Saturday, June 25, 2022

June 2022

So, we are 4 months into what's happening in our part of the world...though, of course, we live pretty far from the border!  


-Lots of western businesses are closing, with Russian ones opening in their place. For example, our favorite Finnish grocery store chain closed, and just reopened in the same place with a Russian chain. As an expat, it's surreal to see everything happening in reverse. I've been traveling to/living in Russia for 25+ plus years, so I've watched globalization happen before my eyes, with lots of brands from different countries becoming prolific. I remember when IKEA opened here! And now one by one, the same companies are leaving. It's not a BIG deal, until you need specific medical supplies...even something like frames for your glasses. Or parts for your foreign-made appliance or electronic device.

-Lots of celebrations are being held as usual. Some of it is more patriotic and some just traditional. There is a sense that everyone is ready to celebrate after being locked up with Covid for so long (I honestly can't remember which celebrations were held last year. I think there were still parades, but we also had family members in the hospital with Covid, so it was still very much a precarious situation) Speaking of patriotism, Russian schools are starting to hang the flag and sing the national hymn each day. Ironically, they probably got the idea from American schools.

-Mobilization is ongoing. Remember my playground friend, Lena? Yesterday after I had held her 4 (?) month old baby, she told me that her husband had joined up. He'll be helping to destroy specific targets. Honestly, I didn't understand the whole explanation, but I'm not sure I want to know. And what could I say to a fellow mother, left at home with an infant and 3 year old? Some might think it is shocking, but the United States also does not have the best reputation in terms of invading other countries. I can think of lots of times when occupation occurred despite protests. And yet, most of those protesting had never been friends with a military family. It's a similar situation here. The point is not to justify anyone's actions, but to ponder our response to those who are culturally different from us due to their involvement in the military. It's one thing to observe from afar, and another situation when you talk to someone in person. 

-Some friends have emigrated, but it's not really openly discussed, so I often find out after the fact. It all feels so final! It's one thing when you still live in the same city and imagine that you might bump into each other. And now everyone is spreading out all over the globe. I think a lot of international workers go through this when they change assignments every few years. But I tend to spend more time with locals than expats, so it is an odd feeling being the one left behind!

I'm out of time, but wanted to give a quick update! I read plenty of news from different sources, but various topics are either too controversial or too sad to write here. 


  1. That all seems so sad. Since I was in Russia last, I've always wanted to return, and now it seems a little - less likely. Not that I wouldn't want to; it just looks difficult.

    1. I don't know if it's really "dangerous," but border officials have been instructed to interrogate people that seem suspicious. But outside of official contexts, people are pleasantly surprised nowadays to see foreign passports, since many ex-pats have left and there aren't as many visitors.


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