Jan 232012
Catching Up on the Acculturation Treadmill

Aside from being a wonderful English phrase, "learn something new every day" captures an immigrant’s experience to a tee. It feels good to understand your new home better, day by day. Until you hit the acculturation treadmill. The bigger the cultural difference between your own and the host American culture, the steeper and longer the learning curve. Even immigrants and transplants from Central Europe, who have, culturally, always taken inspiration from and looked up to the United States, have plenty to process and learn. After a while, the instances […] Continue reading >

Jan 122012
"Russian Old New Year 2012. Party!" on Friday the 13th Promises a Party

And judging from Chervona’s Xmas video shoot a month ago, a good one too! In fact, most, if not all, of the good people who populated and helped shoot the video (below, includes American Robotnik in a snow-white ushanka) will be in attendance at Dante’s on Friday the 13th. Tickets may even still be available. According to Stephanie Salvey’s intro to the reprint [pdf] of my article about the video shoot on Oregon Music News, “Each year around this time the cheapest round trip to Russia is a ticket to Chervona’s Old Russian New […] Continue reading >

Jan 082012
Through Other Lenses: American Robotnik's Readings for January 2012

In this new, occasional American Robotnik feature, I’ll share articles shedding light on various aspects of American society and culture. The readings will have inspired me, informed my thinking and writing, or simply sparked interest in the issues they discuss. I also hope they’ll help you along your acculturation curve. Enjoy. “All the Single Ladies” by Kate Bolick, The Atlantic, November 2011 – On the crumbling institution of marriage and the rise of a single woman. “Why Craft Booze Is Booming” by Ken Walczak, GOOD, December 9 – Umm, because it’s delicious? “How American […] Continue reading >

Oct 132011
Heritage Festivals Distort National Cultures

Reading about and attending ethnic/national heritage festivals here in Portland, Oregon, has enabled me to draw some tentative conclusions about their purpose, effects, and shortcomings. While heritage festivals fulfill an important role in preserving ethnic/national cultures, they also distort them by presenting their antiquated versions. What Heritage Festivals Have in Common The only difference between the recent Serbian, Polish, and Greek festivals was the heritage they celebrated and the resulting substance; each festival wrapped the same prescription in a different flag and flavor. The festivals had a lot in common:* […] Continue reading >

Oct 012011

They say the United States is a place where you can be who you want to be: if no one knows you when you get here, you can be anyone you choose. As a newcomer, you are free to take the opportunity to reinvent yourself. If you simply want to continue being who you were before you arrived, congratulations! But if all your life in the “old country” you felt compelled, even forced to become what others around you (your family, friends, society) expected you to be, the possibility […] Continue reading >