Today I’ve decided to tell some facts about me. Maybe we have something in common? 🙂

1. I’m afraid of cars and pedestrian crossings. I prefer to sit in the back seat and can’t imagine me driving… At least driving well. As for crosswalks, I don’t consider them safe. Vice versa, they seem quite dangerous to me.

2. I often forget how old I am. Every year it happens to me that I say I’m younger than I am in reality and honestly I feel like I’m 17. This is a magical age for me for some reason.

3. In my childhood I absolutely loved frogs! I went to the garden not to pick berries but to play with small frogs which sometimes were our guests. Once I wanted to take part in a TV contest and was ready to put a frog in my mouth so that my mom could take a picture and send it to the famous TV show at that time. Unfortunately, she didn’t support this idea and I didn’t win as a result. 😀

4. It’s difficult for me to speak quietly. At school teachers usually got nervous and irritated when somebody talks too quietly but in my case this is a problem sometimes because I rarely manage to tell secret stories to my friends only when we are in the street… It usually looked like I tell stories to everybody around. Usually half a street hears me telling jokes, stories and laughing like crazy. Moreover, people often think I’m drunk as I laugh really loud and can’t stop it. Eh…

5. I’m afraid to become arrogant. Once one famous singer said that guys he was working with shared with him that they were afraid to get afflicted by a “star complex”… It surprised him as they were only on the way to fame and it was too early to think about that. Well, luckily I’m not the only one who’s afraid of becoming an ugly person. 🙂

6. I don’t watch TV series. It’s because I think most of them are too interesting and it’s impossible to stop watching them. They’re like drugs! I really don’t remember whether I finished any TV series…

7. I dislike speaking on the phone. Especially with unknown people. When I hear the phone ring I can shiver because quite often I’m too concentrated on something and the phone call is unexpected. Also, my favourite modes are silent and vibrate.

8. I can’t stand when people try to control me and make me justify what I did or I didn’t. For example, sometimes I forget about birthdays or I may not answer a phone call (because I may be too busy – I’m not proud of these traits, of course) but if a person blames me for that, it almost always leads to the end of our relationships.

9. I’m very sentimental and think it’s my weak point.

10. I love travelling alone. Even if you didn’t take a map, your phone died or you ran out of money, no one will cry or complain. 😀 Travelling solo helps explore so much about yourself and the world around!

LA Guide With No Name

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We were coming back from the beach. Warm flecks of the sunlight seemed giving us permission to stay in a paradise a bit longer. Resisting to the temptation to watch the sun sinking into the ocean, we still continued to go but the dark evening was much more cunning than us and covered Santa Monica pier before we got to the bus station.

Checking google maps and trying to find a bus to our hotel was in vain. None of the buses went to our place. It was too late even for America where life was burning round the clock. Honestly, we didn’t have a least notion how to get to our temporary “home” the same evening but we were in high spirits.

In about an hour we noticed a bus. The driver slowed down near the bench with potential passengers and having received our question if he went to the Place X he assured us there wouldn’t be any other bus in the needed direction – no sense to hope or wait. We got on the bus having no choice and kindly asked the man at the wheel to give us a hint when we would be as close to the hotel as possible…

Through the bus windows we saw numerous stops not knowing if the driver remembered about us. At some moment I felt a bit worried and walked up to the ‘’captain of the bus’’ to remind of us, two girls who got lost ‘’a bit’’. The driver again told he wasn’t sure where we should get ff so we decided to leave the bus in the middle of nowhere. A young boy followed us and left the bus too. (Actually, I paid attention to him earlier as he looked exhausted and sad. Meanwhile everyone around seemed happy and relaxed.)

Suddenly he asked if we needed any help, and I started to analyse if we should be cautious about him. It turned out he was 16. We were 20. Together we came to another bus stop with hope in our hearts that a miracle could happen. He knew there would be no buses but like a gentleman he didn’t want to ruin our hopes. He opened his backpack and offered several magazines about interesting spots in Santa Monica.

