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Discuss culture, living, traveling, relocating, dating or anything related to Russia, Ukraine, or the former Soviet Republics.
7 posts • Page 1 of 1
Hiya, this is my first post here. Winston posted an email I sent him about Russian music on this forum, though.
I'm Christian, Orthodox, though I've only been going to my Orthodox church for a year. My church is OCA, or Orthodox Church of America. Basically, it's meant to be an American Orthodox Church. Liturgy is in English. My parish was originally a Russian parish, as in all the liturgy was Russian, almost exclusively Russian as far as people who went. My church now, while it's OCA is still fairly culturally Russian, probably half the congregation is "converts" like myself, and half is Russian/Eastern Bloc or their family members. We do have Russian hymns like once a month to honor that the parish was originally Russian, too. I've not actually been to any non-OCA church, I did go to one other OCA Church somewhere else, and they did a thorough job of trying to "De-Russianize" their old church, for better or worse. So I've never been to a Greek Orthodox or Russian/Ukranian Orthodox Church, though they're around where I live pretty prevalently.
I've read through lots of Winston's stuff, and lurked a bit on here reading what people have to say about Russia. One person brought up Orthodoxy as being a defining cultural difference, and brought up how if you weren't Orthodox, you'd have a bad time in Russia/Eastern Bloc. Well, uhm, I am Orthodox (still not charismated though.) I'm wondering if anyone has any real input into this at all, in how I'd "do" going to Russia or somewhere in the region for finding a wife. I mean, even people at church (who aren't Russian even) joke "Yeah, just go to Bulgaria and find yourself a nice buxom Bulgarian wife!" or stuff like that.
Dating in general being Orthodox is sorta harder, as you're put into a tough place culturally/religiously. Protestants think you're not "saved" and think all your Orthodox stuff is just weirdness. Catholics would be a better bet, but I was raised Protestant, that and finding Catholics who like, actually go to church more than once or twice a year is a challenge in itself. The same can also be said of the Orthodox, though. So the jokes of "Go to Russia, haha" are actually seeming sorta...right. It's a bit harder here finding someone who will accept the Orthodox thing. Church here could be a decent place to find someone to date, my church is very small. My friend from church goes to the Greek church in another town very often, basically just to make social/dating connections with other Orthodox youth there (I'm about to be 22, he's about my age also.) I also know a priest who did grow up Orthodox, he found his wife in Romania (Orthodox parish priests are married in case people here didn't know.)
So I don't know how familiar people here are to my questions, but I figured this would be a place to ask. How well would I "fit in" in Russia compared to average, being Orthodox? While I'm here I'm still free to visit some Russian or Greek parishes, too and see how they are, too. I'm partially afraid of being perceived as like...a white Rasta in Jamaica, you know? But is being perceived as a white Rasta better than being perceived as, well, a sleezebag?
Besides the religious difference, too, there is some drawing I have to the "Eastern Bloc" kinda cultures. I had a Bosnian babysitter as a kid, and spent probably half my childhood with her household. I got along well with them, and out of all my family members, I was only one who'd like, eat the boreks and Bosnian food and stuff. So having that culture like, raise me a bit, probably had some effect on me. Also, one of my athletic hobby brings me into contact with lots of Russians. At my rink there's a few Russian/Ukranian coaches and skaters there, some I believe paid for by the government of their home countries (as it's easier to get ice time in America.) The Russian coaches and skaters didn't seem to initially like me and were sorta cold in their attitudes toward me, but now that I've been around a bit longer they're somewhat friendlier to me.
So yeah, under these circumstances, what do you think? Am I in any sort of advantageous situation being Orthodox and my background, or not?
Thanks for any responses, and sorry for such a long post.
It is a big advantage, but do keep in mind that just attending services with certain rites in them does not immediately permeate your soul with their way of thinking. If you were raised Protestant, you would still act Protestant in many ways. American non-Protestants, just by virtue of being in America, still act Protestant. Which means- individualistic, very cheap on time and money, dressing modestly; women treating men on equal terms or as superior to them and men kowtowing to women. Philosophy and poetry are despised, families are small,and relatives are seen as a waste of time. So, these people may call themselves Catholic or Orthodox, but they behave like Protestants because they live in a Protestant nation.
