1. You clap when the plane lands.

The origin of this practice is unknown. But it seems to only happen on flights to or from Russia.

2. You have a thick metal front door covered with fake leather, plus at least two locks, and it looks completely normal to you.

It is for protection, but you are not sure from what.

3. You have seen or own at least one key the length of your palm.

You do not know why you need an old-school key like this, but in Russia, you do not ask “why?”

4. You are used to all the paperwork you have to do.

They still keep library cards, insurance policies and medical records of patients in large files, all handwritten.

5. You start to dress up and become more conscious about how you look.

Russians dress to impress. You won’t want to look underdressed among Russians. Short skirts in winter is normal.

6. You are used to seeing 6-year-olds taking public transport by themselves.

Russians are independent people. You stop asking random kids on the bus “Where are your parents?”

7. You catch yourself using one or two Russian words in your daily conversation when you are back in your home country.

Example: “Kashmar!” (Nightmare!), “Bozhemoi!” (Oh my God! ) and “Allo” instead of “Hello” when answering the phone.

8. You expect people to immediately stop for you upon raising your thumb.

Hitchhiking is very easy in Russia compared to other places. Some kind of proof about Russians being very friendly. Even when you don’t raise your hand, people stop for you offering free rides.

9. You know more than 30 Olgas, 20 Elenas, and another 20 Natashas.

This used to bother me a lot. 70% of Russians have the same names.

10. You think it is okay to call an old woman “Devushka” and an old man “Maladoi Chelovek.”

Devuska means young girl and Maladoi Chelovek means young man.

11. You start to treat your colds with tea and lemon or pure honey.

You are sick? Have you tried drinking warm tea with lemon?

12. You start using Vkontakte more than Facebook.

Vkontakte is more popular than the US-based Facebook.

13. You start to giggle at the “Russians” in Hollywood movies.

Did he just say that? He used the wrong nominal declension, how could he pass as a Russian?!

14. You eat too much Blinni.

You love “Matslenitsa” week because you get to eat different pancakes every day for a week.

15. You keep all your empty pickle jars.

You know you probably won’t use them, but you are keeping them anyway.

16. You always ask “Kto Pasledni” in the post office/clinic/dentist.

There should be a line, but you don’t see a nicely-formed queue. All you can see is people standing or sitting across the room.

17. You are used to people eating jam or condensed milk with a spoon.

I will never understand this.

18. You only buy an odd number of flowers.

Odd number is for the living while even number is for the deceased.

19. You are numb to the stern expressions you see on the streets.

Deep down you know that Russians are friendly people, they just don’t like to smile at random people.

20. You stop complaining on the phone to your mum about how rude Russians can be.

You understand that their language stresses certain syllables, making them sound like they are shouting all the time.

21. You start wishing your friends “Merry Christmas” on January 7.

And you don’t freak out anymore when you see a “Santa Clause” in a blue robe (Dieg Moroz) walking together with his granddaughter, the blue “Santarina” (Snegurochka).

22. You think winter in other places outside of the Arctic Circle only deserve to be called “spring.”

When you’ve gone through -30 degree Celsius, you start to feel too warm when temperature reaches 0.

23. You are hardy and always ready for drastic weather changes.

0C yesterday and -20 today? No problem!

24. You put “smetana” into your soup and turn meat into jelly.

You love dairy products in your savory soup by now and meat jelly doesn’t freak you out any more. In fact, you know how to make one yourself.

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