Almost Famous (But Not Really)

As an American living in Yekaterinburg, there are a lot of outreach opportunities, partly because we're such a small community, and partly because our Public Affairs Officer works hard to make sure we all have the opportunities. Sometimes whether we want them or not.

When Krisi mentioned that a local news station was doing a story on foreigners in Yekaterinburg and asked if I'd like to participate, she sold it as something small and informal. This is Krisi. I should have known better. It was actually a three hour interview, wherein I went to four different sites in the city and spoke with a reporter (whom I had met before when Sarah was here - she's lovely and speaks English perfectly, so I knew I was in good hands). After my horrendous reality television experience a couple of years ago, I'm well aware that I a) can't act and b) get hideously self conscious on camera. At least this time nothing was too staged (a few things here or there, but I didn't have to do them over and over like we did with the reality TV thing).

Anastasia, the reporter, said she'd like to interview me in my favorite place in the city, and that at least was easy. I told her about Wine and Chocolate, my fave writing spot, and that's where we finished the interview. Poor Pasha, my adorable little English-speaking waiter, got roped into the whole thing. Hopefully he doesn't hate me TOO much (cuz I need my cappuccinos and chocolate!).

Before that, however, we visited three different sites in the city. First up was a cultural museum that had an exhibit on Tsar Nicholas II. Sadly, nothing was in English, but Anastasia translated a few things for me and I was able to hopefully come up with a couple of semi-intelligent comments. I actually am fascinated with the history of this region so at least I didn't have to fake anything.

Next up was an open-air "library" in the big amusement park. Apparently 80 years ago, there was a little library set up in the park, where people could check out a book and sit by a pond and read. They decided to bring this quaint tradition back this year, and they even brought in a few English books for yours truly. I picked up an old copy of Sense and Sensibility that smelled vaguely of cat pee and "read" in a bean bag chair for a little while. It actually would have been very pleasant if I really had been reading.

And then we visited one of Yekat's main tourist attractions - a completely random statue of Michael Jackson. Russians seems to think that Americans are obsessed with MJ. I think the fact that I hadn't seen the statue after living here a year proves I am not, in fact, obsessed, but it was still kind of fun (and sort of embarrassing walking around with a reporter and a cameraman like I was a celebrity or something).

MJ and me

There was a part of me that really wanted to strike a Michael pose for this photo. But there's something about knowing your lameness is going to air on television that tends to keep the lameness in check. The show is schedule to air some time in August. I may or may not post a link - depending on how lame I actually look.


  1. Amazing! A little disappointed that there was no MJ pose, however. Love you!


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