He pointed out to the guys near the metro station who were smoking marijuana. Soon he suggested to call his mother as she worked in the area where we should come and she – probably – could give us a ride. We rejected that idea and continued to chat about something and flick through the pages of the magazines. People were passing by leaving the streets desolate. Having realised that we couldn’t afford a taxi to get to our place, we reluctantly accepted his proposal.

– Can you give me a phone to call? – he said.

– And where’s yours? – I questioned.

– I don’t have it.

– But how?

– I don’t need it.

– (Silence)

He said a few phrases in Spanish while talking to somebody on the phone. We were worried. What could he say? Maybe that isn’t his mother?.. Doesn’t he really have a cell phone?

In several minutes a big black minivan pulled up, a Mexican woman opened the door, the boy took the baby from his mom’s hands and we got in the car. Another child sat in the backseat. The woman passionately was explaining something to our new friend. Or maybe she was complaining. Or was giving instructions. We didn’t understand a word in Spanish. She didn’t speak good English but tried to be polite and asked a few questions about our holidays. Everything seemed alright. But shortly I noticed big gates. Some people opened them for us. The boy jumped out of the car and moved somewhere. I looked at my friend to check if she found the place suspicious too.

Then he came back. Finally. Without the baby. We went further not knowing there we were before. Soon the woman dropped us off near the hotel and we couldn’t believe that was really our hotel! The boy got out of the car too and said: “You wanted to find a supermarket… I will help you. Let’s go.”

Wandering around the area we didn’t find any supermarket but by that moment it already didn’t matter. In the hotel lobby there was a party but we went up directly to our room. We skated right on the carpet, shared stories and laughed. That was our own party but a new friend of us still looked sad.

Later we went outside to say goodbye to young LA guide. We were waiting for a bus but of course there wasn’t any again. Almost leaving us he mentioned that his father had passed away a few years ago. His elder brother was in the army and that he was the eldest in the family. He had three more siblings to take care of. He went to school in the morning. Then he went home to be with them. His mom worked the night shift. They missed Mexico and regularly visited it and as a result they couldn’t get the US citizenship. He didn’t have a phone. He didn’t have a facebook account. He didn’t need it.

Later on he jumped on his handmade skateboard and left us adding: ‘’This is my city. I will find the way home. Monday is only in two days.’’



P.S. His family rented an apartment in that dark unfriendly place with big gates which terrified me.

P.S. We didn’t take a photo with him and unfortunately I don’t remember his name now.

Secret Places in Malta

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One sunny summer day I headed to a wild Maltese pebble beach: Il-Bajja Fomm ir-Rih. Having checked the route and taken the screenshots of the online map (thinking that would be enough to find the beach quickly), I took the bus from Mdina to Bahrija. Six more youngsters got on the bus with me. Open windows, wind in the face, and failed attempts of passengers to read the names of their destinations correctly. I couldn’t help smiling and was absolutely sure that my stop was the last one.

Well, yes. My stop wasn’t the last one of course, and surprisingly I was the only one who got off the bus. In front of me only one path leading to the sun… Without hesitation I moved toward the sun. A bit later I had to decide whether to turn left or right? “Left seems fine,” – and that was my decision.

The area seemed desolate, and full of wildlife. One incredibly big lizard frightened me as I wasn’t ready to meet these creatures which were looking at me so confidently and bravely! After that I was dancing while walking! And singing! And clapping my hands! In order to threaten them too. (Yes, I’m brave too, sometimes!)

I passed by small “houses” where local farmers and hunters had rest. In about an hour I found something. No, it wasn’t the beach at all. But scenic landscapes enchanted me. There wasn’t a single soul. Only cliffs and the sea. It was midday, the sun was beating down and at that moment beach was the only place to survive. I didn’t know where exactly I was so I went intuitively. I almost ran out of the water and was dying from the heat. Sometimes I made my way through private lands which wasn’t good (I admit it, sorry.). I was walking somewhere. Suddenly, in distance I noticed something resembling an old abandoned dam. “Is it dangerous to climb down and check what it is? How will I get back from there? There seem to be no people,” – insatiable curiosity and prudence were fighting.

