Stranger Magazine - January 2011 by kevotinhhanhphuc

VIEWS: 142 PAGES: 56


    Understand Me


Spy chronicles

not just a cartoon   QUEST:
                     on request





EDITORIAL                            Everything has changed.
          A hundred years ago there was a huge distinc-
        tion between people who travel a lot and the ma-
         jority – those who could spend their whole lives
        without leaving their place of birth. Today we are
          surrounded by Strangers, everybody is travel-
           ling in this or that way: someone uses plane or
             bicycle, someone – mobile phone or Internet.
                          Also for many centuries there was
                 a segregation based on language and skin
             colour. No, I wouldn’t say that this distinction
         has disappeared totally, but today no one will be
          surprised that your friend’s native language or
                              skin colour differs from yours.
                      It is only understanding that matters:
                 understanding of your place in this world,
                     understanding of the fact that you are
                       surrounded by billions of people with
                           their own lifestyles, cultures, lan-
                          guages, religions, but same hearts
                                                  and feelings.
                                  “Stranger” is an example of
                          such understanding. This magazine
                          was created using social networks
                                and English language, which is
                             neither native for me nor for the
                         majority of my interlocutors. None-
                           theless, all the misunderstandings
                        in the process of communication, all
                          the obstacles in the Internet usage
                         didn’t disturb us because there was
                        something more significant: the pro-
                           cess of understanding a Stranger.

                          I hope that reading this magazine
                     will give you at least half of the plea-
                     sure I felt while creating it together
                                             with all of you.
                              Don’t be afraid of Strangers.
                             They come into our lives to be

                              Alyona Pavlenko, Editor
These countries are mentioned
               Is your country
           You can change the

in our January issue
not among them?
situation next month!

  Facts and ‘facts‘ about Ukraine
Very often we think that we know a lot about other countries, but in fact we are
wrong too often, especially in the simplest things. In order to eliminate such mistakes
and just to have fun, read what people said they think they know about Ukraine.

                               E   arlier I knew about Ukraine only that it is situated
                                   near Russia, it is mostly orthodox and it is very cold
                               in there. Now I have a Ukrainian friend and could tell for
                               sure that Ukrainian language is very close to Russian, but
                               they are different; you eat pepper same as Mexicans do,
                               your capital is Kyiv and you celebrate Christmas on Janu-
                               ary, 7th, and there are such good people as my Ukrainian
                               friend Olya!
                                                             Fay Mencott, Mexico
 Iknow that Ukraine was in the USSR until the fall of
  the Berlin Wall in 1989. Also I know that Ukraine is a
 member of the European Union.
                  Amandine Cabrio, Switzerland
 Idon’t know anything special about Ukraine except
  the fact that it is an Eastern country which is a mem-
 ber of the European Union
                            Natasha, Côte d’Ivoire
 Natasha and Amandina, we wish your words about our membership in the EU be-
 came the truth! Unfortunately, Ukraine is still not a member of the EU.
 Also, Ukraine remained a part of the USSR until it proclaimed Independence in

                  I   know that Ukraine is a socialist or communist country, isn’t it?
                                                       Tejendra Thapalaya, Nepal
                  Next year in August, 24th we will celebrate the 20th anniversary of
                  Ukraine’s independence, and also it will be the 20th year of the end
                  of communism era in our country.
                                                     FACTS & “FACTS“

U   kraine is situated in Europe close to Russia. An Orange
    revolution was there not so long ago. Also there are some
good footballers.
                                        Joe Dalton, Guinea
By the way, Joe, do you know that the 2012 UEFA European Foot-
ball Championship, or Euro-2012 will take place in Ukraine?

I   know nothing about Ukraine. I know that there are some mountains. The end.
                                                          Nicole Schmitt, Brazil
At least you know something, Nicole. You are right about the mountains, they make
up 5% of Ukraine’s land. These are the Carpathian Mountains in the East and the
Crimean Mountains in the South. The first place is great to visit in winter, and the
second – in summer. Foreign tourists are fond of our mountains because they are
really beautiful, and it is very cheap to stay in there.

