Sunday, December 22, 2013

Learning about Russia

I recently read "The Secret Holocaust Diaries".  As always, my curiosity was aroused about several things.  Of course it takes place in the 1930's and 40's.  It shows what happened to a Russian family during those difficult times, as seen through a young girl's eyes.  

Now, here's where my wandering/wondering mind led me:  Nonna mentioned various towns in Russia where she lived as a child.  I said to myself, my Russian friend Meesha comes from Odessa. I'm going to see how far that is from where the author lived.  

So I went to Mapquest and asked for directions from one town to the other.

In the process of doing this, I noticed that when I hovered my cursor over Odessa, it said Odessa, Ukraine.  The other town, on the right, was in Russia.  How could this be?  
So I went to Meesha's Facebook page and asked, "This may be a silly question, but is Ukraine a different country than Russia?"  

Turns out it is.  But it's no wonder I was confused.  There's the title of Meesha's blog, for instance:  "Kansas City with the Russian Accent".  I recall seeing the statement, somewhere on his blog, this statement:  "From the mind of one Russian Jewish American".  

I think he needs to change the name of his blog to "Kansas City with the Ukrainian Accent".

 Here I go learning more geography.  My head hurts, trying to take all this stuff in.

Meanwhile, my wandering mind has led me to some photos of the Ukraine.  I wonder why I have always pictured all those countries in that part of the world (Russia, Germany, etc.) as being stark and gray.  Maybe that's a result of my watching too many old black-and-white war movies.  I saw some pictures of lovely countryside in Ukraine.  It seems they do a lot of farming there. 

So I wondered if the countryside in Russia is as lovely as that in Ukraine.  Guess what you get when you search for photos of Russia?  Pictures of maps, that's what.  Oh, and this:

Maps and buildings.  That's what the search for Russian pictures got me.  If I had to choose between Ukraine and Russia, I guess I'd choose Ukraine, just judging by the pictures.  

I just found out I need to be more specific when I do a search.  I tried Russian agriculture, and here's what I got.

  Then I searched for "Russian countryside".
I wouldn't mind having this framed, hanging on a wall.

So there are green things growing in Russia, but notice the gray, cloudy sky.  

Now my wondering mind wonders if I am going to be sued for snagging these pictures from all over the Internet.  


  1. The photos you chose are beautiful. I couldn't handle the winters in Russia. A friend of mine worked in Russia(on and off) as a project engineer; he was based in Tula which is a large city--but has no airport! He had to take a taxi all the way from Moscow. Pretty primitive. He is now in Brazil and likes it way better!

  2. It's nice when a book encourages you to find out more. Interesting what you've come up with

  3. Books spark the imagination and have us longing for more.


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