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Sometimes you write a post, and the words are like a huge echo. You have no idea where the words travel, who hears their tone, or in what country the human reading them is located. So, this post is just a short test to check blog traffic, and see who is still visiting LJ during the long holiday in Russia.

I can't imagine having so many days off in a row, as it is unheard of in the USA unless you are taking personal vacation. The country simply would not shut down for two weeks. I was off for too many days the past month because my office was empty, with no work to do. I almost went insane from idleness, but got to see some films in the cinema - the children's movie "Sing," "Passengers", and a very good and touching movie called "Manchester by the Sea." Plus, tons of old films on Netflix. :)

Who is here? :) Also, how many of you have heard of This is another blogging platform, with an interface similar to LJ. I am thinking about cross-posting there, as there is a mix of both Russian and English language blogs, in an effort to draw new readers and commentators to the blog. I want to continue to publish posts about my journey to the tiny gem called Georgia, but only if there are people to view the words and photos, to absorb the stories, and somehow find meaning, pleasure, or even aggravation in them.

Happy New Year dear readers! I hope 2017 is a good one...
peacetraveler22: (Default)

Today Americans begin a festive holiday weekend in honor of the Fourth of July. There was no traffic during the rush hour commute this morning, as most people are already on their way to the beach, or relatives' homes for the big celebrations on Monday. My family spends the holiday the same way every year - at our American style dacha in the forest. About this place, I've already written several times. You can see the big report here.

Huge gatherings and fireworks displays take place in all major U.S. cities, including here in Washington, DC. I never attend these massive public gatherings due to the crowds, and mainly the heat. I feel totally uncomfortable in such environments, and prefer the quiet solitude of nature or small crowds. I doubt recent terrorist attacks will have any detrimental impact, or cause people to avoid these celebrations. I can't understand those who live in constant fear, and avoid activities because they are worried about attacks, or some other tragedy. We must march on, and just be aware of our surroundings. This has always been my mentality.

All small towns light their own fireworks, locals enjoy festivals and colorful parades. American flags wave everywhere! :) This photo was taken during a parade in Fredricksburg, Virginia a few years ago. It's a big holiday for us, full of barbecues with hamburgers and hot dogs, corn on the cob, lots of tasty foods, cold beer and relaxation. I hope I can just sit as a vegetable for a few days - read, get some sleep, and rest my mind which has been too cluttered with heavy thoughts recently.

For everyone in the USA who celebrates - enjoy! And for those abroad, I hope you find a way to celebrate America's birthday somehow from afar. Cheers! :))
peacetraveler22: (Default)

I don't understand this holiday in Russia. Is it merely a religious observation, or do people also exchange gifts on Orthodox Christmas as they do on New Year's? Congratulations to those who celebrate! I'm not sure how the Orthodox church observes Christmas day, or if it varies from the Christian rituals in the USA and Europe on 25 December, but I hope everyone has a festive day! Cheers from the USA! :) Please share Orthodox Christmas traditions in comments. I'm not religious and don't observe these holy days, but is interesting to learn about cultural distinctions for celebration.
peacetraveler22: (santa)

Olivier, vodka, Putin's speech, family, friends, so many days off from work...Happy New Year!! :) I will spend tomorrow in the woods, in a secluded cabin, away from humanity and the drunkards! For me, 2015 was boring, some form of discontent began to arise, and there was almost no international travel. Things started out well in February with another amazing adventure in Russia, and then it would be another seven months before I crossed the ocean for a short trip to Southern France, to spend time with one of my closest friends. The face of LJ continued to change to become more and more yellow, jaundice was rampant and it seems that the era of intelligent writing and interest in travel stories is now dead. But I will continue to write and share thoughts about my journeys, social issues and cultural perceptions. My favorite photo of the year?let's see! )
peacetraveler22: (santa)

Before the sun rose this morning, we were up with my young nephew looking at Santa's delivery in the living room. :) What fun to watch kids and all their excitement on Christmas morning! I know this day is not widely observed in Russia, and that Orthodox Christmas is celebrated on 7 January. However, for all of my readers in the U.S. and abroad who are celebrating I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas! My mom is now in the kitchen cooking a hearty breakfast, and we will spend the rest of the day relaxing and welcoming family guests before we have a formal Christmas dinner this evening. Cheers!

