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Tuesday 13 March 2012

A New generation is Coming!

Brand loyalty starts from a very early age... Well, maybe too early in this case.

Jesus and the Trash

A picture from the Christmas period. Made in CA, USA. But as it turned out this picture might illustrate the problem which is worthy of serious discussion... here, there and everywhere.


Sunday 11 March 2012

Why Russians Would Experience Difficulties with Building their Silicon Valley?

My daughter got a nice toy. She really liked it.

Repka Repka 2

I liked it too. Nice idea. Original design. Eco-friendly material...

But now take a closer look at the label.

Label Label2 Label3

Now you know why Russians will have difficulties with building thier own Silicon Valley. It is all about details.

Spring in San-Francisco (Golden Gate Park)

spring in SF

Sunset in California

Tell Me What You Wear and I Will Tell You... Where You Live

Everybody knows that the US is a Big country for Big people ( I meant fat people but to say so would not be politically correct).

But the US is also a country of running skinny people! Everybody runs here. If you do not you are fat and obese. Running people need adequate sport clothes. Right? You run, you run, you run, then you work, you go shopping or see friends but forgot to take off your sports clothes. That's why here you see people wearing sports clothes everywhere. They just forgot to take them off.

Looking back to my life in Russia I am smiling thinking that I never ever went out with a guy wearing sports clothes. It would be a shame for me. I remember all these beautiful well-dressed Russian girls with their hair done and make-up and their boy-friends wearing sports clothes. It was funny and especially sad, very sad.

I wanted to run from Russia of sports clothing and- how ironic - I ended up in the US of sports clothing.


Saturday 10 March 2012

How I Passed DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) Behind the Wheel test in California

As I promised in one of my previous posts, I will keep you informed about how to get a driver's licence in California. At the biggining of the week I passed my behind-the-wheel test and today I got my California driver's licence. It is weird but they send you such an important document as a driver licence by mail (!?).

Well, how did the test itself go? Basically you need to know where the horn, turn signals, emergency lights, headlights, parking brake and defroster are and how to use them. Then you need to drive about 20 minutes in the town streets making some right and left turns. You do not need to drive on the freeway or to know how to parallel park. No wonder that Americans do not know what parallel parking is (it is definitely helpful for you if you drive and park in San Francisco or any big American city).

To conclude, the drive test was easy. Or may be I can finally drive safely and consequently it seemed easy to me.

Tuesday 6 March 2012

Politics here, there and everywhere

This year is politically significant for all three countries this blog is about: Russia, France and USA.

Russia is already done with its presidential election. No surprise. Unfortunately I did not vote this year (even if my participation would not have changed a lot).

French elections are just around the corner. I guess there will be the same guy again even if he is so unpopular with French now. But I do not believe in another scenario.

In the USA I hope that the same guy will win just because his name is Barack, he is black and thus good for this multinational and open country (or may be it is just how I feel it here in California).

There are 2 things here in the US which surprise me:

1) choice of political messages/discussions: while there are so many economical and social problems in the US, the subjects seem to interest candidates the most are birth control and gay marriage. Well, in the meantime the thing which catches French interest the most now is halal meat.

2) US is the country of fundraising. Actually candidates are not going to different states to see people and speak to them but to get money for the campaign. More you have money, more you have chances to win. Just some newspapers' titles: Obama raises funds in Bay Area, Campaign brigns out superdonors, President scheduled for two fundraisers in San-Francisco.

You may see some information about co-called financial backers ot Barack Obama and, for instance, Mitt Romney (one of Republican candidates). Such personalities as Charles Schwab (Founder of Charles Schwab), Pal Marciano (CEO of Guess) or Marc Rothman (CFO of Motorola) gave money to Romney for his campaign.

No wonder that the US is the country of lobbyists.

You would say that money is a key to a lot of doors in politics everywhere. But in this country money just equals political success.

Friday 2 March 2012

American Patriotism in Every Detail

af2.jpg af.jpg IMG_0173.JPG

Wednesday 29 February 2012

Paris History through Shopping

Here is a shopping gallery in Paris. I love such nice and quiet spots where you can find some original and useless stuff. I do not love shopping so much but I do love a story behind a store, a shopping gallery, feel breath of history and imagine Parisians of early 20th century shopping. You also have Gallery Lafayette or le Bon Marché historical department stores. But that's a different story - too big, too busy.


Monday 27 February 2012

Jean Dujardin won Holywood with ¨The Artist¨!

Jean Dujardin struggled in front of the Thank You camera with his poor English (after he was announced as winner). But still he is a winner! Congratulations! Unfortunatelly to conquer the cinema world you should speak English.... or go back to silent movies (but only with chef-d'ouevres like the Artist).

Saturday 25 February 2012

Complicated Russian Language

I have read this today in one of my friend's post on FB:


Monday 20 February 2012

In God and Money We Trust!

Free phone calls from public telephone booth in California:


Mall Stroller-Car for Children in California

It is written Do not put child in bag!

Only Americans can take it seriously.


I can't see you! I can't see you!

The Medieval Horse and its Equipment:

What a nice car!

I saw this... means of transportation on a car parking near my husband's work. I wish I could see the owner.

Saturday 18 February 2012

How I Passed DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) Theory Test in California

My story of getting a driver licence is long and complicated. It started in France (and never ended). I enrolled in a French driving school, paid some money, attended some theory classes and then a few months later had to leave for Russia to work there. My money was gone and the hope to get a European driver licence quickly also disappeared.

I finally got my driver licence in Moscow and started driving there. Driving in Moscow is a very good school (actually like in Paris but not for the same reason).

