Friday, February 12, 2010

Slammed (?) Just a Joke (?)

(Edited again on 4/13)

Man... I'm very tempted to change my settings to prohibit anonymous postings...

I am asking again for the snarky anonymous poster to please just stop leaving comments. You called me "reasonable," but I really don't feel comfortable having other readers—and people in general—debased on my blog. That's just not what my blog is for.

When Jules mentioned my kids' name, your response indicated you might just be looking for something to be argue about. No child's name has been changed from what it was, no one has neither imposed "cultural imperialism" (are you kidding?!) on a child nor done something Biblically wrong. If you read back to earlier years in my blog, you'd know why my kids have the names they do, and that the choice of their names comes purely from cultural respect.

And so what if people write about how hard it is here? Ya' know, it IS hard here compared to life in many other places! I've never been one to focus on the negative side in my blog, but it certainly IS part of our Moscow life. Let people in different countries where life is easier and more honest appreciate what they have! Another side to that coin is also deepening others' respect for what tough cookies Russians are to have lived through all they have and still do. Keep in mind that most of my readers aren't Russian. If Russians are reading? Well then they benefit from getting a foreigner's take on your culture... And they get a glimpse of America, and Americans, that moves beyond superficial stereotypes.

As far as my readers go, they are a group of people sincerely interested in Russia. Many of them have been here in the past and feel a deep connection to this place. Why on earth insult people who only spread goodwill to this country?

(Edited on 4/13)

I guess I just got my first real taste of negative readers... So it's not just Americans coming here (and invading the globe) for easy money and a life of luxe, we're also ignorant about geography, history, other cultures and.. egad... some of us are even stay-at-home mothers instead of being "productive." You know...

Nous, les américains expatriés par choix personnel, nous ne correspondons pas à votre stéréotype de l'américain monolingue et idiot. La mayoría de la gente que escribe de sus experiencias al extranjero lo hace por motivos de curiosidad y respecto. Vorrei anche aggiungere che benché sia personale questo mio blog, faccio uno sforzo di non offendere mai agli altri. Por eso, no me gusta para nada que alguien me deje mensajes negativos. Dies ist mein Blog... Niemand muss es lesen. Je n'ai jamais exigé qu'on soit tous d'accord avec moi; mais ça m'irrite vraiment qu'on m'insulte!

Мы же интересуемся окружающим миром!

Wow... "What brings me here? The smell of a fast buck and a life of luxury?"

Yeah, that's a comment I got the other day on my blog.

OK... Let's see... Fast buck? I work so hard that it's 1:48 a.m. and I'm STILL not done preparing for work tomorrow.... I work with such commitment and determination... I spend every working moment trying to do the best job I possibly can teaching my Russian students... I try so hard to do more than just teach the language... I try to introduce topics that will really make them think, that will really touch them... And after pay day? My salary simply covers the cost of my girls' education and and the clubs (music, arts, sports) they do after school. Barely. Hardly a fast buck. I work so hard so my daughters can have an excellent education.

My husband? Moving here has hardly been a "fast buck" for him, either... Crashing world economies and international problems stemming from 2001 haven't exactly been conducive to profits. He sticks it out here because he, too, is passionate about what he does—helping to create a viable legal network so Russian business (and the Russian economy) can legitimately thrive... Such developments would better the lives of Russian people.

If this country can move beyond corruption and work legally, life will truly be better for all!

Please don't slam me. I'm too busy trying to do an honest day's—and night's—work. I need all the encouragement—and sleep—I can get...

36 comments:

Annie said...

I took offense (on your behalf) initially when I read that post...then decided it was sarcastic humor....because everyone knows that a fast buck and "luxurious" lifestyle is hardly available in Russia. Except for some few Russians involved in whatever... (oil?)

Rachael said...

Let's hope it was sarcasm. Because I know you personally, and I know nothing can be further from the truth than that comment.

Teach Me to Be Still said...

I, too, hope that anon comment was just a shot of sarcasm. I am new to your blog but just recently read it from beginning to end (my guilty pleasure when my children were in bed at night :-) ) I find your life in Russia fascinating but exhausting. There is no way I could handle all that you do--dealing with traffic, pollution, work, children with both their sweet and sour ways, holidays, shopping/cooking, culture/language struggles even when fluent, traveling to the States, jet lag, missing family, illness, etc! Yikes. What a blessing to live in Russia but what a challenge.

