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Hello my dear friends 😊 For those of you who still don't know, I am English! Was born there, grew up in and around London, went to school and uni there! I was 100% English! Having been in Russia for almost 13 years, I have lost some Englishness and after my very recent visit to my parents and friends, my feelings were confirmed: Yep, much less English and more Russian! And here are some reasons why 😁

There is an art to small talk: knowing what to say and how to say it. The timing, length, not getting too personal, asking questions and complimenting back etc. Small talk defines us as a British people. But now when I engage in it, I am the creator of awkward silence, I don't ask questions back and when I feel I have had enough, I abruptly say "Bye!" I just can't act anymore. My small talk now, for example, between a neighbour and myself:
- "Oh Paul, long time no see, glad to see you back here!"
- "Thanks!" (Should be: Oh yes, great to see you. Yeah, it's been yonks! How have things been with you?)
- "Oh and what are your plans during your stay? Getting up to anything fun?"
- "Probably. We'll see." (Should be: Oh loads of things, shopping, eating huge amounts of tasty crap, you know me hahahaha!!! What are you planning these days? Hahahaha (superficial laugh))
- "And how is Russia, cold I guess?"
- "Yeah, fine. Nah, not cold." (Should be: oh Russia is doing just fine, still where I left it hahahaha, and nah, it's not cold, but Siberia mind you, Ohhhh gets chilly there! Bla Bla Bla!"
- "So yeah.... Paul, have a good day then... (some silence now)...."
- "You too, bye!"
- (Stunned look from neighbour at how abrupt I ended our chat!)

So it's not about being rude, I just can't effectively engage in superficial chit-chat with my fellow countrymen 😁😎

I was walking around the centre of Exeter down in Devon. I realized many people, when walking past, would create as much space as possible between us as if trying to avoid me. My mum said (as she mentioned during a previous trip) that I had a straight and sometimes aggressive expression glued to my face. I argued that it wasn't true and that I was actually ecstatic inside. This time she took a surprise photo of me and yeah, I did look aggressive! But I was honestly so happy inside! Why show it to everyone? People might think I am weird! 😁

I picked up a car from Heathrow and drove down West. It struck me about two days later that I had rarely used my indicators to inform other drivers of my intentions to turn left and right etc. I often moaned about some drivers on Moscow roads for never indicating and causing me to take some evasive action. But... I apologise for that dear Russians. I take back everything I have said. I think a lot of people swore at me in England and I might soon appear on some Epic Driving Fail UK video on Youtube 🙈

👉🏻 GRECHKA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I missed English food! So, of course, as soon as I arrived there I stuffed my face with all my nostalgic favourites: pork pies, fish and chips, cheeseeeeeeee, a lot of cheese among many other things. But after 5 days in and two more kgs, I was pining for grechka!!! (Buckwheat) But I didn't have any with me. And I couldn't find it. So I did cook a Borscht. My parents loved it. And the Shashlik I also surprised my family with became a favourite. But I wanted GRECHKA!!!

My mum said:
-"Oh Paul, we have this new product here which has taken Britain by storm! It has natural bacteria and can help settle stomachs. It's called Kefir. See, I bought some! Try it!"
- "Mum mum mum, (sigh), It's been around in Russia for 5 million years and I KNOW what Kefir is!"
- "Ah Paul, but this is special Kefir!" 
So I try it and arrogantly laugh then reply - "Oh dear mother, this is NOT kefir! You have given me strawberry bio yogurt!"
- "Paul, it's Kefir!"
- "Mum, no it's not! When you drink Kefir, it should be sour and when you drink it, your face screws up and it can often repulse you but you drink it because it's good for you! What you've given me is yoghurt, tasty strawberry yoghurt!"
Argument ends....
I found myself protecting the very dignity of kefir as if it was my patriotic duty! I was sooooo defensive!

it's good to be back 🇷🇺😎

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