“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…

48 Hours in Boston: What to Do and Where to Eat

“I guess no true Bostonian would trust a place that was sunny and pleasant all the time. But a gritty, perpetually cold and gloomy neighborhood? Throw in a couple of Dunkin’ Donuts locations, and I’m right at home.”  Rick Riordan Before going into details on how to spend 48 hours in Boston, let me tell…

25 Pictures That Will Make You Wish You Were at Texas Monthly BBQ Fest

What If I said that you can have Franklin’s famous fatty brisket without waiting in line for four hours, then get your hands on the juiciest pork ribs of your life from Snow’s without having to wait till Saturday and drive all the way to Lexington, and afterwards try pretty much every exceptionally great BBQ…

Hook ’em Horns! or My First American Football Game

If there’s one thing I learned from attending a football game between Texas and Oklahoma, it’s that OU sucks! If you are from Oklahoma, I sincerely apologize! If you have no idea what I am talking about, I’ll explain in a bit. I don’t have anything at all against Oklahoma, it just so happened that…

The Meaning of Life Can Be Found in a Russian Kitchen

When my best friend and I were 15 and lived in our small town of Asbest (remind me to tell you one day about my sweet little town, the largest producer of asbestos in the world) there was literally no place for us to hang out. Don’t judge my use of “literally” here. I mean…

Las Vegas Streets and Eats

“The reason you should go to Las Vegas is because, for only the second time, the second time, ever, they have rebuilt Sodom and Gomorrah. It’s back! And you have the opportunity to see it before it turns to salt.” (Lewis Black) “If the flight to Las Vegas is any indication of what my stay…

The Time I Made Cookies for Buddhist Monks

The house before dana was a mess. Don’t take me wrong: physically, it was clean and shiny. The floors had been scraped so hard you could almost see your own reflection. The furniture had been moved to create more room. New beautiful tableware replaced everyday plates and cups. The mood, though, was somewhere on the…