I do not see you living an extravagant lifestyle at all. In fact, your life is quite challenging, much more so than it probably was in the States. But on the other hand, I also see your love for the Russian language, culture and people. I see your excitement in spending time with your family and in preparing a great lesson for your students. Your blog is a fascinating and honest look at an American family living in Russia. Love it, love it, love it. :-)

Blessings-
Laurie

Lisa said...

Eh, the more readers you have the more likely someone will post something sarcastic or negative.

Maybe they are mad about something else and are expressing it here for reasons unknown.

Plus, the work of teachers is always underappreciated!

Keep blogging-- it's a fun blog to read! I can't remember whether I was searching for blogs about Russia when I first found it, or if it was linked on another website, but it was a good find!

Anonymous said...

Please keep blogging. Don't let the negative folks get you down. The poster was probably just having a bad-hair day and took it out on you.
I enjoy reading about your life in Russia. It is obvious from your posts that you and your family are in Russia because you care about helping others. Some people just don't understand that.

habeshachild said...

the person who left that comment was surely joking... no one is in Russia for a fast buck (any more). if you are still there, you are there for another reason.

don't let it bother you (easier said than done) and please keep blogging!

Andrea said...
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Andrea said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andrea said...

Hey, no writer is without critics so don't take offense whether it was a joke or sarcasm or whatever. You don't have to justify yourself to anyone (I've been reading your blog for a while though this is the first time I've commented).
And truly, noone is forced to read blogs, are they? Your blog is open and obviously your readership is growing - just focus on the fact that you are keeping lots of people entertained, in a good way. I'd find this a very useful blog if I were just researching moving to Russia.

Andrea said...

I'm sorry I had to repost twice!

The Expatresse said...

I get cranky comments from the same reader.

Anonymous said...

Its seems your American womens fan club has rallied round!! How predictable. Pin map, fast buck still relevant as before. Keep blogging it helps with our English. You work hard its better than staying at home all day and we respect to you for that. You are not usual within the American club.

America is not the center of the universe. Never forget that!

Yours Oleg

Anonymous said...

Never forget that Russia had a turbulent past with the states! The poster must not like Americans, you guys have had a very bad press.

I like you blog its entertaining keep it up and don't let Moscow get you down!:-)

Anonymous said...

When the kids are with the nanny and the dinners been cooked I love to read your blog. We are leaving Moscow next week but I will miss it and our life here. God bless.

Jojo, Julz, Julianne said...

Oohhh, Firstly,I don't know you personally, nor your momma, but I get a real sense of "hard work ethic" coming from both of you.
It must bother you that there are "some" who resent you for wanting to represent your family with such pride.
Same sort of people get irritated when Americans adopt Russian babies..Yet 700,000 orphans sit waiting for Russians to come along and adopt them. And as a TEACHER, I know the work that goes into your job. Truly I do!! Not only with your head, but with your heart.
I wish the person who left the sassy comment knew about why your daughters have their names, why you are in Russia, and how you and your hubby met..If they read back a few posts, they would see why!!

Jojo, Julz, Julianne said...

Oh, if you wonder how people end up in Russia and their feelings on it, you should really go back and read about MoscowMom...Not knowing her history? Anyway, some of us DREAM of coming to Russia. And if you don't understand this, take a look at
www.solnichkababies.blogspot.com
and read how many people feel about going to and living in Russia.

Rozmin said...

Hi, I read your blog but I don't think I've commented before. There are just two things I think about that: 1) that person obviously knows NOTHING about being an expat. Living out of your own country can be a fantastic experience, but I would never call it a "life of luxury" even if you make more than the average person in terms of money. It is HARD, even if it is rewarding. 2) You are a TEACHER. No matter what time period or geographical location we're speaking of, in my opinion that ALWAYS means overworked and underpaid! Thank goodness there are many great teachers out there who don't let that stop them.

Anonymous said...

I am black American working as teacher here in St Pete, I know expat life ain't fun and teaching is hard work but fun. I make an easy living here although I do have suffer their racism, it gets me down.

Keep it up if blogging helps you cope, fair play to you girl!! Power to us teachers and Americans here in RU.

Anonymous said...

Do you teach American English and American vocab and spelling or British English? do you teach them so they know?!?

