I will post more pictures from the wedding. I am very-very-very tired, both emotionally and physically. And I am very happy for Vlad and Dylon.

The wedding was all about them, which is how it should be, but I was standing there in the crowd and recalling many past moments, starting from the image of this tiny thin baby body with match-like limbs. I with two five-year-olds, exiting the Immigration Office at ORD on October 23, 1996. Our endless conversations, and our conversation “about that.” And Vlad crying on my shoulder on the corner of State and Washington in broad daylight.

And when we returned home, I asked Boris (rhetorically, of course): how could it happen that we did everything wrong, and it turned out so perfect?! It’s scary even to think about how horrible things could turn if I won’t go to the US, fearless out of shire ignorance, having no idea what I am doing. All my decisions I was most criticized for, but especially these two: that I decided to have babies in the most inconvenient moment of my life, the life of my country and history in general, and that I decided to go to America and take my kids with me.

Not calculated, not thought-through, and completely irresponsible…

Do What You Love

I had two almost identical conversations recently: one in London and one in Chicago. In London, I was chatting with the driver on my way to Heathrow, which, as I mentioned before, took two and a half hours. It started with me replying to the question of whether I had visited London before; I started with “when my younger son turned twenty-five,” and then it took a different turn. As often happens, the driver was shocked to hear that I have an adult son, especially when I said that that’s my younger son, and it has been a while since he was twenty-five. Then I had to spell out how old I was, and after that, he was not interested in my prior visits to London. Instead, he asked me, “how am I doing that,” why I look so much younger, and whether I exercise, and so on :), which was rather funny.

I told him that I loved want I am doing. I keep telling the same thing to people, especially since I started my current job. Not only do I love my line of work in general, but at this job, I love what and how I am doing, and I love the people I work with. It brings me joy to see that my expertise and skills are needed, and honestly, I even feel physically better recently. I am very busy at work, and some days are crazy, but this is a different kind of busyness, not exhausting. I am busy doing my job, and I am happy I can do it well.

I shared all of the above with my driver. He said: but it is not always possible. Then he started to talk about his life, how he had to quit attending college at some point to provide for his family, and how his wife graduated and now works in the medical field. He mentioned that he is returning to college, and we talked about what he wants to do next.

At the end of our trip (he went above and beyond getting me to the airport on time in the midst of the transportation strike), he thanked me for the talk and said that I gave him directions in life (and yes, we also talked about parenting, exercise and (un)healthy eating habits :)).

The second conversation happened in the BMO Harris local branch, where I stopped to deposit a check. This time, I do not even remember what started the conversation (the bank branch was empty, so the specialists were happy to converse with somebody). I do not remember how it jumped from me being a perfect customer to “what do I do,” and I do not even recall whether my age came up, but in five minutes, it was the same “tell me your secret,” and “how I can become like you.” And I told him the same thing I told the driver in London, and his reaction was very similar (“I am writing it right here, on my hand, and I am not going to do anything with this hand, and I won’t wash it, and I will always remember it”)

It was so funny and sweet that I smiled all the way while I was walking back to the office.

I thought again about how fortunate I am that I have a job I love and how unhappy I was each time it was not the case. And although I can believe that people may be happy and content without loving their job… I sort of don’t believe it ๐Ÿ™‚

NATO Voting

Just one big sigh of relief. I know this is very egotistical, and I know that Finland has reasons to worry about future attacks while Ukraine is under attack right now, but still – a huge relief. One reason for my feeling this way is the concern that Boris expressed some time ago: what if when Russia attacks Estonia, Turkey would say that NATO should not defend her? I mean, as Anna said, that’s the whole idea of NATO, but any treaty is as good as all of the participants follow the terms. Yes, we live in a civilized society but

And One More

Even though I already wrote several blogs in relation to the one-year Russian invasion, there are still a couple of things I wanted to mention.

The first thing is about the dominating mood of the anti-war protests. A year ago, these protests had a distinct mood of endless grief. When I blogged about the rallies a year ago, I mentioned that it was the first time in my life that I participated in the rallies, and they were not energizing. Usually, when you protest, you feel empowered by the people who are protesting with you, and you feel like you make your voice heard. In the wake of the war, the mood was completely different: pain and sorrow dominated, and the sense of eternal loss was in the air.

It was different this year. The mood was: we know what to do, and we’ll raise our voices so that the people in charge will hear us. The was way more offense and way more energy. Which is good. Once again, I hope that we made at least some difference.

And the second thought I had was prompted by the Facebook post of my friend. On February 24, marking this grim anniversary, she blogged about “many things that didn’t happen” because the war started.

