I come from the great nation of Ohio. After a below average effort in a typical small town high school, I spent a few years in Atlanta and then moved to Russia in 1999.
I guess somehow I was raised to understand that life could be broader than me and a mortgage.
Has your life style changed since you moved to Moscow?
We moved to Moscow from the city of Perm. I guess the first difference that comes to mind is that I stopped driving and started using public transport. So, now I can brag at dinner parties at how small my carbon footprint has become.
Does Russia seem multicultural to you?
I think Russia feels mono-cultural at first, but then you see the Nenets people in northern Siberia, the Tatars throughout central Russia, the Altai and Buryat out closer to Mongolia, and also the many people groups in the Caucasus. And Moscow, of course, is a sort of melting pot as it hosts masses of working immigrants.
Do you feel yourself integrated here?
I guess I feel integrated because I think I now make more cultural mistakes in America than here. 😉
Could you tell me a few words about your blog(s)?
In a time where the economy is struggling, I see tremendous potential. And as for relations… they can always be improved. I am working on a book, in Russian, on how to sell to Westerners. This is a project I am excited about. I want to show Russian small business the potential for their product or service on the global market. I am beginning to tinker with ideas for this on my Russian language blog “The American” And with my English language blog Planet Russia I hope I am able to communicate how accessible Russia can be.
Have you ever experienced any cases of discrimination in Moscow?
Not so much discrimination. But sometimes it seems there are 12 million people who are under the impression that I am competent to explain the foreign policy of President Obama.
A piece of advice to a new expat in Moscow?
Get out and see the city. It seems there is no end of new things to see and experience. And don’t worry, after awhile you won’t even notice the traffic. Oh yeah, and if you need a place to stay, be sure to hire Moscow’s best realtor at expatflat.ru.
What is the the first thing you do when you go back to the USA?
After passport control, usually it’s Wal-Mart. I usually don’t buy anything except a Hershey’s bar at the checkout, which is really average chocolate, but somehow feels like the American thing to do. I remember once I bought a cup of Starbucks at the airport, not because I am crazy about the coffee, but because a cup at the DC airport was so much cheaper than here.