Here in California you need to take a written and driving test again to get local California driver licence as other countries' driver licence are just not accepted. Actually I got my written test two days ago. And I should say it was just too easy.

Here is 1 question from California Driver Handbook:

When you drive through a construction zone, you should:

A. Slow down to watch the workers

B. Decrease your following distance

C. Pass the construction zone carefully and not "rubberneck"

Have you answered it?

Good answer is C.

If you choose C (even if you do not know what means "rubberneck") you are ready for California written test.

I barely remember my written test in Russia: computer classroom, pictures describing different traffic situations... It was easy.

In California test you actually had to repeat what you read in a driver handbook, not to handle with concrete traffic situations.

French written test is the most complicated : it is the multiple choice one. Besides in Russia and California you have a limited number of questions while in France you have a lot of them. That's why you should have enough time to get you test ready. The preparation can take a few months and you still run the risk of failure.

Below are some rules to follow in order to get QUICKLY you driver licence in Russia, France and California:

France NO WAY
California Read carefully California Driver Handbook, get enough practice and ALWAYS OBEY (posted speed limits and all rules you read about in California Driver Handbook)

To get a California driver licence I still have to pass my driving test. To be continued after 4th of March )))))

Tuesday 14 February 2012

American Parks and Playgrounds

I have already written a note about playgrounds in France (again a bit of criticism of French facilities). You can read it here or, if you are my friend, - in my facebook notes (the text is in Russian).

Here I will describe American playgrounds.

When I first knew that our next destination would be Sunnyvale in the San Francisco Bay Area I read about this town and was upset at the fact that "In Sunnyvale there is 1 library and 16 parks". Now I understand that there's nothing to be upset with. When you have a small child - to have 16 parks around is just great.

Actually a park in the Bay Area is the best place to go with kids as everything's done for them.

Every park has its clear structure and provides:

1) sports fields (baseball/softball, tennis, sand volleyball courts, skating rink etc)

2) picnic areas (you can book an area for your picnic with friends or a family via a community center)

3) park building (for group presentations, meetings, performances and games). My daughter and me play games and listen to stories on Wednesdays with other Russian-speaking children in such a park building in Sunnyvale Raynor Park.

Here is a religious meeting:

Here is Chinese traditional bow dance classes:

4) children play areas (sometimes you have spots for small kids and the ones for bigger explorers)

Safe Swing for Babies IMG_0108.jpg

5) restrooms (very important for you and your kids and just forgotten detail in Russian or French small parks and play areas)

Some parks are themes-ones: space or dinosaur theme parks, for instance.

Besides playgrounds in the parks there are kids' areas in apartments communities:

We have a playground in our residence but we are going to the big park which is right around the corner )))

Friday 10 February 2012

French Moms and the Morning Sun

A few days ago my husband shared with me the link "Why French Parents Are Superior?"

He was very proud and almost sang "la Marseillaise".

Before I have already read another article about superiority of French moms (it is in Russian but I will translate the title as "French are the best moms in the world" )

I have lived in France and really like the way French moms raise their kids. Of cause you may say that all moms are different but I mean that there are some standards of family education and some values French moms are trying to ingrain into their kids minds which really create this penomenon of French Best Moms:

1) French healthy eating: children are taught from a very young age how to eat well, enjoy the food and cook traditional healthy food recipes.

2) French good manners: children are taught how to behave in public places, how to hide and control negative emotions, how to be nice, helpful and in a good mood. You may say that all children from all over the world are taught good behavior but in France it really works out.

3) French job value: French moms and dads are working all the time (parental leaves are really short and it is not so frequent to be a stay-at-home mom) and children are raised with this idea of "working well for living well".

4) French moms ability to keep enough vital space for themselves: they are good and responsible moms but also wives, lovers, professionals, women.

Here are the things mostly about moms but French dads are also good: knowing how to take care of a baby, child or toddler and really enjoing it.

I could probably add a few more points to this positive French parental portrait but I would better add some criticism.

Here is the story.

Every day I go for a walk with my 1 year old daughter. Here in the San Francisco Bay Area the weather is just so good especially in the morning, you have a lot of kids (around my daughter's age) on the playground. Both my sweet heart and me, we are enjoing the sun and being with other kids and moms. I have been to different parks in the morning and met a lot of moms and kids: American, Russian, Indian, Chinese, Mexican, German....but never French.

Today as usual we went for our morning walk and - What a miracle! - I've heard one mom speaking French. The mom had a son around 2 years old. She was on the phone. She put her boy into a sling and kept on talking on the phone. After that she put her son into another sling, then on a slide. She always kept on talking on the phone. 40 minutes later she finished the phone conversation, put her son in a stroller and left the playground.

Result: - she enjoyed the phone conversation;

- her son spent his time into the sling and on the slide but enjoyed neither being with his mom nor playing with other kids.

You would say that it is just one mom out of millions of French moms. Yes. But I have already noticed that French moms do not really like playgrounds especially in the morning. They are always busy. I wrote more about that in my Facebook notes or here (the text is in Russian):

But that's not the end of my story. The same day in the afternoon we went for a walk with my daughter again (usually we go for a walk twice a day) and in the park where we go every day we saw - what a miracle again! - a group of French moms and kids celebrating one kid's birthday. I got aquainted with some of the moms and found out that they meet Friday's afternoons between French but never mornings. Mornings are not for kids but for themselves (shopping, fitness, household activities).

French are surely good moms but do not like playgrounds at sunny mornings. What a pity!


Monday 6 February 2012

Winter in California

This is how winter in California looks like.

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