Six impressions of America upon returning for the holiday

I’m back in NC for the holiday. I’m enjoying family, especially my niece who seems to think I’m a rock star, warm(er) weather, and American customer service — the best in the world!

My six impression upon returning for the holiday:

1) From the DC airport: Why are so many people wearing pajamas? By Ukrainian standards, this is criminally casual. Are whites America’s new minority?

2) You know that lonely feeling when you’re walking in the shoulder of a road? I wanted to get some fast food near my hotel. There were no sidewalks. Only the drive-thrus were open. The one at Taco Bell refused to serve me without a vehicle. So did the one at Wendy’s. The chill and smell of the air reminded me of nights at Fort Bragg. I’ll walk that memory lane when I visit Fayetteville next week. Welcome back to the USA.

3) Driving a car again. Love it. I can drive for hours and hours in any direction. My own car, after I jump started it, reminded me of the carefree days of Iowa City life. It was making noises first. Lots of them. But in the first few miles of driving they all disappeared, one by one.

Jump Starting my car

4) The U.S. has the best customer service in the world. It is also immensely convenient — from the parking lots, to the cheap products available, to the price tags and come off easily without ripping. You no longer need a scouring pad to remove the glue. I bought a ladder and Lowes. The packaging just popped off. I didn’t even need scissors. I returned it to get another ladder, and the return process literally took about 30 seconds. It came with a smile too.

cheap coats at WalmartKey Making Machine Do It Yourself

Meticulous thought has been devoted to anticipating and mitigating every difficult and inconvenience between my desires and their satisfaction. One example: since I used me credit card before at Walmart, I no longer have to sign the receipt. I’m not saying this is legal or a good idea, but it’s an example of how extraneous gesture is scrutinized with the aim of making life better. God bless Capitalism.

5) When I arrived at my sister’s my usually shy niece screamed my name and ran down the drive way to give me a hug. I think we all have a soft spot for such childish devotion and admiration.

Ema & Roman
Ema & Roman
Ema & Roman

6) My mom’s guest room is more Ukrainian than my L’viv apartment.

Moms guest room

7) I love playing scrabble with mom. I had a banner game with three turns > 50 points, the highest being 65 points for “Nascent” which used all my letters.

scrabble with mom

my best scrabble game ever

ps – Lastly, here’s a picture of a Nativity model older than I am. The lamps were made by my grandfather and recently restored by my mother. The lamp-shades rotate when the lamp (with old fashioned Earth-hating incandescent bulbs) heats up, showing a procession of figures toward the manger



  1. Ed K

    It is good that you have decided to visit your mother. That is important.

    Did you bring that girl and her horse too?

    I decided not to take I-77 up Fancy Gap on Friday on my trip north. Rather I used what I call the old road, U. S. Hwy 220 from Greensboro to Roanoke, Va. Route traveled avoided your mountain top weather.

    So have you taken I-77 up the mountain? On a clear day you can see Winston Salem.

    At this time of year they close the Parkway for snow otherwise I would tell you to visit Mt. Mitchell.

    When I arrived in Vermont on Saturday, the winter storm left my destination in the dark. Power restored yesterday afternoon.

    I am on borrowed computer with internet access. No longer do I have to wait for Abenaki Indian to send smoke signals. He has DSL now!

    Again, it is good that you visited your mother. Wish her a merry Christmas for me…

    Ed K

  2. elmer

    Be glad you’re not in Zookraine any more, Roman.

    Be very glad.

    The above link is to an extremely gruesome video, where the owners of a farm in Vinnytsia simply neglected everything.

    Cows, sheep and pigs have frozen and are freezing to death. They have starved, and are starving to death.

    They are also living in excrement up to their ears.

    This is the sovok Ukrainian mentality – Chernobyl syndrome.

    Don’t look for solutions – simply let everything blow up.

    The folks in the village stormed the farm in reaction to the horror on the farm, including the cries of the animals living in absolutely ghastly conditions.

      1. Andrii Drozda

        The farm is drowning in debts. The owners fired all the qualified employees – now only 10 of 130 people has left to work there. Villagers say that the owners wants to bankrupt the farm and to sell the property. But it’s still unknown why hadn’t they sell all the cattle or why the ex-employees hadn’t take the cattle in place of the debts.

    1. Missy

      Abandonment of domestic animals, especially horrible cases such as you describe, happens everywhere, including Canada, where I live, and the U.S.A. I know a farmer who did this. He is intelligent and generally decent. Sometimes the work and debtload drives farmers crazy. But nobody says, “Be glad you’re not in Canada or U.S.A. any more”. Why are you generalizing this way about Ukraine and its farmers?

  3. olga

    hello.hawe are you?i be befor in bangkok 1 mans.good citi.giw me ensver if you see this.i now in i good.
    i writing no good english but i speak good.
    dear-olga sova


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