Some students interchange between holiday and vacation, baggage and luggage, motorway and freeway, lift and elevator etc etc. I am a teacher and teach both it makes for a lot of class fun! To my mind British is the purest form of the language and I am Spanish!

Happy teaching! :-)

Anonymous said...

To be honest, JojoJulzJulianne, changing your children's names IS offensive and a sick form of cultural imperialism. It's even Biblically wrong - when Daniel is in Babylonia, he is renamed as Belteshazzar. When you take someone out of their culture, the first thing you do to take that culture from them is you take their name, then their religion... You are taking something that is not yours to take.

Also, will you all stop complaining about how hard life is in Russia? Millions of Russians live in Russia, and we don't spend our time complaining about how hard it is. MoscowMom you are a good reasonable woman, but some of your readers have soft hands.

Annie said...

Dear Oleg - We're trying not to forget it! The people you are talking to here, are Russophiles, don't forget. And, for what it is worth - if it were up to ME - it would be a LOT easier for Russians to visit and work in the US. It breaks my heart to think my son's older sister and the other children's grandparents can't visit us here.

Susan said...

There are upwards of 45,000 Russian/Ukrainian immigrants living in our little town of 200,000. They all came in the 90's under the guise of religious freedom.
They were given social security, health care and welfare.
I wonder which nationality was looking for a fast buck!

Anonymous said...

American girl, what is "snarky" ?

The poster or posters that have annoyed you may not have understood your blog? Don't forget a blog is there for all to see in all its goodness and badness on the world wide web. No one owns the web.

Readers could be little old ladies, guys in the slammmer in prison, teenagers or presidents. What ever you put, write and publish is there for all. If you don't want trouble don't post it or show it. Never show photos if you feel its unsafe to do so or use real names, its a mad bad world outside of the internet.

I have a blog and get regular weird comments thats the nature of the beast.

I say just ignore them and keep posting its only for fun after all. X Sasha

Anonymous said...

Oh,
you are really steering the pot now! I love it!
The global economy and all...
I will leave my thoughts on that for later.
Just have to say something to Black anonymous in St. Pete (that is where I am from).
I recommend you find a nice portrait of young Pushkin and stick it to the noses of the Russians that bother you. The greatest Russian poet is a BLACK MAN, so they just should relax and let the bigotry go. Or they will have to denounce the entire culture (Palata#6). Good luck.
I had some unexpected experience when my son went to Russia for a visit when he was in High school.
When he came back he accused me of not telling him the truth about two things
puch (it was June) and
bigotry.
I am white and Russian by birth, my son is white and American by birth, just to make it clear. He expected some guidance from me. We lived in the South at the time, so the group of children who went to Russia was very mixed.One of my son best friends in the group was a black girl. And on one of the outings to the disco or some kind of dance she was insulted, so my son got into some kind of the fight with locals. He accused me of not warning him about the level racial tention in Russia (and this is coming from the guy from the deep south).
I actually had no idea that this level of bigotry existed in Russia and did not feel too good about my son experience with my homeland.
Why I am talking about it now?
I am not exactly sure, but all those snappy remarks on all sides made me think. We all seems to see only a slice of the world we live in, whether it is ours by birth or by choice, but the whole pie is always remains a mystery to every one of us.May be if we can take less confrontational tone we can have really interesting conversation about our lives, our word etc
Olga

Anonymous said...

Olga,

Yes, there is a lot of racial tension here and that is very wrong, very bad. Africans, African-Russians, are a part of our country. My brother's wife is from Cameroon and they face a lot of trouble from people. It is a shame for our country that they have to face these troubles, but it is not the whole country and it is not everyone.

However... Pushkin is not a 'BLACK MAN' as you said. He had one African greatgrandfather. If that makes Pushkin African, then by that same logic I am Korean (and I am really not Korean).

When I do not understand another country, I do not pretend to understand it. When Americans do not understand another country, they act as if they know it better than the natives.

Anonymous said...

"When I do not understand another country, I do not pretend to understand it. When Americans do not understand another country, they act as if they know it better than the natives"

- Sir you are a wise man. Well said!!! Respect.

Katya said...

Don't feed the trolls! Just ignore them and delete their comments!!

Anonymous said...

Katya you cant call people who have an opinion or say what you don't agree with or like "trolls". I think a troll abuses people with hate and bad language. Where is that here?