In a minute I was on the way to that “dam”. Soon enough I noticed a couple of people on the rocks! People! It turned out it was that very secret beach, a place of solitude and freedom…

P.S.1 This magical little pebble beach is wild. For all the time there were only 9 people around. But be sure, it’s a special place. Fascinating lemon and peach sunset will try to steal a bit more of your time than you planned to devote them… 

P.S.2 Later Google informed me that before I found the beach I was wandering around Megalithic Temple and Punico Remains and Blata tal-Melh. Curiosity is my best friend! 😀

Birthday Celebration Around the World


While scientists are trying to determine the origin of birthdays, we can enjoy the diversity of possible ways to celebrate the day when we came to this world. Honestly, I’m not a big fan of birthday parties but celebration traditions from other nooks of the world make me think… Maybe this year I should celebrate my birthday mixing several traditions at once? So here’s the list of the ones I liked most of all.


If you’re celebrating your birthday in this country, you can feel how it is to “bump” the floor. You doubt? Well, the Irish don’t. On a birthday adults turn a child upside down (or maybe your friends can do this with you) and then raise him/her up and down to the floor. One “bump” for each year. Are you celebrating 21? Get 22 bumps then! Irish people are big hearted so they’ll add an extra bump for good luck!


The birthday cake is a “must” in this Nordic country but here it looks like a man or a woman (depending on whose BD party it is, of course). So why not to bake such a cake? And also, people hang a national flag outside the window to designate there is a person in the house who’s having a birthday. Have you got a flag with your national colours yet?


Birthday here isn’t as big a celebration as in the West. Until the mid of the 20th century the Japanese traditionally celebrated a person turning a year older on New Year’s Day (as well as in Vietnam and China, for instance). However, in recent years, the influence of the the West penetrated the Japanese culture and nowadays people often celebrate their birthday on the day of the actual birth. There exist no restrictions regarding celebration of a birthday but majority of people used to congratulate parents for giving a birth to a child. So how about a present to your parents?


In Atlantic Canada the birthday person is ambushed and his/her nose is greased! Canadians do it for good luck… Thus the nose is slippery and bad luck will hardly catch a person. Hah!

P.S. My Canadian friend from Toronto hasn’t ever heard about it so… Distance matters. 😀


Birthday cake is a traditional element of celebration as in many other places. But the peculiar thing is the celebrant chooses someone to whom he gives the first piece of cake. Usually this is the closest person.


The celebrant usually wears a crown made from leaves or flowers and sits in a decorated chair. Guests may lift a person several times corresponding to the person’s age. And + 1 for extra good luck! Being in a kindergarden guarantees you’ll experience this though this fun tradition is more for guys and they do it approximately till the age of 30. 

North Africa

This is my favourite part! According to the Internet sources some tribes in North Africa usually don’t have any traditions connected with birthdays… They hardly celebrate them! They may celebrate birthdays once in 8 or 13 years. And in some parts they do it twice in life: when they are born and at the age of 52! Of course, this rule refers only to tribes. Other people in this region are definitely civilized. 🙂

P.S. Hey! Are you from any of these countries? Great! If it’s not true in your region/family, let us know! ^_^

TOP-5 Curious Russian Phrases

  • Лезть на рожон 

Meaning: to go towards smb/smth beyond all rationality realizing you’re likely to have lots of trouble afterwards; to do everything possible to get the desired result…

Origin: “Рожон” in the old Russian language (and nowadays in some regional dialects) is a pointed stick. When brave men hunted a bear and approached it they kept the stick in front of them. If the bear impaled itself upon that sharp stick, it died.

  • Попасть впросак

Meaning: to end up in an uncomfortable and disadvantageous situation because of ignorance or mistake.

Origin: “Просак” is a spinning machine which people used in the old times to give a twist to a rope. If hair, beard or clothes got into the spinning machine of course there followed unpleasant consequences. 😦

  • Пускать пыль в глаза 

Meaning: to give the wrong impression about personal capabilities.

