1. If someone repeatedly calls your cellphone asking for Maria Borisovna in a loud and confused manner, simply saying “wrong number” will not make them go away. Instead, they will call you repeatedly, ask you for your name and how they can reach Maria Borisovna. Simply saying “I don’t know any Maria Borisovna. Stop calling me” will not make them go away. Hanging up will make them go away, but only temporarily.
  2. If you’re a woman and you show any part of your legs without wearing stockings, people will think you’re a prostitute. Well. That explains a lot.
  3. Russians believe that if you’re a woman and you sit on any cold surface, it will inevitably make you barren. That also explains a lot.
  4. If you talk too much about the weather, Russians will think you’re an idiot. You will also be condemned to idiocy if you smile too much, talk too much, or talk too little.
  5. You can even have very thoughtful, deep, and intelligent conversations about Russian literature with homeless drunks. Everyone knows the national literature.
  6. Street fights/bar altercations are common all over Russia because men feel they need to ruffle their feathers a bit, like two fat male pigeons pecking each other flamboyantly for no reason. Maybe it’s to prove they’re the biggest, toughest pigeon on the square, but they seldom realize that they just look like fat idiotic pigeons.
  7. Gender roles are caveman-esque. Women are expected to be delicate and nurturing and [insert traditional characterization here]. Men are expected to be aggressive, protective, and full of flammable testosterone. Where does a young American woman fit into all this? We’ll see.
  8. Fact: street food “shwarma” is made of dog. Don’t let that stop you from eating though. I’m just saying. It’s made of dog.
  9. If you try to be Russian for a day by wearing high heels, let me help you out. By the end of the day, you will not be Russian and your feet will hurt.
  10. Don’t be swayed by old Russian women, mean or nice. They all have hidden agendas, whether it’s to get more money out of you or to get you to meet their single sons.

Take this as autobiographically as you like.