My Canadian uncle visited Ukraine and was very impressed.
“In the US and Canada, we are totally backwards compared to Ukraine,” he said. “We are at least 50 years behind Ukraine in everything.”
When asked by his puzzled Ukrainian relatives what it was he liked so much, the Canadian uncle said that life was much more comfortable for pedestrians and he saw the latest models of extremely expensive cars everywhere, even in a mining city he visited.
Of course, what he saw as a sign of social advancement was in reality an enormous social and economic stratification the likes of which he never encountered in Canada.
North Americans often tell me, “I just visited Ukraine and it was phenomenal. I have no idea why you even left such a wonderful country.” They don’t realize that their experience there is so nice precisely because they come as tourists with their pockets full of Canadian or American dollars.
As to being backwards, my mother just put on a New Year’s concert from Russia where people ridiculed Angela Merkel for being too “manly.” I’m not a huge fan of Merkel but I can imagine no greater sign of backwardness than the need to ridicule a political leader because she doesn’t wear mini-skirts. So after the 4th stupid joke about Merkel and mini-skirts, I decided to stop watching the concert and blogged instead.
I’m going back home today. Expect many photos of snow, food, and me. I photographed every single snow mound I saw because it doesn’t seem like we will be getting any snow in Southern Illinois.