Growing Up Russian: Top 10 Memories

by RA Jr. on July 7, 2011

This past weekend while getting wasted celebrating America’s birthday, we gots to thinking about our first experiences with this great land as children. And great experiences they were (for us, not the Americans who had to put up with our nonsense).

Here are the top 10 memories we know you can relate to:

1) Taking trips around the neighborhood to find disposed of furniture / electronics that would be used to furnish your home sweet home. Did bed bugs even exist back then? Not to us!

2) Getting your hair butchered styled by “Alla”, the lady who lived downstairs. Price of haircut: $5. Price of therapy due to side effects of said haircut… TBD … we’ll send you the bill in 2020, when we finally recover.

3) Skipping forward a grade because you could successfully add 2 + 2.

4) Being sent to ESL because even though you could successfully add 2 + 2, you were unable to communicate the results with the rest of your English speaking amigos.

5) Being 9 years old but associating mainly with 15 year olds because you were all in the same ESL class. This made you smoke cigarettes in the bathroom mature for your age.

6) Your mom forcing you to wear layers. Way too many of them. In the winter. And Fall, and Spring, and Summer.

7) Holding on for dear life as the door of your parent’s 79′ Chevrolet flung open on a wide turn. Considering the car was 20 years old and purchased for $700, it was doing much better than expected.

8) Learning that the most useful word in the classroom was “CanIgotothebathroomplease” — it was one very long word.

9) Discovering that your last name was actually an English curse word / private part.

10) Dying to try McDonalds and getting food poisoning when you finally did. Then prominently displaying the toy you got with your happy meal in your bedroom as the trophy showing that you actually went.

PS: In case you were wondering, this is what RA Jr. pretty much looked like after her appointment with “Alla”:

There was, however, no party in the back.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

SadoMoo July 8, 2011 at 5:53 pm

I recall fondly having lived for years and years in Brooklyn before I realized that “Nepchen Avenue” and Neptune Avenue were one and the same.


Anonymous July 8, 2011 at 6:02 pm

Haha — guaranteed you’re not alone on that 


SM July 9, 2011 at 6:12 am

Pretty much spot on. Especially about “Alla.”
Although if your parents didn’t insist on your using hot, just-boiled milk in your cereal, you got off pretty easy.


Anonymous July 10, 2011 at 5:09 am

Woah never heard that one before. Anything else? 


sputnik August 19, 2012 at 5:48 pm

yes, I did know that cereal was supposed to be crunchy or that ice water does not cause the flu.


Yana Yanovskaya July 11, 2011 at 4:07 pm

having your babysitters being your babushki, and having to do errands for them…having to explain to your public school teachers why you’re doing math homework in study hall…for not public school (this might just be a boston thing though..)


Anonymous August 12, 2011 at 8:03 pm

They’re all pretty much spot on, but when I read about Alla the milk commenced its squirt out of my dear nostrils. Figuratively speaking of course. For a good 6 years my hair was cut by a lady named Alla who lived… you guessed it… downstairs in a 2 family home in Sheepshead.


rink August 30, 2011 at 1:18 am

All of this is more or less right on, except I didn’t get to skip a grade and got taken out of math to go to ESL class. I now speak English very well, and barely passed my math regents. WTF.
I didn’t have enough haircuts as a kid to realize I had an “Alla”, but my younger brother and grandfather did have what I called “$5 Soviet Haircut Man” Good haircut? Bad haircut? Male? Female? Does not matter. Cost $5.


Rkrivor April 22, 2012 at 9:16 am

Lmfao!! I had a lady next door giving me haircuts! And we did the garbage appliance shopping trips too!! We called it: garbage sale.


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