When I tell people in England I’ve just returned from several years abroad and they find out the country was Russia, it is a real conversation stopper. Their minds short-circuit, they seem to gulp in front of you. What question do they ask next? Do they mention the war? Talk about Tolstoy?
‘Ah… Interesting,’ one woman said to me finally, as though looking at someone’s awful etchings and wanting to be polite.
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