Fieldwork and Making Friends

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Continuing to explore the lives of people from the former Soviet Union, Zhanara and I met some friends from the former Soviet Union in Brooklyn for a Sunday dinner. On a rainy afternoon, we arrived at Kings Highway and took a walk to investigate the neighborhood. We spotted a Mexican Taqueria and a Mexican market just outside of the station where we bought corn tortillas. We walked further onto King’s Highway and spotted many storefront signage written in Russian, including a wonderful Georgian bakery where we bought Lavash bread cooked from a tandor oven. The store had a smell of freshly baked bread, and Russian-speaking customers were buying various Georgian delicacies such as khachapuri (cheeze-filled bread). We also got some pastries, cones filled with custard, a desert that Zhanara knew well from her childhood.

Our friends Bella, Igor, and their daughter Dani greeted us into their wonderful apartment filled with the smell of home-cooked food.   We helped set the table for dinner and then their neighbors Elena, Sergey, and their son Timosha who live across the hallway also came for dinner.

After a yummy dinner that Bella prepared from scratch, Igor broke out his guitar, which I had earlier spotted in a corner. He started playing Simon and Garfunkel’s “Sounds of Silence” and then transitioned into Russian rock songs from the repertoire of bands such as “Mashina Vremeni” and “Nautilius Pompilius” which eventually lead to him playing a few songs by the band Kino. I asked Igor what kind of music did he like and said that his favorite was Heavy Metal. He said his favorite  Heavy Metal music was the kind coming from Scandinavian countries.

At the end of the night I also got to check out Elena and Sergey’s apartment. They showed me a collection of magnets of places that they had visited over the years. They introduced me to their cat that had come with them from Moscow.

It was truly a great evening!