Origin: This phrase comes from the fact that during first flight dishonest fighters took small bags with sand which they threw in the eyes of the competitors. In 1726 this  was forbidden by special decree.

  • Орать на всю Ивановскую 

Meaning: to shout very loudly

Origin: “Ивановская” (Ivanovskaya) is the name of the street where Ivan the Great Bell Tower is situated (It’s on the Kremlin territory). In the XVII century this street was a plaсe where 1) royal decrees were announced loudly; 2) sometimes clerks were penalized here – they were mercilessly beaten with whips, that’s why they shouted.

  • Перемывать кости 

Meaning: to discuss someone else in his absence

Origin: The term dates back to the forgotten ritual of reburial: three years after the death the deceased was removed from the grave, then people cleaned the bones and re-buried. This action was accompanied by the memories of the dead, the assessment of his character, deeds and actions.

А Что Время для Вас?

Dingli Cliffs, Malta

Я стараюсь быть пунктуальной. Иногда даже устаю быть такой. Порой мысль, что нужно 100% прийти вовремя становится причиной моего невольного волнения. Поэтому работу, которая позволяет теоретически опоздать на минутку, я сразу люблю чуть больше. 🙂 И, конечно, если опаздывает кто-то другой, то чаще всего я очень снисходительна. 

Но оказывается, существует научное объяснение: все мы по-разному воспринимаем время, и это зависит не только от возраста человека (а с годами время летит быстрее…), но и от его принадлежности к той или иной нации. Ученые выделили две группы стран, основываясь на том, как разные нации воспринимают и относятся к времени.

Вспомните, где вы были в последний раз за границей? Было ли у вас ощущение, что вы куда-то торопитесь, а все остальные медленные? А, может, наоборот вы всегда приходите куда-то заранее в отличие от других? 

Если верить исследованиям, то ваше пребывание в северных странах Европы, Америке, Канаде или Японии не должно вызывать каких-либо мыслей о “странности” времени – все как обычно. А вот если вам приходилось бывать в Италии, Индии, Мексике, Бразилии, Филиппинах или в странах Ближнего Востока, то вы наверняка замечали, что немного не вписываетесь здесь со своими правилами относительно времени. Все просто! Представители первой группы стран – люди с монохромным восприятием времени, к ним относится и Россия. Они, например, стараются ставить дедлайны и соблюдать их, не смешивать работу и личные отношения. У второй группы восприятие времени полихромное: личные отношения для них важнее работы, поэтому строить бизнес, основываясь именно на них, – норма. Кроме того, они легко меняют планы, не относятся к договоренностям серьезно и считают достижение цели более важным, чем соблюдение временных рамок.

Я, конечно, как и многие слышала про размеренный темп жизни в странах Средиземноморья, но собственный опыт – это, безусловно, особенный момент.

Прошлым летом я жила на Мальте, а это как раз одна из стран с противоположным от России восприятием времени. Однажды у меня появилось срочное (с моей точки зрения, конечно) дело: мне нужно было проконсультироваться с врачом, потому что у меня была своеобразная реакция на жару. Получив талон, села в очередь, жду. Что-то происходило, но я не могла никак понять принцип очереди. В какой-то момент рядом оказался болгарин, и мы разговорились. Конечно, при разговоре я окончательно выпала из реальности и так и не успела разобраться с системой талонов. Когда вдруг “очнулась”, то попыталась быстро оценить ситуацию. На что услышала комментарий: “Все хорошо. Замедлись. Ты не в Челябинске. Некуда торопиться. Это Мальта.” Меня эта фраза очень насмешила, и я вспомнила, как важно в Челябинске быстро бегать по маршруткам, особенно, если едешь из пригорода. Могу сказать, что через некоторое время я стала так же ценить сиесту, чуть больше лениться и, наверное, в итоге замедлилась. Правда, потом было волнительно ехать обратно: а вдруг я слишком замедлилась?

Так что не во всех культурах “Время – деньги”. Где-то время, потраченное в удовольствие со своей семьей, обсуждая рабочие вопросы, гораздо важнее. 