P.S.: Should I publish reports in the blog next week, or will everyone be too busy with the New Year holiday to read? I'm off of work until 4 January, and will finally have time to write! 
peacetraveler22: (Default)

I can hardly imagine a life where I'm a suburban mom or wife, greeting my husband at the door in full make-up each evening in lingerie with an overflowing bosom, while the scent of a delicious dinner permeates the air. However, the holidays are all about fantasy and dreams, so I decided to role play over the weekend and turn into a seductive Santa for my imaginary spouse. :) There is one thing that is real about this scenario, and that is my love for cooking. I suppose if I ever live with a man again he will be very well fed and cared for when it comes to eating and home-cooked meals. Today, I'll show you how to make a holiday dessert called "lemon lush." I showed everyone a photo of this dish in my Thanksgiving post, and many people asked me for the recipe. So, let's get started...Read more... )
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Who knew that it was shameful to eat off of paper plates, or sip from a plastic cup? My translated post about Thanksgiving appeared in TOP LJ all day yesterday, and the comments were just a feast for the soul and mind! Many people immediately commented on the fact that my family eats off of paper plates, not porcelain or china! This is a sign of bad taste and a lower class upbringing, of course! We are poorly educated American rednecks! :)) Apparently after slaving over the oven all day cooking for 40 people, many Russians would prefer to stand at the sink in the evening for hours loading the dishwasher multiple times or hand-washing precious porcelain than demean themselves and use disposable plates and cups! My family certainly owns nice porcelain, but we don't feel the need to eat off of sparkling plates at such huge gatherings. Does the food taste different if it's served on a fancy plate? I don't think so. :) Other common observations in the comments:Read more... )
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Look who greeted me in the New Year! Weary eyed after traveling almost 5,000 kilometers in a week, I stopped at a local antique store in the rural Blue Ridge Mountain region to search for treasures. At first, I thought I was delusional due to lack of sleep during the journey. Was it really Boris, waving at me? Yes! :)) You can own this autographed poster for only $399 USD! My research indicates this is from the 1996 election, with the political slogan "Together We Will Win" written in Russian. Well, you all know the story of Yeltsin much better than me, but I vividly remember his close relationship with Bill Clinton. It was well-documented in the American media with legendary stories of Yeltsin being drunk, even roaming outside the White House in his underwear...Read more... )
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Americans are preparing for a big holiday tomorrow with the arrival of the Fourth of July. Red, white and blue to the extreme. Stars and stripes hanging everywhere, a lot of colorful parades and small town festivals. Usually, I stay at home in the Washington, DC area and watch the fireworks explode over the Washington Monument and Capitol from the comfort of my apartment balcony. However, this year we're lucky because the holiday falls on Friday, my work closes today at 2 p.m., and we're treated to a long weekend. I'll travel to our wilderness home in Fredricksburg, Virginia and try to attend the festivities tomorrow in the Old Town area. We're having a crushing heatwave here in Virginia, temps today around +35 C, but I'll do my best to suffer in the heat and photograph the local festival to show you how Americans typically celebrate their nation's birthday. It involves a lot hamburgers and hot dogs, beer, family time and guess what? FLAGS!! :))

To define America in a few words is impossible for me. I can only say I love my country, its people and the principles upon which it was founded. Yes, this is a textbook quote and to try to explain American patriotism seems impossible to a foreign audience. I've tried here on LiveJournal and can never adequately express it, or my Russian audience can't relate to the sentiment. Many readers feel our patriotism is unauthentic or a product of indoctrination, but it's not the truth. I think you must live here, absorb the diverse beauty of the nation, from its landscapes to people, to fully appreciate the country and the spirit of its people. Politically, America sometimes feels like two nations, not one. Yet on the human front, I still believe "American" is a cohesive term. A feeling that people genuinely care about and respect others, that you can come from anywhere in the world, work hard, assimilate into our society and be considered "American" in the same manner as a person born here. There are not many nations on the globe where this is possible.