                  I know that Ukraine is a big country in Eastern Europe, it is not in
                    the European Union yet, but it will happen in the future. The Or-
                  ange Revolution took place there several years ago. I know about
                  Yulia Tymoshenko, Ukrainian woman-politician. She is very elegant
                  and has a braid. Also I have heard about Chornobyl, which is very
                                                        Pauline Segouin, France
                  Really, our ex-premier-minister Yulia Tymoshen-
                  ko is said to be one of the most elegant wom-
                  an-politicians ever. She was a candidate for
                  a presidency in the last election but lost it
                  and now she remains in opposition.

Idon’t know a lot about Ukraine. But I remember that
 when I watched a World beauty show, it was said about
Ukraine that women are very beautiful there!
                                 Alberto, Madagascar
Alberto, that is the truth. Just look at the cover of the
“Stranger“ – Ukrainian women are really beautiful. And
clever :)
      Reading the previous ar-
       ticle, Ukrainians could
       have smiled at some of
     the commentaries about
        Ukraine. It is always a
        bit strange to find out
      that other people don’t
      understand main things
     about your country. But it
      would be not enough to
     show only the one side of
     the coin, and we decided
        to perform an experi-
     ment. Several Ukrainians
       were asked about their
     understanding of another
       country – Japan. Then
     we have chosen the com-
      mentaries, that were re-
     peated several times, and
     showed them to a native
     Japanese – Hitoshi Naka-
     mura, who has comment-
      ed on the most common
     misunderstandings. Let’s
      see what we have in the

Our Japanese and Ukrainian experts

                                                         LEONID MATVEETS          OLGA SNYADANKO

                HITOSHI NAKAMURA                           NATALYA KROT              TARAS VIRNIY

Japanese people are…

         Stayers, stable, emo-
       tional, responsible, they                                        Philosophers, reserved ,
      know how to relax. Very                                           non-emotional, very re-
       respectful of traditions –                                        spectful of traditions,
     they do everything accord-                                                patriotic.
      ing to the emperor’s will.

                       I think Japanese people are enthu-
                         siasts. Their dedication improves
                       quality of Japanese products. Strong
                                                                 of History”) and an American political
                                                                 scientist Samuel P. Huntington (au-
                                                                 thor of “Clash of Civilizations”), Japan
                       feeling of morality in public such as     is lone, however one of the major civi-
                       punctuality is seen as a form of re-      lization in the world. Japan is a unique
                       spect. According to a British historian   mix of East & West; it has a harmony
                       Arnold J. Toynbee (author of “A Study     of traditions and technology.
                                                                    FACTS & “FACTS“

Drinking traditions in Japan

       Comparing with Ukrai-                                              I think they don’t drink
        nians, I think Japanese                                          at all. Maybe, just a little
       drink less beer: maybe,                                           bit of wine, but no beer or
      their beer consumption is                                                    spirits.
         around 10% of ours

                         I don’t drink any alcohol. Though Japanese peo-
                           ple enjoy a variety of alcohol. They drink sake,
                         whisky, brandy, champagne, vodka, etc. The
                         most popular alcohol in Japan is beer. There are
                         5 beer companies in Japan: Asahi, Kirin, Sapporo,
                         Suntory, Orion. The most popular beer in Japan
                         is “Asahi SuperDry”, which you can buy here in
                         Kyiv. Wine and cocktail are also very popular.

  Actually, the idea that Japanese drink much less beer than Ukrainians is not correct. According
  to statistics*, one Japanese drinks 55 litres beer a year. At the same time, Ukrainians drink 50-
  70 litres a year , which means that there is no such a big difference in our preferences.

