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…

50 Important Tips for Traveling in Sri Lanka

If you are visiting Sri Lanka for the first time, oh how I envy you! The first acquaintance with the country is always special. After living here for a total of 3.5 years on and off I have definitely developed a strong bond with this island, but I still remember my first time, when I…

“Mama, Chai?” or the Way Russians Drink Tea

Without a cup of tea any meal feels incomplete to me and to any other Russian for that matter. For the longest time I thought that’s how it works all around the world. Or at least in the tea-drinking countries like Sri Lanka. One would assume that people of Sri Lanka, one of the largest…

30 Pictures That Will Inspire You to Visit Texas

“You may all go to hell and I will go to Texas.”  Davy Crockett If you had to describe Texas with hashtags which ones would you choose? #DontMessWithTexas? #RememberTheAlamo? #CowboyBootsForeva? #WillieNelsonForPresident?  I chose mine two years ago, after moving to Austin, and it’s #TexasIsNotOnlyCowboys. “Duh, Yulia!” would say anyone who was born in the U.S.A….

I Moved to Sri Lanka… For the Third Time

You know it’s hot when your husband strokes your shoulder, but instead of one continuous move it comes out as an odd broken pat because his sweaty palm just won’t slide down your sticky skin gently. Kinda like when as a kid you go down an ice slide on your butt instead of a sled…

Bread and Break-in in San Francisco

It doesn’t look good when a person who is about to go through airport security check starts laughing hysterically for no apparent reason. Even worse, if the person in question doesn’t have any luggage. I mean, who comes to the airport with one brown paper bag as a carry-on item? Only a very suspicious person…