Happy Birthday America! I've traveled to over 30 countries, yet there's no other place I wish to call home. 
peacetraveler22: (Default)

In America, summer has officially started! We celebrated Memorial Day yesterday, the day on which we honor fallen servicemen and women. The holiday also marks the transition from spring to summer for most Americans. For my family, the Memorial Day weekend is always spent at our American dacha. The same tradition every year, with a big parade, walks in the forest, fishing, barbecues and trying to survive with no Internet and limited mobile reception. I previously showed you my family's RV (recreational vehicle) in this post, which is parked in the wilderness in Fredricksburg, Virginia.


I don't think these types of portable trailers are so common in Russia, but in America we love them! Many people use them to drive across the country, parking the trailers at National Parks or campgrounds throughout the journey.Read more... )
peacetraveler22: (Default)

I know in Russia people are getting ready to celebrate May holidays, but I didn't remember the significance of all the days. So, I googled it and found this interesting image. In the U.S., we don't celebrate International Workers' Day on 1 May. We have a similar holiday called "Labor Day," which is celebrated on the first Monday of September. It's a national holiday, and officially marks the end of summertime. I understand that in modern day Russia the holiday has lost some significance, and it is mainly a day of protest.

Should I continue to publish reports this week, or will everyone be away from LiveJournal? How will you spend the holidays? Unfortunately, I no longer have my flight benefits through United Airlines, so my overseas travel this summer will now be much less. Soon, I'll put up a poll and readers can vote on my next U.S. destination. You will recall I did this last year, and readers sent me to Wyoming. I'm thinking of Colorado, Montana, or maybe somewhere in Canada.

I wish everyone a relaxing holiday, whether you spend it traveling or with family! 
peacetraveler22: (bear)
Originally posted by [ profile] macos at Санта-Клаус из пожарной части

It's always amazing for me to see America through the eyes of a foreigner, especially a Russian given the huge differences in our cultures. On Saturday, we took a drive to my parent's house in my hometown of Manassas, Virginia. There we stumbled upon an American spectacle, something completely ordinary to me but fascinating to my holiday guest. Santa riding through my parent's neighborhood on a shiny, bright red fire truck. This tradition has existed always, and I fondly remember hearing the sirens and running outside in my pajamas as a child to wave to the bearded man and gather candy. What follows next is Alexander's thoughts and beautiful photos. Here you see average American citizens, ordinary working folks, some even rednecks, from my hometown. So many readers are always telling me American smiles are fake or some type of forced habit. "Robots" going through life. I suggest you take a look at these photos, taken from a distance. No posing, just simple frames from an ordinary middle-class American neighborhood. Adults and children alike experiencing immense joy from a simple act of kindness. I believe Alexander captures the true spirit of American Christmas perfectly. Enjoy....!

Рождество - время чудес. Самый светлый и добрый праздник наступает в Америке. То, чего ждут весь год, произойдёт меньше, чем через сутки.

Что самое важное в этом празднике, который здесь совсем не связан с религией? Не подарки и не обильный ужин. А то, как люди относятся друг к другу, какие добрые дела они совершают. И не только в рождественскую ночь.

Совершенно случайно я стал свидетелем настоящего чуда на улицах небольшого американского городка.

Read more... )

peacetraveler22: (bear)

I once visited a winter market in Vienna, Austria. Everywhere the smell of spice, cinnamon and Christmas! Twinkling lights, romantic strolls through the narrow aisles and warm mulled wine. There are many things Europe does better than America, and Christmas markets is one of them. We have no such traditions in America, although most large cities will have some type of "holiday" market. A few days ago, we took a stroll through the market in Washington, DC. Incredibly boring, yet it has been ranked as one of the top 10 holiday markets in the country by many publications. Let's look inside...Read more... )
peacetraveler22: (bear)

Hello! My name is Shannon, and I'm an American who lives near Washington, DC. I previously showed you my day with Russian villagers in the Kostroma region, but today I want to show you how an ordinary family celebrates an important U.S. holiday - Thanksgiving.  If you ask any American what their favorite holiday is, the top two answers will be Thanksgiving and Christmas. These are the most popular celebrations in the States, and on both occasions even distant relatives gather together for large feasts and companionship. Now, let's take a look at how my family celebrates in the small town of Manassas, Virginia. Enjoy my Thanksgiving day and happy eating to all readers who celebrate this day in the USA...:)

Read more... )


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