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Through a Russian Lens

As a toddler, I devoured reruns of Rocky and Bullwinkle, and even in the 1970s still occasionally saw the civil defense film Duck and Cover. It was an everyday occurrence to see the yellow and black signs marking the way to the nearest fallout shelter in schools, post offices, and stores. There was no escaping the Cold War’s shadow.

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.

What’s in a Name?

* Zhanna Slor *

Because the government decided to shut down immediately after I got married, weeks later, I still haven’t been able to change my last name legally with the Social Security office. Right now, about half my accounts have one last name listed and the other half have a different one. I’m in total name limbo.