Wondering what Ramzan Kadyrov said on Instagram about the terrorist attack in Boston? Wonder no more, because I, your faithful correspondent, have translated his statement.
“Tragic events took place in Boston. People died as a result of a terrorist attack. Earlier, we expressed condolences to the residents of the city and the people of America. Today, the media reports that a certain Tsarnaev was killed in an attempted arrest. It would have been logical if he had been arrested and an investigation conducted to explain all the circumstances and degree of his guilt. We see that the security services needed results at any cost to appease the public. Any attempts to make a connection between Chechnya and the Tsarnaevs, if they are guilty, are in vain. They grew up in the United States; their views and convictions were formed there. It is necessary to search for roots of evil in America. The whole world needs to fight terrorism. This is something we know better than anyone. We wish a recovery to all the injured and share the Americans’ feelings of sorrow. #terror attack #Boston #investigation/result/consequence”
It’s important to note that his last hashtag (следствие) can be translated in multiple ways and it’s not completely clear what he meant (though I am inclined to go with the “consequence” translation, as in this attack is a consequence of America’s actions).
I translated this article in response to a piece on Quartz that did not fully understand what Kadyrov said. Unfortunately, at this point many people are relying on Google Translate for the statement, and we all know Google Translate isn’t always accurate. Feel free to use my translation (but please credit me!).
Today is a boring day, my friends. The reason? The US financial markets are closed today (it’s Presidents Day*). What is a little aspiring finance professional like yours truly supposed to do on a market holiday? Read random articles and share them with readers, that’s what! I’ve actually been meaning to share this Forbes article, called How The South Will Rise To Power Again, for ages now, but I keep forgetting.
Basically, the article says that the South (the American South, that is) is not as backward and terrible as many would have us believe. After all, people are moving there in great numbers and it is an economically growing region.
I’m not a true Southerner. I think that deep down, a part of me will always be that girl from Pennsylvania. But I’ve lived in the South for quite a long time now, as we moved from Pennsylvania when I was pretty young. Like most things, the South is way more complicated than the media portrays it. The stereotype of the uneducated Southerner who speaks English with an almost incomprehensible drawl is not true for many people you meet down here.
I may not be Southern by birth, but I’ve lived here long enough to have adopted this place as my home, and I can’t help but feel some pride about the article.
*I think Presidents Day is one of the strangest holidays in this country. But I sort of like it, too, because I like random strange holidays that different countries have. After all, it’s a great deal more normal (to my American sensibilities) than Bonfire Night, for example.
This post is old, but good (if I don’t say so myself): Can We Please Stop Trying to ‘Hack’ Everything? I’ve seen posts recently about ‘hacking’ language learning (can’t be done, people, so stop trying); ‘hacking’ public school (in this case, it was used a euphemism for acting like a helicopter parent and helping your kid cheat); and ‘hacking’ web development (again, there’s no substitute for just sitting down and actually spending time playing around with programming languages).
This absurd notion of ‘hacking’ represents what is wrong with the young generation in America today: people are unwilling to take responsibility for their actions and put in the hard work and effort required for most endeavors.
I’m so annoyed right now, thinking about all of this. I think I’ll go knit or play violin to calm down.
One of my daily reads is the excellent website Quartz. It’s a fascinating mix of business, economics, finance, and other sorts of things that are right up my alley. It is modern journalism at its finest and if you want to learn about (and understand) the world today, you really should read it, too. (For the record, I’m not a paid representative of Quartz and no one working there asked me to say this.)
After seven years living in New York City’s hustle and bustle, working as a digital products manager for a major media company, my wife and I decided to leave and see the world. If you’d told either of us that within a year we’d be living full lives with satisfying jobs in southern Poland, we never would’ve believed you. After a year and a half here, we have no plans of returning to the US.
We chose Kraków because we have close friends here, who also left New York City in 2010 after not finding work for nine long months. Now they own a translating, teaching and proofreading business and are so busy with clients that they constantly have to turn down work. When they first announced their intention to move to Poland, I was taken aback by what seemed to be a radical plan, but now it makes perfect sense. They left their (home)land of opportunity for one that’s truly earning that reputation.