These posters obviously have an opinion that some will agree with and some will not agree with. As the other poster said the WWW is open to all and free to all.

Katya said...

I call people who leave baiting comments trolls. There is a difference between politely disagreeing and leaving mean-spirited comments. There have always been discussions on this blog -- it is only recently that people have started adding offensive and hurtful comments.

Anonymous said...

There will be discussions on all blogs that the www. It attracts all sorts, shapes and sizes. We just have to suffer it till the web police kick in and make it membership and censorship only. I don't agree that the comments here are by a troll(s).

If you don't like don't read it or reply. That maybe the best way if you do not like a person or peoples opinion.

Hang lose.

brainwracked said...

Great response, Tamara!!!! Very dignified! I just wish you wouldn't worry about this crap at all! Just ignore those people, who butt in with their mean comments. There clearly will always be people like that - and the more popular you get the more of them you'll encounter. Believe me, I know how hard it can be not to let this hateful stuff get to you, but, I figure, the only way to really be zen about it is to realize how sad those people really are. There's just so much arrogance and hate in them that they can't even control it and resist the overwhelming urge to express their mean and condescending opinions. All this aggression is clearly a sign of deep pent-up unhappiness and bitterness that they have to get out at all costs. That's their cross to bear - not yours. It doesn't have to affect you or your great blog in any way. Nothing they say has any relevance at all, since they don't even realize the real reasons behind their aggressive behavior. Those reasons sure have nothing to do with you or anything you say, which is why there's nothing you can do or say to make them understand you or to stop them from attacking you and all Americans.

Btw, I don't know if Chris has told you yet, but Mark and I were hoping to get together with you guys one of these weekends! We never did thank you for all the great Dora stuff you gave us a while back (I didn't know that it all just kept sitting in Mark's office until I finally found it and brought it home. MJ ADORES DORA, so he just loved all of it!) MJ and I are leaving for the US at the end of March for three whole months (I'm due to give birth in May ;)), so, if all of us could go out before then, that would be great! I'm not sure if you'll get to read this comment of mine, so, if you do read it, could you drop me a quick line on my email or cell? If I don't hear from you, I'll assume you haven't read this and will try to reach you some other way.

brainwracked said...

Great response, Tamara!!!! Very dignified! I just wish you wouldn't worry about this crap at all! Just ignore those people, who butt in with their mean comments. There clearly will always be people like that - and the more popular you get the more of them you'll encounter. Believe me, I know how hard it can be not to let this hateful stuff get to you, but, I figure, the only way to really be zen about it is to realize how sad those people really are. There's just so much arrogance and hate in them that they can't even control it and resist the overwhelming urge to express their mean and condescending opinions. All this aggression is clearly a sign of deep pent-up unhappiness and bitterness that they have to get out at all costs. That's their cross to bear - not yours. It doesn't have to affect you or your great blog in any way. Nothing they say has any relevance at all, since they don't even realize the real reasons behind their aggressive behavior. Those reasons sure have nothing to do with you or anything you say, which is why there's nothing you can do or say to make them understand you or to stop them from attacking you and all Americans.

Btw, I don't know if Chris has told you yet, but Mark and I were hoping to get together with you guys one of these weekends! We never did thank you for all the great Dora stuff you gave us a while back (I didn't know that it all just kept sitting in Mark's office until I finally found it and brought it home. MJ ADORES DORA, so he just loved all of it!) MJ and I are leaving for the US at the end of March for three whole months (I'm due to give birth in May ;)), so, if all of us could go out before then, that would be great! I'm not sure if you'll get to read this comment of mine, so, if you do read it, could you drop me a quick line on my email or cell? If I don't hear from you, I'll assume you haven't read this and will try to reach you some other way.

brainwracked said...

Ooops! Sorry for posting twice! I didn't realize comment moderation had been enabled :))!

Anonymous said...

God bless America and Americans !! where would we all be without you!!

Isma said...

Everyone gets such comments once in a while... Just ignore and erase them... Jealousy, ignorance... And all they want is that kind of answer : they even often come back just to see if there has been any reaction ... Forget it ! And keep your nice blog, I really like its tone and sincerity.

garnet said...

I am so sorry for the comments you have gotten here -- but also glad you've been shown such support. Thank you for still blogging and sharing your fascinating life -- both the exciting and the challenging parts.