You keep calling all those US based people Russians or Bulgarian or what not. But they are not. They are Americans and are becoming more and more so every day as they stay in the US. This is one thing that most Americans do not realize- the people whom they call by a certain ethnic name are not that at all. You will realize it as soon as you leave the US shores. They are Americans. Just because they live in the US. A seal under water is an aquatic animal and acts as such. It is no longer a land animal- capiche?
Hard work ( with no clear purpose because we are not on this planet forever), staying busy and love of privacy are all Protestant things.
If you act according to those values , and you may do so, without even realizing it, then you will not come off as being Orthodox in Orthodox countries.
I would, instead of just doing Orthodox rites and singing hymns, concentrate on Orthodox values and culture and how people live their lives because of those. What is the daily behavior when you leave the church? How does one see such things as friendship, love, time, money, society?; how does one treat a fellow human? Those are very important.
When I was in Saudi, I saw some Americans convert to Islam. They had changed a bit as they would be nicer to others and call other men "brothers". Blacks would stop hating white people. They would all support Palestine and despise Jews, though.
But 80% of them still stayed Protestant in behavior- because it was so deeply wired into them.
So, the conclusion is- study the Orthodox civilization in all of its aspects- just think about your life from morning till night and how you act and what you do and how you treat others and ask yourself ( and others- and books) if you act like an Orthodox believer. And what is it you would need to tweak. But for that you would need an observer- but they must be non American or very recent immigrants.
I will take Islam as an example- America is locked in a war of values against Islam and there can never be an agreement. Two totally different views on life. That is how different Protestantism is from Islam.
Keep in mind that Orthodoxy does not even consider Islam to be a different religion but simply a heresy of Orthodoxy. This is how close they are.
I would even dare say that Orthodoxy is even more distant from Protestantism than Islam.
This is why you constantly have all these Americans come back from Russia totally baffled and shocked and they keep cussing and hating the place. But you never ever hear a Greek do that. Or a Serbian or a Bulgarian. You never hear a Macedonian go into a fit about the Russian culture. They fit ( no pun meant) right in. But again, those are not hyphenated Americans I am talking about, but the real thing.
Better yet, why not go and live in a fully Orthodox nation, learn the language and watch how they act and behave? And then just imitate them. It will be a process. Sure you will have an advantage over a real Protestant who ends up there and has a culture shock, but you will still have an ocean of new ideas and ways of behavior to adopt. And majority of it will be just vibes and non verbal things and implied views on life. It will still be a huge shock because you come from OCA- America in it being the key word.
A brain is a terrible thing to wash!
You really have some great options and are well-positioned to attract a desirable young woman.
(1) If you take a young AW on a first date, and like her, invite her to church that Sunday. If she comes, she is flexible. If not, drop her.
(2) If you go overseas for a bride, you have an edge over many who have no exposure to FSU/Balkan culture. Online dating may work well for you, because religion is stated. You will stand out.
(3) If you live overseas, same thing. You have an edge over other expats. Orthodoxy, Russian culture, hockey.
Work it, man.
Probably option 2 is the most likely, but nothing wrong with 1 or 3.
Thanks for the replies.
Thanks for option 1, I guess that's a fairly easy starting litmus test to start with.
Also, I don't play hockey, I figure skate. For all I know I could eventually end up a pairs skater with one of said Russian girls. The ratio of men to women who figure skate is like 10:1 here, so much so American women actually will "buy a Russian" for a pair or dance partner to skate with. In Russia apparently, people don't have this whole "figure skating is gay" thing going on like in America (because we're all so sexually liberated and all.)
Another very Eastern Bloc athletic hobby I have is Olympic style weightlifting, I use it to get more power from my skating and just cuz I like it. Not sure how popular it is in Russia to the general public, but I'm assuming that type of thing is more popular than here in the USA, considering they can pretty consistently get medals in the Olympics for it (we can't even get on the platform.)