As for me, I feel differently. The start of the war was not a volcano eruption that took human lives suddenly and unexpectedly. Although the war, indeed, ended lots of innocent people’s lives, it was not a force of nature. It uncovered the confrontation between Russia and the rest of the world, which many people didn’t want to see. Many people, including myself and Boris, tried to support some positive things we could see here and there and refused to see the uncontrolled destructive power behind the facade. So I’d say – yes, there were many things that didn’t happen because the war started. But it’s in some sense good that they didn’t happen because all of the illusions are gone.

I felt something similar (although of a very different nature) about the pandemic. In some weird way, I didn’t want it not to happen. It ruined all my plans for 2020, but I learned so many things about people, their relationships, about what is important and what is not that I would not ever trade this experience for blissful ignorance.

When the war started, it became impossible to pretend that “things are not that bad.”

About Chivalery

I entered the Cook County building for early voting. When I reached the elevators to the sixth floor, I saw a middle-aged black woman and a middle-aged white man approaching the same elevators from the other side. When the elevator came down, the man moved aside to let us in first, saying, “there is still some chivalry here.”

We reached the sixth floor, and he let us out first, holding the door. When we entered the registration room, the black lady said: why won’t you go first? You hold the door for us. He replied: “There is still some chivalry here. Ladies first.”
I survived that and didn’t comment; instead, I smiled and said, “thank you.” Then we filled in our forms and gave them to the clerk. The clerk checked them one by one. She asked the black lady whether she knew how to use the machine. She didn’t ask the middle-aged white guy. And then she asked me.

Andโ€ฆ well, that’s the end of the story.


Yesterday, I was browsing my Russian social media feed. I am not doing it consistently, but there are still several people about whom I care deeply. lthough they read this blog using Google translate, if they post something, it will be in Russian, ad that’s a primary reason I check this feed periodically.

Unfortunately, no matter how hard you try, you can’t perfectly filter your feed (which might not be so bad because this way, you do not lose touch with reality). Anyway, I am going through the feed, and I see a repost from “somebody” who is anti-aggression – antu-putin-glory-to-Ukraine et al., and they publish a satire about Putin looking for his “historical roots” while visiting Africa. It is extremely difficult for me to describe this piece, but I have to, so please forgive me.

This satire goes to the effect that he feels at home with African tribe chiefs, and he strips himself naked and puts a ring in his nose, and dances with them around the bonfire, and now he has a legit right to eat human flesh, and that’s where his real place is. I was sick to my stomach by the time I finished reading, and jumped to the comments.I started to type something about “how you can insult African nations in such a way, but then I realized that the reader would take it as a joke! I looked through all the comments which were posted by that time, and there was not a single one noticing how wrong this whole thing is! All comments were like: That’s excellent, perfect, yes, that’s the right place for him! And nobody, NOBODY….

Time Is Still A Non-Renewable Resource

Time-time-time… You can never get the wasted time back. And you never have enough time t do everything you want to do. Ok, I am not sure about you, but I definitely don’t!

One of the newest things I am trying to fit in my life is this: I have the option to write about pretty much anything I want. And not only to write but to be published. And not only published but also paid for it.

And I have so many ideas! In fact, I, like many others, write these imaginary articles in my mind when I walk around. I feel like I already wrote something, just to realized that it is still all in my mind ๐Ÿ™‚

Today, work came on it’s way. I had to start something at 6 AM, hoping that I would be done by 10 AM, and ended up being barely done by 4-30 PM with still some cleanup having to be done later.

I still hope to find some time during the weekend to write at least one article. I swear, it is almost written! I just need to type it up ๐Ÿ™‚

Field Museum Exhibit

On Sunday, Boris and I went to the Field Museum to see a relatively new exhibit, Death: Life’s Greatest Mystery

I wanted to go to this exhibit with Boris because the subject of the exhibit is uncomfortable to many people, and I knew for sure that it won’t be uncomfortable for him, and that our views on the subject of the exhibit are similar.

Did I see what I expected to see? Yes and no. I expected a little more comparison of different cultures, rituals, and religious views. It was all present, but less than I expected. On the other hand, more emphasis was on “what do you think?”

The model of ta dead whale sank to the bottom of the ocean becoming a foundation of a new ecosystem
I was not aware of that concept. It basically means you are dead (or is not born yet, I guess) until you are baptised
Continue reading “Field Museum Exhibit”


Several posts in drafts and too many things going on. Just this one thought I wanted to post today. I am shocked not only by the Dnipro horrible war crime but also by the reactions of many people in Russia. There was only one person who messaged me with a normal (at least what I believe is normal) reaction. And I know there are several other people who think the same way, even though they didn’t message me. But these people are inminority.