“Let them eat cake” – Abraham Lincoln

Quick update.
My birthday is next week. Michelle reminded me of that. I’m kind of proud that I forgot about my own birthday. Well. That’s not exactly true, everytime I go to the grocery store, I take my time oogling the cakes, drooling over them and fantasizing which one I’ll try for my birthday. Whenever it comes.

The last birthday I spent in Russia I had a really hard time picking out a cake, and it turned into this life lesson on what to base my decisions on.

First I picked out a cake because it looked middle of the line, not boring, not too flashy, so maybe it tasted good. (My experience was, the flashier it looked the worse it would taste). Then I picked out a banana cake because I knew already that I love banana. But then – Sister Taylor said “Sister King get this cake it’s called Prague!” When I looked at the cake she was pointing at, I recognized it as the middle of the line cake I’d originally picked out. It was a sign, it was fate. That was my cake. I decided to put it to a test. If the cake was delicious that meant coincidences/signs/etc. SHOULD determine the path I would follow. If it were dry/bland/and or dull then I should stop leaving things up to fate and start calling the shots based on reason or logic or something else like that.

In the end, the cake wasn’t the best, but it definitely wasn’t the worst. I don’t think it mattered, I mean, it’s a cake, of course it doesn’t matter. What I mean is, any cake I would have gotten in Russia was bound to disappoint me a little. At least this one had a thin layer of alcohol in the center to help keep it moist.

Inconclusive results though if you ask me.

Maybe that’s why I’m still to this day, deliberating over the same question. Actually, come to think of it. I’ve been grappling this one for years. Huh. Well, I guess it’s just one way of making decisions, but at least I’m still making them.

Going to Vichney Volochoke for the weekend with Ilaria, to visit her fiancee Sarafim and his brother, Barry.

It’s a pretty remote village from what I hear, I’m really looking forward to getting out of the city for a small vacation. Ha. I’m vacationing on what might be considered already a vacation.

Happy Independence day to all back in the states. Just some food for thought:
This is the second 4th or July I’ll spend in Russia. Naturally I can’t help but think about the two different countries, their politics, their history, their culture and their people and draw up an interesting compare and contrast.
Historically Russians are known for being able to hang in there. Ilaria says it this way: they are prepared to suffer. I think of it as being hut builders. It’s a way of orienting yourself towards life, dealing with what comes to you as opposed to assertively going out and creating your own circumstances. If you want to say someone is successful at something, a standard Russian construction is to say: yemu povezlo, or it was given to him (he is lucky). My Russian professor often talks about how she wonders why Russia and America, both large industrialized nations that share much in common have had such different destinies.  

I think it’s a matter of values, a matter of principle.

American’s have the cultural heritage of the American Dream. They’re raft builders. They’ll suffer, if it’s for a good reason, if they choose to. If someone is successful it has nothing to do with luck, he makes his own luck.

I think I’m more Russian sometimes than I am American. I can do what I’m told. I can go with the flow. I can be patient, I can suffer and live through just about anything. But ask me what cake I want for my birthday…

 

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3 thoughts on ““Let them eat cake” – Abraham Lincoln

  1. Brother

    You use so many words. I wish instead you could use pulses of light and energy to express your thoughts.President Obama called to wish you a happy birthday. He also made me promise not to tell you that he missedyou, so I won’t. But he does. As do I.

    Reply

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