Basically, Crabtree works in the technology industry in Poland and that is amazing. I don’t speak Polish, but I would be willing to give it a try if I lived in Poland. Continue reading →
I’ve been trying to decide all day whether I feel more American today or on Thanksgiving. I spent Thanksgiving of 2010 abroad and I felt so incredibly American. And even though I’m not abroad today, I’ve spent the day feeling incredibly American.
Being American is strange sometimes, though. Americans are the only people looked down upon for defending their country. I feel like if someone criticizes Germany or France, for example, and a native of either of those countries defends their country, people may still think that person’s defense is wrong or misguided, but forgive him or her because “oh, well she’s French” or “he was born in Germany, didn’t you know.”
Whereas if an American objects to anti-Americanism and defends the United States, that person is immediately labeled an “ugly American” who is obviously ignorant by virtue of being an American. A corollary of this is it is fashionable and regarded as okay to criticize the United States, but not any other country. Once I was studying with my friend J. (who is American, born and raised) and she kept making jabs at the US. Some were deserved, some not. And yet, when I made a jab at the British (I said their food was terrible, which it is!), she flipped out. “There’s nothing wrong with British food,” she said rudely. “I found it not to be to my liking,” I informed her. After all, I lived there for one academic year and got to experience all sorts of strange concoctions. I thought it was ridiculous (and frankly, stupid) that she would openly attack her own country, but no other countries.
I’m proud of being an American, so I am going to dedicate this post to what I love about living here and being American. Continue reading →
I found this fascinating map over at the MLA website that shows what foreign languages are taught in different counties across the United States. It also has an interesting list of statistics if you scroll down. Did you know that there are 702,242 speakers of Russian in this country? (I have no idea where they got this data. I’m assuming it’s from a census, but I could be wrong.)
The word in Russian for decade is десятилетие [desyatiletie]. Like some other words, I prefer the Russian version of this word because if you know Russian, it’s relatively easy to figure out what it means. The first part of the word, десяти [desyati], comes from десять [desyat], which means ten. The second part, летие [letie], comes from лет [lyet], the genitive plural of the word for year – год [god] in Russian. Thus, it is relatively easy to decipher the meaning of this word, unlike its English equivalent (unless you know Latin, which the average American does not).
It’s been a decade since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Ten years. All week, I have been seeing references to this, mainly in the form of people’s reflections about their experiences on that day. I will add my voice to the many who have already spoken and hope that I can offer something new. After all, most of the remembrances I have seen were written by adults who were adults in 2001. I was not.
Ten years ago today, I was asleep. I am writing this at approximately 12:40 am Eastern time, and we lived in the Eastern time zone in 2001, so I know this to be a fact. I was in middle school and my family was renting a house far from my school, so I always had to get up early on school mornings.
Most of the soon-to-be victims of the attacks were probably asleep, too. After all, most of them were either going to work the next morning, or going to the airport to fly to Los Angeles or San Francisco. They did not know, of course, that this would be the last night they would sleep, and that the next morning would be the last day of their lives.
To be honest, there was nothing especially extraordinary about that morning. I’m sure I ate breakfast (because I always eat breakfast). My teeth were probably bothering me because I’d just had an orthodontist appointment a few days before to have my braces adjusted. My mom dropped me off at school and I went to class, just as usual.
We had double English class that morning. Instead of having our usual forty-five minute class, we had a ninety minute period every Tuesday. The objective was to help us work on our writing during the second half of the class. At 9:00 EDT, halfway through double English, the school principal came into our classroom. She told us that something terrible had happened, something that our teacher didn’t even know yet. Then she told us about the airplanes and how they had flown into the Twin Towers. I’ll never forget my English teacher’s gasp of horror.
We basically didn’t have school for the rest of the day. For the rest of the morning, my grade gathered in the geography teacher’s classroom, where we watched news coverage. We saw loads of footage, of course, but what I remember most was the South Tower being hit. They showed it again and again: the North Tower was smoking and United Airlines Flight 75 just came out of nowhere, flying in a purposeful and terrifying arc before crashing into the South Tower.
Above is a pretty decent montage of news reports of the South Tower being hit. Until I saw the TV reports, I’d had the absurd idea that the hijacked planes were fighter jets flown from some mysterious country, not actual commercial airliners like the ones my family flew on when we went to look at houses in different cities before moving.
