Enmity at the Gates

It’s a fair bet that any foreign national conducting business with USCIS these days expects the unexpected. Knowing many of them personally, I have found myself quizzed for insights, and sometimes something just short of predictions. But while the Supreme Court’s modified stay of the Trump travel ban this week probably could have been anticipated, …

Continue reading Enmity at the Gates

Quid Pro Что

I can’t remember ever knowing a Russian who reminisced about his or her college days. So I’m not sure what once led a close family friend of ours to recollect an episode from her undergraduate math class that occurred many years ago. Russian students typically sit for exams in bite-size groups, say five at a …

Continue reading Quid Pro Что

Жили были

Six years ago this month, I was teaching a course in TOEFL preparation for Russian undergraduates at a large technical university in St. Petersburg. This was at a time when terms like "Arab spring" and "globalization" still had some face value; it was OK to be optimistic. Only slightly more experienced with reading Chekhov in …

Continue reading Жили были