Immigrant Experience

Canadian Soviet flag mash-up symbolizing Canadian diversity advertising

No Air Canada, I don’t want a Russian flag on my face

Readers! I took a blogging break and it accidentally stretched into too many years (with a few exceptions here and here). Dipping my toe back in more officially now. On my mind this week is Canadian diversity advertising, brought to you by this Only-in-Canada spot from Air Canada that aired during the Olympics, called “Our Time.” …

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Russian bukvhar from 1970s

Russian Bukvar for beginners – How I almost didn’t learn Russian

I wrote a bit last time about one of my ‘immigrant identity crisis’ vignettes that I shared at the Limmud retreat. But it started with an assignment, to bring an artifact, or object, from home about our Russian-Jewish heritage. When you and your childhood home are separated by over 3,000km, digging up an acceptable artifact …

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Limmud FSU: That time I spent a weekend speaking Russian

Years of travelling and moving around the world, and I still managed to pull off a first this weekend, at Limmud FSU, a Russian-Jewish conference in Princeton. My first experience of the organized Russian-Jewish community in North America. Just how fish-out-of-water was this for me? It was a full 48 hours in when a friend turned …

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Vyertolyet - or wooden helicopter toy - a word I often forget in English

Apparently, there are words I still don’t know in English. Like apron.

I forgot the word for helicopter the other day. For the rotor, actually. And I didn’t forget so much as remember it in the wrong language. My brain froze up and then offered me nothing but a very Russian “vyertolyot“. The end result is that I have a toddler who will never know what those …

Apparently, there are words I still don’t know in English. Like apron. Continue Reading »

My KGB file

My KGB file – Yes, there was probably a file with my name on it

*Updated at bottom Excuse me while I continue to geek out on Soviet government memos… As I flip through, I’m continually amazed at the level of specificity in these memos, and to realize that “Big Brother” genuinely read all letters received from North American activists and government officials. (Paging Amnesty International.) We like to complain …

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