Сотни Улыбок – Одна Эмоция


Как-то раз я наткнулась на советы для путешественников. Один из них был примерно следующего содержания: “Всегда улыбайтесь, так вы найдете язык с любым человеком.” Соглашусь, это действительно неплохой совет. Однако меня также давно интересовало, почему одни народы больше улыбаются, а другие меньше. С чем это связано? Какое отношение к улыбке в разных странах? И не будет ли расценена моя улыбка в каком-то регионе неправильно?

Итак, некоторые факты об улыбке в разных странах:


Проявление эмоций в целом в этой стране – непростой вопрос. На протяжении многих веков государство взращивало общество, основываясь на ценностях конфуцианской системы, которая ставила на первое место интересы общества и долг перед ним. Эмоциональные переживания, личные чувства, интересы и желания уходили на задний план. Проявление эмоций расценивалось как слабость и несоблюдение принятых норм. Конечно, в современном Китае ситуация меняется – все-таки мир  обязывает иногда прислушиваться к другим культурам. Так, согласно некоторым источникам, при подготовке к Олимпийским Играм в 2008 году волонтеров обучали технике правильной улыбки. Осознавая, что китайская культура имеет другие стандарты, волонтеров учили улыбаться, оголяя минимум 6 передних зубов, чтобы гости не засомневались в гостеприимности страны.


В этой восточной стране улыбка чаще всего не передает никакого эмоционального состояния. Улыбка – это всего лишь правило этикета. Японцы могут улыбаться, когда тяжело на душе или сообщая о смерти родственника. Такая сдержанность связана с желанием сберечь чувство другого, не поставить собеседника в неудобное положение и не показать свою слабость. “Сильнейший тот, кто улыбается,” – именно так говорят в стране восходящего солнца.


Бразильцы много улыбаются и большей частью искренне (Не будем рассматривать случай, когда твой босс опустил глупую шутку). “Rir pra nao chorar (Я скорее посмеюсь, чем заплачу!),” – так говорит один мой знакомый бразилец. Потеряв деньги, он именно посмеется над потерей, ведь он ничего не может изменить. Однако несмотря на легкое отношение к жизни, бразильцы навряд ли останутся равнодушными, если опоздают на поезд, а вот японец и здесь покажет минимум эмоций, и, возможно, слегка улыбнется.


Улыбайся в 32 зуба, если не хочешь показаться неудачником – это об Америке. Отсутствие улыбки на лице – некий намек неблагополучия, а создавать такой имидж по собственной воле как-то не по-американски. Как сформировался этот элемент общения и почему он именно такой, мне до сих пор не понятно. Кто-то говорит, что это связано с историей освоения Америки. Ведь если ты сразу пришел победителем на континент, то почему бы не улыбаться и не воспитывать это в потомках? Другие считают, что это результат того, что американцы относятся к каждому человеку как к личности, с уважением и улыбаются именно по этой причине. Кто-то связывает это с благоприятным климатом, хотя климат в США далеко не везде как в райской Калифорнии, что ставит этот вариант под сомнение. Но факт остается фактом, большая часть американцев действительно много улыбается.

Вспоминается случай. Когда я вернулась из Америки, некоторые знакомые подшучивали надо мной, подмечая, что у меня стало больше мимических морщинок в области носогубных складок. Это правда. Не могу сказать, что меня это очень радовало в 20 лет. 😀 Вскоре все, конечно, прошло, а улыбку я по-прежнему считаю гораздо важнее, чем наличие морщинок впоследствии.


На просторах интернета уже давно объяснили внешнюю хмурость и неприветливость русских. После знакомства с русскими, многие иностранцы удивляются, какое неверное представление было у них раньше. Ведь русские просто улыбаются, когда действительно испытывают симпатию. А вот улыбка без основания – признак недалекого ума и глупости.

Везде улыбаются по-разному, но, мне кажется, искренняя улыбка всегда отражает одну и ту же эмоцию – счастье и радость. А вы отмечали изменения в своей улыбке при пребывании в другой стране?