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to be an expat

How can I even begin to explain the experiences of an expat?  The great assumption is that East and West are terribly different. One is vilified, the other painted as a land of patriots and heroes. One is crude and filthy the other has streets paved with gold. Look up and you will see miracles of architecture. Beyond the windows there are supposed to be good people, open smiles and warm hearts. How can I tell you that none of this is true? How can I untie my shoes, and somehow put them on your feet three thousand miles away? You would never believe what secrets they have to tell.

Every time I go back to the states I become more embarrassed to be an American. I overhear conversations in the street, the whines of privileged and moneyed voices. Coddled, dumbed-down and mislead they are drunk on a calculated fairly tale. And then back in Moscow, the same ignorance - the same questions from curious taxi drivers about how good it must be in America, where everything is possible and life mu…

babel


The door to a shed yawns open, empty inside. It stays this way when it rains, when the sky is crammed with clouds. I check every time I pass it. There were some plastic bins in the grass that someone took, tossed aside like a child's toys. A man hole cover rests, a crescent shadow on one side that leads down beneath the street, maybe to wires, maybe to pipes or maybe to nothing.

A pile of bricks stand, a makeshift babel, a marker. Is a family pet buried here? Is this just a balancing act? I take pictures of it once, and then again. The weeds are growing tall here. It is a minor miracle, that no one has knocked it down. Not even the fresh hurricane that swept through the city last week could topple it. Black clouds swirling above buildings like a comic book's last act, rain smacking against windows, streets flooding and these bricks remain.

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