Words and Pictures and a Thousand Lives
A picture is worth a thousand words. That’s a common aphorism, and it’s certainly true concerning this photo of United Airlines Flight 175 hitting the South Tower. But in a macabre twist on this saying: how many lives is that picture worth? How many people were dying in that photograph? Let us calculate:
51 passengers (not including the hijackers), 9 crew
Approximately 900 people in the South Tower
That’s according to Wikipedia. By that count, that picture is worth 960 lives. 960 people who were not supposed to die that day. 960 people who each meant something to someone. 960 people who were our fellow human beings.
Going to War
The months and then the years passed. The towers fell; we cleaned up the rubble. I learned more about the other two flights that were hijacked on September 11, American Airlines Flight 77 and United Airlines Flight 93. I learned about the people who had made final phone calls, both to loved ones and to 911 dispatchers, as they died.
We went to war. That was strange, going to war. Growing up, I learned about World War I and World War II and I sometimes used to wonder, out of simple curiosity, what it would be like to live during a war. Suddenly, I was living in a time of war, and it wasn’t anything like I imagined. There weren’t ration cards for food, or people working in munitions factories, as I had read in history books. Over the years, I’ve learned that war in the twenty-first century is very different from war in the twentieth century.
The Falling People
We’ve had memorials over the years. We’ve had time to reflect. We have seen so much footage since the day of the attacks and read so many accounts of what happened. But the images that have stayed with me over the years are ones of the falling people, those who jumped out of the World Trade Center because the alternative was dying in the fire.
I am not the only one haunted by this image – there has been an entire documentary made on the subject of that one photograph and a quest to find out who that poor doomed man was.
The documentary is long and I highly recommend watching it. I would also recommend watching the film United 93, which is about the flight that crashed in a field in Pennsylvania.
It’s been ten years. We have continued with our lives, as we must. But we also must remember September 11, 2001. Be honest: how often do you think of the 9/11 attacks? If you have not thought of them in a while, take some time and reflect. It’s the least we can do to honor the the victims.
I still have a cold. My nose is incredibly stuffy and I cannot stop coughing. It’s disgusting.
I installed the latest WordPress update and now my dashboard and the whole WordPress interface is new and different.
I found out I have creative anxiety. In case you’re too lazy to click the link, it is for a book called Mastering Creative Anxiety: 24 Lessons for Writers, Painters, Musicians, & Actors from America’s Foremost Creativity Coach. My mom found it at the library and immediately handed it to me. I did not realize that there was actually a term for my reluctance to both sit down and write and my reluctance to share my work…
It’s the Fourth of July. So here is a recording of our national anthem, the Star-Spangled Banner. It took me forever to find a recording I liked, so please watch it.
That’s all for now – hope all my American readers had a lovely Fourth of July!
Today is Victory Day in Russia, so С Днем Победы [Happy Victory Day] to everyone who’s celebrating. Why is Victory Day celebrated on May 9 in Russia and other former Soviet countries, but on May 8 in Western Europe and America? (Not that it’s really celebrated in America, to be honest… more on that later.) Due to the time zone differences, it was already May 9 in the Soviet Union when Nazi Germany surrendered.
Russia really, really celebrates Victory Day. Growing up in the United States, I cannot remember any specific marking of the day. When I was old enough to know about World War II, I knew when Victory Day was just as a matter of historical trivia, but I never remember anybody celebrating. But in Russia, there is a huge parade in Moscow every year, and many other cities in both Russia and countries that were part of the Soviet Union hold parades and celebrations as well. Someday in the near future, I am going to attend the Moscow Victory Day parade. It must be something else to see.
While we’re on the subject, here’s an interesting cultural sensitivity question: is it rude to wish a German person a happy Victory Day? I wished some British people a happy Victory Day, but that’s different because we were on the same side in World War II. Seriously, is wishing a German (I’ve got a couple German friends here at university) a happy Victory Day basically like saying, “Yes, this is to remember that the country in which I was born and from which I have my citizenship, along with the country in which I’m currently living AND the country whose language I have devoted myself to studying all seriously beat your native country in World War II.” Because that just sounds, well, mean.
A few other interesting differences between America, Britain, and Russia: an American or Brit will call the war “World War II” and say it was from 1939 to 1945. A Russian calls it the “Great Patriotic War” [Великая Отечественная Война] and will say it was from 1941 to 1945.