May 26th, 2017

I am so glad that she is not hot

Wow, so one of our new volunteers is this super impressive American woman who just gets things at lightning speed, is supper effective in doing and managing shit and people, intuitively gets all interpersonal / cultural differences / communication stuff, is driven, calm, tough and super likeable. And on top of that completely on the same wave with me at how she approaches things. I am so happy that she is here and also that she is not hot all (now, this is so horrible of me on so many levels, right?).

I am a bit surprised that after not speaking much English for a couple of weeks my English seems to have degenerated to the point where it does not flow out of me automatically as at usually does and when I do throw things out they are in a "that shit with that stuff was kinda shit and much better than that other thing" format. I never was very eloquent in English but I do hope that it recovers back to the usual level soon.

When I used to spend half of my time in Singapore my English turned into a bad version of Singlish quickly too. I suspect that it was because it simplified and made routine conversations much shorter.

A conversation at a supermarket till, which in Singapore could be like this:

Cashier: [pointing at the single item on the belt that the woman behind me is queuing to pay for] Quickly can?

Me: Can, lah.

He serves the woman behind me before me in silence, except for "No need, no need" from her when she sees him stretching his arm to get a plastic bag. She leaves in silence. He serves me in silence. I leave in silence.

I like how efficient this is. A lot of things are assumed and not said.

In London this could turn into this though:

Cashier: I am sorry, would you be terribly upset if I just quickly served that person behind you first? They picked up the wrong item by mistake and had to go back and change it but have the rest of their items already here with me, it is just three items, it will be very quick.

Me: Sure, I don't mind at all, please go ahead.

Cashier: Thank you so much. I just know that they are in a hurry.

Me: Not a problem at all, please go ahead.

The woman behind me: Oh thank you so much, I am rather late and seem to be terrible with labels. Thank you very much. Thank you.

Me: No problem, I hope you still make it on time.

The woman behind me: Thank you. Thank you so much.

Cashier: Thank you.

The woman behind me: Thank you very much.

Cashier: Thank you.

Me: Thanks [and just continue this endless thanking fest between the three of us where everyone thanks everyone at least 117 times for everything (including thanking them, yes you can thank people for thanking you) into eternity basically. And I really like this way too. I like how considerate, polite and personal it is.

Moving to Chechnya might make a lot of sense for some

In Moldova and I understand in all the rest of the European former Soviet Union states and especially in Russia, "black" and "black-arsed" are popular derogatory names for people from the Russian part of Caucasus (Chechnya, Dagestan, etc) as well as other former USSR states around that region (Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, etc). Most of those people are caucasian. I mean they are white (they are from Caucasus too though).

We met some blond blue-eyed Chechens in Moldova for example. And Chechens are white, they look white, they identify as white themselves too of course (and I think it is safe to assume that there asses match the rest of them in this respect) but "black" and "black-arsed" are the derogatory terms they are called there. And a couple of Russian volunteers even told us that to them calling someone African "black" in Russian would feel more offensive than using the n-word. The n-word ("negr" in Russian) did not seem that bad to them, (obviously there are very few African Russians) and definitely better than using "black", which seemed more loaded to them. Those volunteers were in their fifties and from some small town in Siberia so I do not know how it is for the current generation say in Moscow.

I thought that this information could be of significant value to one struggling American, probably the only American in the whole world who could benefit a lot from actually moving from the US to Chechnya and becoming Chechen and then moving to and settling in Russia:

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Good night

The sky here is beautiful (because electricity is expensive) but it does not look quite like this in real life of course, my camera sees way more stars then my eyes do.

It was a busy day and we have to wake up at 5am tomorrow and drive to one of the towns in the north for a 7am meeting. And based on our previous experience with those guys, we suspect that the meeting will feel like this (I liked this gif):

But the previous ones where so bad that they were actually fun in a way. So I am kind of looking forward to this one.