1. You were always being told to cover your head when it was cold.
2. Except when you were being told, "Don't go out with wet hair! You'll get meningitis!"
3. Wearing a dress without pantyhose? Haha, nice try.
4. Everything was bad luck. Whistle inside? Good job, you just ensured yourself a life with no money.
5. Actually, you were always being told a lot of things would rain destruction upon you, like reading lying down, which would basically leave you blind.
6. You never threw away a plastic bag, but saved them in a drawer.
7. The "nice" shopping bags got their own drawer.
8. Every pickle jar, jam jar, anything jar was promptly cleaned, repurposed and used as tupperware.
9. You had at least one of these blankets in your home. Probably two.
10. One out of every two people you knew from the old country was an engineer.
11. Dropping lines from Pushkin poems or centuries old sayings was just what you did in conversation.
12. Family gatherings meant hearing, "We're not arguing, we're just discussing!"
13. Potatoes are to be boiled. Soup is to be had at every meal.
14. Most families had wine glasses. You had great heavy crystal chalices.
15. Birthdays meant fielding phonecalls from every uncle, aunt, second cousin, and family friend, saying: "I wish you health, happiness, and success in your personal life."
16. Telling your friends to take their shoes off once they got in the house was always a treat.
17. You were pretty sure books were meant to be bought as series — the collected works of [every Russian writer who ever lived].
18. Your parents always praised the wonders of American medicine — but kept a few bottles of the magical Russian stuff stashed around the house.
19. It was only when you started going to school that you learned sandwiches came with two pieces of bread, not just one.
20. While your friends were busy playing poker, you were playing durak.
21. Novoe Russkoe Slovo was all the news that's fit to print (in Russian and a month or three late).
22. When the U.S. took a political decision they didn't agree with, the first thing you heard was: "This country is turning into the Soviet Union!"
23. It all makes sense. They're Russians.
Miriam Elder is the world editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Her secure PGP fingerprint is 5B5F EC17 C20B C11F 226D 3EBE 6205 F92F AC14 DCB1
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