You have become a bit russian if you…

Ask “Who is last?” if you are in a disorganized queue. In some institutions, such as even the Federal Migration System in Russia (which I have visited), queue numbers don't ever exist. So, as soon as you enter the room, your eyes find lots of people desperately waiting for their turn. If you don’t see the machine for taking a number, surely the first thing you must do is ask, “Who is the last one?” (кто последний? Kto posledniy?) Only locals or people who have been in Russia too long have formed this habit. Take off your shoes when you enter your own home or someone else’s…

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Tersesat di Gerbong

Ini cerita paling tolol yang pernah saya miliki seumur hidup. Selama 25 tahun saya tinggal di Indonesia yang fasilitas keretanya baru-baru ini saja dimutakhirkan, belum pernah sekalipun saya tersesat, apalagi tersesatnya di dalam gerbong di satu kereta. Tetapi, lagi-lagi, ini, kan, Rusia, bukan Indonesia. Hal aneh macam apa pun bisa saja terjadi di sini. Saya yakin, penggemar video-video ajaib sedang mengamini perkataan saya barusan karena mayoritas video janggal tentang kecelakaan (ini miris) atau kelakuan super duper aneh biasanya berasal dari Rusia.  Jadi, saat itu saya berniat pergi ke rumah nenek suami saya yang terletak di sebuah kota nun jauh dari Moskow, kota Mozhaisk. Dari rumah saya, yang…

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Giving Birth in Russia: Part 2

Actually, I want to name this post “Expectation vs Reality”, but it might sound quite ambiguous and hard to understand, especially when you only see its title, so I decided to name it differently. Let’s say that this short post is fully dedicated to a concise version of information about giving birth in Russia. Briefly, it’s kind of the second part of this post. As I said in the previous post, about a week before going into labor, I needed to be hospitalized. I had an overactive imagination about how good and how comfy the room would be, according to the picture I saw while signing the…

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Free Things-To-Do in Gothenburg — One Day Itinerary

Visiting a pricey destination needs more preparation, especially if you can’t afford a spending splurge (read: need to be stingy) and prefer to travel wisely and modestly. The most essential thing to do on your list: check free-entrance attractions or sightseeing activities available in the town. Second on your list: find other ways to spend your time if point one fails. And last but not least – let’s pray and hope that you don’t need to be a beggar in your destination country, or work part-time as a dishwasher because you are flat broke. My second destination after Stockholm is Gothenburg, another expensive city in Sweden. Under…

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Made in Russia

Sanction, sanction, sanction… Living in alienation under a deluge of sanctions sometimes has a silver lining. It means you must be super creative to fulfill the needs of your citizens under millions of boycotts that limit your opportunity to import products. And, in a country like Russia, where the government controls almost every aspect of its citizens' lives, the condition is far more complicated. Although the Russian government doesn’t block all western sites, such as Google or Amazon, we still have a problem with delivery and shipment. Some sites don’t provide shipment to Russia as their packages often disappear out of the blue with “the super service”…

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