Question: What are some differences between Americans and Russians or Ukrainians?
There’s a subtle difference between Americans and Ukrainians which I’ve only just recently noticed: Ukrainians don’t eat.
Well, you don’t ever see them eating, is what I’m getting at. No one eats on the street, or in the mall, or on the bus. They might gorge like King Louis XIV at home, but out and about it’s a city full of Ghandis. I’ve been tempted more than once to gulp a handful of nuts while riding the bus, but I never do. I worry some kid will point at me, his mouth open in that chilling BODYSNATCHERS scream: Look, an American! Seize him!
In New York City there’s a hotdog or pretzel cart on every corner. In Europe, you have your bratwurst variants sold from street kiosks. Here in Sevastopol there are only a few such food stands where they sell blini with meat or cheese, but even at lunch time there’s never a line.
Okay, so they do eat here, but only in cafes or restaurants. And during the summer, you will see people with a cone of soft-serve vanilla on the street, but only within the McZone (the area within a hundred yard radius of the lone McDonalds here.) But honestly, other than that, there just isn’t that culture of public consumption that there is in the U.S. It’s clearly a societal norm, no doubt rooted in a history of hard, often brutal times and even starvation. I haven’t figured it out yet, but I’ll tell you, I only eat at home, or in cafes, like everyone else. I hope I remember to eat in public when I’m back in the U.S. for Christmas, otherwise…. “Look, a Ukrainian! Seize him!”