Both N and I are really dedicated to the goal of doing the Halloween the right way. N went to the Global Foods store and bought a mountain of expensive Russian candy. I suggested that we eat the candy ourselves and buy something cheap and unpretentious at Walmart for trick – or – treaters but he refused.
In N’s absence, I rummaged in the candy and discovered that a big portion of it consisted of candies called “Vodka.” The name was written in English.
And this is how we almost got to become known in the neighborhood as “Russian alcoholics who tried to make little kids drunk.”
If I have to redo the sabbatical application one more time, I will not need a sabbatical leave any longer. I will need a psychiatric leave.
During the time that it takes me to complete the form and have everybody sign it, the bureaucrats adopt an amended form, and I have to start all over again. This has been going on since September. Today I sprinted from my office to the Chair’s to the committee members’ to the Dean’s in hopes that if I run really fast, a new form will not have time to be adopted. I’m not kidding. I actually ran.
N and I are living stereotypes of Russians and Ukrainians to the point where it’s embarrassing. I’m gregarious, exuberant and say 100 words per minute. He is silent, broody, fatalistic and very profound. I love tchotchkes and borscht while he doesn’t get the point of either. He is tragic and I’m chirpy. For him, everything is a bad sign. For me, everything is a good sign. I make decisions with the speed of lightning while he ponders.
Also, Ukrainians are the Latinos of Eastern Europe but without the tragic, broody substratum of the actual Latinos. Latinos fake exuberance as a form of self – protection. Ukrainians are actually that way.
So let’s further the noble cause of recognizing Ukrainians as people worthy of some good, juicy stereotypes. Let me offer a few:
1. Ukrainians only have 2 emotional states: we either cry or laugh, but we do both with complete abandon.
2. It is very difficult to annoy Ukrainians because we are so laid back and happy. But once you do, we become like elephants who crush everything in their way.
3. Ukrainians eat the most unhealthy food in the world. After Americans, of course.
4. Ukrainians get extremely attached to their houses and decorate them to the point where they become very Baroque.
5. Ukrainians are very hard – working but mostly in what concerns menial tasks or working on the land.
6. Ukrainians have a very joyful exuberant sexuality that knows little boundaries.
7. Ukrainians are great at singing but horrible at dancing.
8. Ukrainians are scarily talkative. Very, very chatty people. Which you’d never guess based on the number of posts on this blog.
9. Ukrainian women are bossy and domineering in a way unequaled by women anywhere else in the world.
We were talking in class about cultural stereotypes, and those discussions are great fun. I realized, though, that there aren’t even any stereotypes about Ukrainians that would be known to everybody. We get to share stereotypes with Russians which is just sad.
I have, of course, a collection of stereotypes about Ukrainians but nobody even knows them. It’s so unfair given that we are a huge country.