I speak the language, I celebrate the holidays, and when I go back to New York after visiting relatives in the motherland and hand my Russian passport to the Russian customs official at border control, watch him quickly flip through it, and then haughtily sneer at me as he asks “, where’s your visa?
” it is with the greatest relish that I slap my American passport onto the desk and yell “That’s my visa! I was born into a crumbling communal building in St.
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All of which is to say, I am dual in every way, and my plethora of multicolored passports is a worthy symbol of the cultural mish-mash of my personality. The first thing that you’ll notice when you get to Russia is that the women are astoundingly beautiful and immaculately presented.
They will sashay past you with their wobbly stilettos (which are worn even over blocks of ice) and designer bags (which carry a full pharmacy complete with a mini shoe polish and handwipes) and, if you tell them you pluck your own eyebrows and only get a facial once a month, will look at you as though you have just clawed your way out of a swamp.
Petersburg in 1988, moved to New York when I was five, and then moved back into a different crumbling communal building in St.
Petersburg after graduating from my overpriced New York liberal arts college.
Having grown up in New York, I had taken for granted that people were always striving for something, or at least striving to be striving for something.