I'm considering Asia, specifically Japan, also. If I were to go to Japan, I'd probably go to Hokkaido. Basically some place cold and out in the country where nobody bothers me is what I want. Might stay in America and move to Vermont/New Hamsphire/Maine, too, depending on circumstances and how things play out. Asia would be harder religiously, just I know in Japan there'd *likely* be less infighting amongst Christians as there's so few, and there's a lot of Japanese girls who want Christian husbands that can't get them in Japan. I know a Lutheran priest who is like 50 years old and 300lbs and has a nice looking 30 year old Japanese wife. So maybe 10x easier as an athletic looking 22 year old?
But from what you're saying, though, seems online dating is actually a good bet. I kinda closed my mind to it just because it doesn't work well for American girls. But now even without much in the way of resources to go overseas, it'd be a good time to get talking to some non-American girls online?
To the first post, that's a lot to digest. Speaking of Islam, culturally I get along awesome with Muslims I know here. Maybe that's due to the Bosnians. As I said with people thinking I'm a foreigner, a Pakistani gas station clerk asked what country I was from. I was confused and just told him I'm part Polish and he was like "Oh so your parents are Polish." It took me a bit to realize he didn't think I was American. But Muslims I get along well with as they're impressed at "Wow, so you don't smoke weed all day and party rock in the house all night?!" Orthodox I have comparatively little cultural exposure compared to Muslims, though. But Muslims I get along with great.
Regarding Protestant work ethic, that's sort of one of my problems with America. Work is good...if it accomplishes something. But in America, the biggest example of this is our food. We don't cook anything anymore. Why? Because we're too busy at work. So we go to work to buy prepackaged or restaurant food that costs exponentially more than cooking it ourselves, when we could just work less and cook our own food and be healthier. That's what I'm trying to escape, the insane thought process of that. The other extreme I see, regarding I guess, uh, "Orthodox work ethic" is the entire country of Greece and their economy collapsing basically because people wanted to go to the beach and get pensions instead of working. So I guess a happy medium...
Oh well, thanks a lot for the advice both of you!
Can't think of a better hobby to meet attractive, in-shape, graceful women. You really have everything going for you.
Oh, another thing. Food.
That's one of the big reasons I want a non-American girl. I want someone who has some understanding of food. That it's meant to be cooked in a pan in an oven or on the stove, not pressing 2:00 on a microwave. I don't want some "wife slave" or whatever, but I would like someone who knows how to cook, and more importantly, has this same idea about food as me. I don't care about cooking if she's sick or has to work or what have you, it's not that. It's just I prefer like 90% of what I eat being made from scratch or close to it on a stove, as happens in most foreign countries still.
Most people in America think this is unreasonable. Well, they're the unreasonable ones with all kinds of health problems and fat. So as such, finding a wife who like, knows how to cook, maybe only like 1/10 American women if that have this concept of "cooking" in their minds. Most of the ones I do know have foreign parents. I want this whole like "cook food yourself" and "sit down for meals" thing. I mean, if an American girl was open to learning to cook and live like this, then hey, fine with that, but from what I see, the amount of girls who cook are like a needle in a haystack in America.
This food thing actually broke my parents marriage up. My mother was one of the first to grow up on processed food, she never learned to cook ever. My father grew up in an "oldschool" Italian/Polish household. My mom couldn't cook at all, and wouldn't learn how to either. My dad would cook normal good food, vegetables, brown rice, etc. He was a bit too insistent on organic food at times, but yeah. Basically, he'd make spicy/flavorful food with lots of veggies and stuff, and I'd be the only one in my household who'd eat his food. My mother would make processed food for her and my sisters and not only did my dad have to cook, none of the family except me would eat his food he spent time cooking. Now that I'm older and doing my own cooking, I could see how this would ruin your psyche.
So basically, part of the reason a foreign wife seems appealing is that.
In AW small brains cooking for your boyfriend or husband is demeaning. That's another problem many people don't mention around here. I would go so far and say that a woman who can't cook is only half a woman.
Coming home to a nice meal (or helping your girlfriend prepare a special recipe) is almost as good as sex. It brings happiness no matter what nationality or race you might be. Not to mention the fact that children will grow up much healthier if they avoid fast food and restaurants.
But don't worry, many women in EE learn how to cook at young ages. They really don't have the income to live on restaurants or processed foods.