How to Make Racist Friends and Alienate People

Q sits in my kitchen drinking a canned gin and tonic from a dirty wine glass. “I can’t make any friends in Russia,” he says. I wait. “Q.” He turns. “We’re friends.” He shrugs. “Kind of.” “Kind of how?” “We are just two people who don’t really listen to each other talk. That’s much better than friends.” I frown. “How is that better than friends?” … Continue reading How to Make Racist Friends and Alienate People

The Paris Test

We find a Vietnamese place between where I live and Q works. It’s fair since neither of us likes walking too far from where we need to be. “Why are we getting Vietnamese?” he asks. I shrug. “I wanted soup.” “We’re in Russia. They practically invented soup.” “Yeah,” I agree, “but,” I point to the bowl, “this is the only soup they won’t put mayonnaise … Continue reading The Paris Test

The Safest Summer Camp in the World 6

*Part 6 of The Safest Summer Camp in the World. If you haven’t caught up, click HERE. The night before the bus comes the kids are tasked with coming up with and presenting their own religions. They spend the whole day preparing so I take a long walk to the closest shop two kilometers down the road. At night everyone is gathered in the main … Continue reading The Safest Summer Camp in the World 6

The Safest Summer Camp in the World 5

*Part 5 of The Safest Summer Camp in the World. If you haven’t caught up, click HERE. It’s been half a week now. We went to the Zoo in Helsinki yesterday, so no one died. After dinner every night, the kids all gather while K tallies the number of deaths each person has and gives out rewards for creativity. It seems everyone is at four … Continue reading The Safest Summer Camp in the World 5

The Intelligent American

Q asked me to a drink. “You can meet my American friends,” he told me. “Oh?” “Yeah,” he said, excited, “they are from Portland.” “Oh.” Q is already there when I arrive, a place not far from my apartment that serves only alcoholic cider. His American friends turn out to be one guy and his absent girlfriend. “She got sick off some vegan shawarma,” he … Continue reading The Intelligent American