In Love

N and I are celebrating, at a very adult restaurant, the 10th anniversary of the day we met.

This isn’t the actual anniversary, though. We’ve been celebrating in stages because a love story like this deserves to be celebrated. 

The actual anniversary is Tuesday. Then there will be the anniversary of the second time we met and when we actually started living together. 

Real Food

Also, prominent among the things that annoy me is the weird belief that you can only find real Mexican food in Mexico, real Indian food in India, etc.

When I make borscht in Southern Illinois, it is as real as the borscht somebody is making in Kiev right now. If I had my heart set on using the same canned tomatoes or tomato paste that the person in Kiev is using, I could easily do that. (I don’t because I don’t see any great difference).) I’ve cooked tons of very authentic Soviet dishes here in the US. You taste them and it’s like you are in the USSR in 1986. There’s no need to time travel to taste this food. 


A neighbor just shared the following insight with me: Governor Rauner will sign the bill raising the state’s minimum wage because he’s afraid that if he doesn’t, the black people in Cook County (“and there are SO many of them and they are very criminal”) will murder him. 

Before you jump to the conclusion that this comes from some poor redneck, this person’s house is 3 times as big as mine and her profession has to do with art. I mean, serious, real art. 

Academic Self-promotion

I know somebody who is a very successful academic. Like in, you don’t get much more successful than that. Well, this person has no problem at all self-promoting. She emails you her articles, brings her books to every meeting, and generally acts like the world is desperate to see her work and she is trying to oblige. 

I love this attitude of deep respect towards one’s own work. I envy the deep conviction that everybody is eager to read what one has published. I wish I could be this way but I have this unfortunate trait of all Soviet intelligentsia of fearing self-promotion. And it’s not even real modesty. You, folks, know me, how modest am I? And it’s not self-effacement because seriously, you know me. It’s a weird Soviet tic.

So academics, share your self-promotion strategies to help me get over it. 

Question for Academics

So, people, especially if you are academics, how do you feel about getting emails that go like follows,

Dear Professor Bulochkina,

I’m writing to let you know that my new book titled Xxx came out last month. Here are the links if you are interested.



I’m seeing some people do it and I’m not sure what the etiquette is. Should I do it for my new book? 

I have to be honest: I LOVE getting such emails (and please consider sending one to me the next time you release something.) I find it very useful to get them because I like knowing what’s being published. Plus, I’m always happy that things are happening, people are getting published, etc. 

But we all know I can’t be trusted to guess what the majority likes and responds to. Will people think I’m an idiot if I send out such an email? Would you do it?

Not That Different

At the salon yesterday I told the stylist that I’m going to New Haven for a reunion. 

“It’s not like I’ll be traveling to a high school reunion in Ukraine because that’s too far,” I said. 

The stylist stared at me, looking confused. 

“Oh,” she finally said. “I completely forgot you are not from here.”

Once you actually get to know me, I’m not that weird.