Monday, December 26, 2011

My Christmas Tree

I must be the last person in America to be still decorating my Christmas Tree. It's not because I'm a procrastinator (I might be, but not in this case). It was part of my plan from the beginning and I've got an explanation for it: I am Christian Orthodox and my Christmas is not until January 7th. Is that weird? We celebrate the same occasion - Jesus being born - but on two different days, two weeks apart. 

For this reason, the New Year's is the first day that starts my holiday season and I ought to have a New Year Tree (yep, that's how we call it) by December 31st and I want it to stay for at least 2 weeks, that's why I never put it up until at least a week before the New Years. This actually came convenient for me, because by the time I went trees and ornaments shopping, they were already discounted! Yay for saving some very much needed cash :)

So here's my first Christmas tree ever (in the states!). And may I just say - I'm in love...

Here it goes, red color accent

And some yellow color caption

I love origami and folded a couple of cranes for good luck in the next year which made a nice addition to the store-bought collection of ornaments

See that yellow pretty baby ornament? That was DIY'ed by me. Just used a clear ornament from Michaels,  added some yellow acrylic paint inside, swirled it around and let it dry for a couple of weeks. I made a small collection of those (6 to be exact) and they all live and love in on my tree!

I didn't find a topper that would please my taste and suit my budget, and figured to throw some hand-made pieces on in. This pink ribbon was one of them.

And here's another topper - my two-colored origami star covered with glitter

And another crane. Yellow covered with black dust-glitter

ps Oh, and I was surprised at how beautiful and fluffy and soft all the trees I looked at were. Unlike where I am from, they are not nearly as fairy-tale-ish perfect, so people end up having to choose somewhat pretty tree out of the all sad looking ones.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A word about INDENTATION

I know, I know, it almost sounds like I'm cursing :) Just thought I'd share another lesson in English that I learned.

Indentation is technically the punctuation rule which requires to indent where there is change in a thought. In the states, however, using an indent to indicate where the new paragraph starts is not so common. Leaving a line space between paragraphs is used instead.

Adjusting to the new punctuation rules took me a minute, but I'm kinda liking it now even more than the "correct" way.

And for the demonstration purposes, here's how the all written above would look if I indent the first lines of new paragraphs:

As my mom likes to say: "Learn as you live".

Friday, December 16, 2011

Sales and Discounts

In the states folks LOVE shopping. You can enter the store looking for a body lotion and leave it with a hair dryer, bed sheets and new place mats all because "they were on a HUGE sale and you couldn't resist". There's even a special day of the year that is known to every walking and talking person in the country. Yeah, you guessed it right, I'm talking about Black Friday. I had to miss it this year, but will join those lines in the future. Definitely. May be. We'll see.

I'm not complaining here. I think sales are awesome and saves you some cash.... Wait, does it really? Or is it just a smart and definitely effective tool to make us buy more? In any case, we prefer to think so :)

I thought it'd be interesting to look at the purchases I made recently to see which ones I bought not because I couldn't live without them, but because they were discounted. And here's what I found:

3 pairs of shoes (originally priced about $100, each pair on SALE cost me under $50)

2 suuuper cute sweaters from Urban Outfitters just under $20 each

opaque tights in Brown color found at Target for $4

I was searching for a cheaper drug-store brand liquid eyeliner and had to go with Maybelline because it had a special 50% off discount. Otherwise I would have gotten a Revlon which was already in my shopping basket until I found the discounted one

And the list can go on and on. These are just few of the "bargains" that I recently spent my money on :)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Do you speak Engllish?

I've been learning English since age 6 and thought I knew nearly every possible rule in English grammar, punctuation and pronunciation. In my English classes we watched films in English (with subtitles most of the time), BBC News was in our weekly schedule, listened to all sorts of pre-recorded dialogues and short educational conversations.

Imagine my surprise when I moved here and wasn't able to understand A LOT of  what people were telling me. I could recognize the words, but was having a hard time understanding. It's not easy to explain how exactly it felt. Perhaps the the best explanation is comparing to the process of "hearing but not listening". This is pretty much how I felt. It wasn't too bad, but let's just say... I smiled and nodded quite often )))

And hey, I've got news there: it gets better with time, so no need to panic that I wasted 19 years of my life studying English in vain.

And here's a little funny video for you to sum it up:

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Christmas is coming to town

And after a very loooong break I'm back.

I kept thinking and rethinking this whole idea of keeping a blog like this, not sure if I'll have enough patience and if I'll be able to give it 100% of what I can because if not, it's not even worth doing (yep, that's my style).
Anyways, I'm glad to be back and blogging. Will take one day at a time and we'll see..

Thanksgiving day just happened last week and literally 3 days after it the city transformed! There are Christmas decorations everywhere, the stores have special offers on everything Christmas, the Christmas songs are in heavy rotation on every radio station and all people are talking  about is Christmas gifts and who's invited to dinner.

I'll be honest here. That's a bit strange to me. Don't get me wrong, it's all very cute and festive and happy-like. But it just seems a bit too speedy. Back home we don't even mention Christmas until it's December 20th :) Just kidding. We do talk about it, and plan. But we don't put up all the decorations and Christmas trees until at least a week before the day. And when the BIG day comes, it feels pretty special and long-awaited.

So I'm sticking to that: no decorations and Christmas tree for me for at least 2 weeks. In the meantime I do enjoy making my home-made ornaments inspired by these Pinterest ideas:

 I even made a little (well, not so little) paper snowflake that's shining attached to my front door. I guess that's a little exception to my plan. But it's so cute - it's totally worth it :)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Just Smile

So, I'm got to start putting it all together somehow...
One thing that probably every other person that comes to the states for the first time will agree on is that people here SMILE a lot. Whether they are in a good mood or not, whether you have ever met, no matter how old they are or what they do for a living, American folks will greet you with a smiiiiiiile:

I found this cutie here

It seemed strange at first and caught me off guard, I was confused and didn't know how to react or to respond. My thoughts were:

Do I know you?
Do I look funny?
Is my nose clean?
Is my hair alright?
Do they know I'm not from here?
etc etc etc

But the further I go, the more I get used to it and even expect it now. I even smile more often myself. And I like it. Who said we need a reason to smile? Go ahead, take a smile!

Borrowed from here

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Why I am Here

The United States of America has become my new home after I moved here in 2007. The country which I call "My Motherland" is somewhere 11 time zones away. 

I am a twenty-something girl, they call me Caucasian, and the reason I'd never be a model - is because I'm 5'7" tall. My eyes are green and my hair is dirty blonde. My accent is present, but not so obvious (so I've been told). 

The question I am asked 99% of the time I meet someone new is "So, how do you like it here?" My answer is always "It's different".
The difference between how and where I used to live and the United States of America is so big that I can't explain it in a word, not in a sentence, and not even in a paragraph... In fact, it's so big that I decided to dedicate a whole blog to document and share all the Lessons, Experiences and Surprises of My American Life. 

Here's an interview I gave to Dan from Live.Work.Travel USA in case you're interested in learning just a bit more about me.

Want to ask me a question, submit a guest post about your USA life, or simply say hello? Send me a message:  zhene4ka1503 [at]