers. For years, they have dreamed BIG; the ultimate prize being able to represent their country and hopefully even medal in their sport in the Olympics. It’s difficult to see past the fact that the games are  taking place in a country where, for so long, dreams were repressed. .As I watch the events, I do not get that feeling of dreams being realized even now. Perhaps the competitors are a bit anxious about the venue chosen to host this year’s games. With so much that has gone wrong, I know I would be.

The events have been lack-luster at best. Seeing empty seats in the ice rinks is so disappointing. The bottom line for me, is that in order for the USA, or any country for that matter, to experience success, the competitors and the spectators need to feel comfortable at the venue. Hopefully, as the days progress, comfort will come.

I truly hope I am incorrect in my assessment. I hope everyone there is relaxed, happy and are focused with their eye on the prize. Certainly, the USA team were radiant as they entered the opening ceremony.

Please leave your comments on this one. I am interested to know your take on the winter Olympics so far. Do you feel the same as I do? Do you see it a different way? I would like to hear from those of you who are from different countries, Russia included. I suppose, on some level, I am looking for someone to put my mind at ease.

With only 70% of tickets being sold, you still have time to pack up and go. Just follow the signs…

As for me, I’m quite comfortable on my sofa, under my blanket in the USA. There is no place I would rather be.