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The Year of the Goat

I cut the string a few days after the Chinese New Year welcomed in the Year of the Monkey. I waited the extra days because I was tentative about cutting something that had been with me for an entire year, something so passive-aggressively attached. I didn’t think the cutting would hurt—the attachment didn’t go that far. But I did wonder what I would do with the string once it was no longer a part of me. I felt as though I couldn’t throw the string away, and yet to keep the ratty thing was also unappealing. The string was an accumulation of time, had gathered the experiences of that year more accurately, and certainly less ostentatiously than any journals I’d kept, any reflections I was attempting to write.

Breaking Bread

* Zhanna Slor *

Instead of knocking on wood, Russians will spit three times over their left shoulder. If a chicken crows at you three times before noon, the death of a close family member should be expected within the month. Talking about future success: bad luck. Birds that tap on your window: bad luck. Encountering or crossing the path of a funeral procession: bad luck. Bread cut with your hands instead of a knife: bad luck. A woman coming towards you with empty buckets (when would this even happen anymore?): bad luck. There is a very distinct pattern emerging here: nearly everything in the Soviet Union was a cause of bad luck! Though I really think most of it could just be attributed to living in the Soviet Union.