The Hunger Games poster had to be dropped for obvious reasons:


As my sister says, it’s not that hard to be successful given how utterly incompetent many people are.

For My Sins

As usual, the resort ‘ s guests ignore the beautiful baby – powder sand beach and cram into a chlorinated pool. A country music band is belting out infernally loud songs at the edge of the pool.

“This is how I will be punished for my sins in hell,” I tell N. “Stuck in a pool with a crowd of people and forced to listen to this horrible noise for all eternity.”


In a battle against my own rigidity, I decided to forego a hotel and stay at a beach condo this time. This is a big deal for me because I’m extremely particular about the places I choose to stay during vacations.

The condo where we are staying is enormous. It has two separate bathrooms, a huge balcony, a bedroom, a living – room and a kitchen.

The moment I saw the condo I almost doubled with laughter because I remembered how when I was 14, we once went on a family vacation to the beach back in Ukraine.

We rented a single small room for us all to stay for 2 weeks. By “us all” I mean my mother, my sister, me, my aunt Vera and her daughter, my aunt Natasha and her 2 kids, and my aunt Larissa and her son. Obviously, there weren’t nearly enough beds for all of these people, so most of us slept on the floor right next to each other. There wasn’t an inch of floor left that wasn’t covered by human bodies.

The worst thing about this vacation wasn’t that the conditions were so horrible but that I was the only person who detested this kind of life. Everybody else loved the trip and has the fondest memories of it. I felt like I was from a different planet than everybody else.

And that was the only reason why I eventually emigrated. People around me were enjoying things. No water, no electricity, dog shit and rats everywhere – and still everybody was having fun. Except me.

But hey, people who keep wanting more are the ones who make all progress happen.

Here’s the view from my balcony:



I walk a lot and as I walk I observe how people of different social classes live around here.

For the first 5 years in this town, I resided in what I can schematically call a working-class neighborhood (WN). This was an area of rental apartments where bus drivers, university support staff, janitors, and people who lost their houses in the Recession lived.

For the past year, I’ve been living in a typical middle-class neighborhood  (MN), with big detached houses, pretty lawns, etc.

Right in front of my subdivision, there’s our upper-class neighborhood  (UC), with houses that cost between $600,000 and $900,000 (which is a lot for our region).

All 3 neighborhoods are extremely safe and clean. Their differences lie elsewhere.

Continue reading “Flâneuse”