The Weird Wobbly Meat Jello That Is Russian Kholodets

Don’t start exploring Russian cuisine with kholodets. That is if you are willing to enjoy Russian food. Start with something familiar like pelmeni, Russian-style dumplings, or soup… you’ve had soups before, right? Don’t dive into Russian food head first by trying the one thing most foreigners find weird and, frankly, disgusting. Kholodets, as people like…

Kandy Beyond the Temple of the Tooth Relic

If I come across one more blog post that tells me to walk around the city lake as one of the top things to do in Kandy, I’ll lose it, I swear. The lake is all right, but you’ll pass it at least ten times a day anyways since it’s located right in the heart…

Moscow GUM Is Not for Shopping, It’s for Eating

Moscow GUM was one of those places where I, a naive girl from a small Russian town, was genuinely afraid to step in on my first visit to the capital. I was ten and the concept of a shopping mall was new to me. When I needed a new blouse or winter boots for the…

Ekaterinburg Travel Guide Written by a Local with Love

When foreigners ask me which Russian city I am from, more often than not they expect to hear “Moscow” or “Saint Petersburg”. When I say “Ekaterinburg”, the reaction is usually “Oh… ok… I will never be able to pronounce that”. To which I reply: “Not only will you be able to pronounce it, but you’ll…

50 Important Tips for Traveling in Russia

So you are planning a visit to my Motherland? This truly makes me happy. As a person who was born in Russia and knows about its beauty, historical and cultural heritage, and warm hospitality, I often feel frustrated by the lack of interest to my home country around the world. Ok, I’ll rephrase that. There’s…

Jackfruit Explained + Jackfruit Curry (Polos) Recipe

Many years ago, when I just moved to Sri Lanka, I decided that jackfruit was going to be my favorite fruit. I say “decided” because I distinctly remember the moment when I made that decision. I was at a farmer’s market in Colombo, having my lunch of rice and curry prepared by a local lady….

Victory Day: Why I Remember and You Should Too

With a little over a month left till summer, I walked around the city center of Ekaterinburg under a snowfall like I haven’t seen in years. Even for hardcore Russia snow in April is a little too much. Not completely unexpected, but it’s definitely an “oh, common!” moment. After half an hour outside, a one-inch…

My Helper Thinks I am Useless, and That’s Ok

I have a suspicion our helper, Maheshari, thinks I am what is in Sinhalese called “wadakata na” — useless, good for nothing. She likes me though, but doesn’t think I am capable of doing things on my own, especially when it comes to her domain — the kitchen. Her conviction might have something to do…

5 Little Things You Can Do to Live a More Sustainable Life in Sri Lanka

“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”  ― Mahatma Gandhi My ordinary conversation with a waiter when ordering cold drinks goes as follows: “Can I have a mango juice (pineapple juice, mojito, ginger beer) and no straw please?” “No what?” “No straw” “Ok, weirdo,” they don’t actually say it out loud, but I…