Money in a family
     I don’t think they have a
     shared budget. Probably,
     all the money in a family                                            Husbands and wives have
    is under the man’s control.
    He gives some money to his                                            their own budgets, while
    wife for household concern-                                            men pay everyday ex-
    ing goods, but all the main
    expenses are totally depen-                                                    penses
        dent on his decision.

                             I n Japan questions concerning mon-
                               ey are at women’s control. Usually
                             a husband gives his wife all his salary
                                                                            gets, money is common. Men some-
                                                                            times even have to explain their wives
                                                                            why they want to buy something be-
                             and relies on her wisdom in spending           cause they have to ask women’s per-
                             money. There is no division in bud-            mission to take money for that.

English language
                                                                                       They travel a lot, so
                                                                                     they need English – not
           Considering that their
                                                                                      so many people in the
         technologies are so well-
                                                                                     world know Japanese. I
          developed, they have to
                                                                                    think their knowledge of
         know English very well.
                                                                                     English is better than in

                             J   apanese are not good at foreign language. Most of Japanese speak only

 English-speaking Japanese newspaper The Daily Yomiuri surveyed the reasons of a poor level of English in Ja-
 pan. Also they wanted to find out if English in the country is really as bad as it is said by newspapers, TV and
 The newspaper held series of English mini-tests at schools, universities, offices and even in streets. The results
 proved to be cheerless. The Daily Yomiuri came to the conclusion: not only don’t Japanese like English lan-
 guage, but also they “fight a war” against it. The researchers mentioned some culturological reasons of such
• Geographic farness and psychological independence from English language.
• Confidence in the idea that there are only two sociocultural objects: Japan and the rest of the world.
• Real Japanese speak Japanese language both at home and at work (they have interpreters).
• If everybody speaks the Japanese language, then there is no need to speak English.
• The Japanese can find all the needed information (in books, newspapers Internet and so on) in the Japanese
    language. It means that there is no need to study other language because of hunger for information.
• The Japanese think that perfection is the absence of mistakes. That is why is there a need to make mistakes
    while writing and speaking English?
                                                                             FACTS & “FACTS“

Japanese in Ukraine

      I think, there are not
     so many Japanese in
   Ukraine. Probably, here
  are up to 20-30 thousands,
     but no more than 50.

                                                           T  aras is right, there are not so many Japanese
                                                              in Ukraine. But he was wrong in the numbers.
                                                           There are only nearly two hundred Japanese in
                                                           Ukraine – all other people with Asian appear-
                                                           ance are the representatives of other cultures.

 Japanese way of greeting
     They make hands pressed
                                             I know about the gesture of
   together, palms touching and
                                           Japanese greeting – it is when
    fingers pointed upwards, in                                                        They press their hands to-
                                           you press your hands together
   front of the chest if they greet                                                     gether and make a bow.
                                           and make a slight bow. I’m as-
     a very respectful person. If                                                   It is called “namaste“, right? I
                                           sured this is a Japanese way of
  their social statuses are similar                                                 saw it in films about Japanese.
                                           greeting. Maybe, it also could
      they just make a bow and
                                                 mean “thank you”.
             shake hands.

                      I  have already lived in Ukraine for sev-
                         eral years. And I was surprised to real-
                       ize that Ukrainians don’t know the right
                                                                         excuses. But we don’t press our hands
                                                                         together in front of the chest, as many
                                                                         Ukrainians think. Actually, in Japan this
                         way we greet each other. While greet-           gesture is used only while praying at
                         ing each other, Japanese make a bow.            Buddhist or Shintoistic temple or near
                          It is as natural for us as shaking hands       the body of the dead. This way of greet-
                             for people in the West. That is why         ing is common in Nepal and India (there
                               people sometimes even make a              it is called “namaste”), not in Japan! You
                                 bow during the telephone con-           will never see such a thing in our every-
                                  versation. Also Japanese make          day life. Why do Ukrainians think that it
                                   a bow if they want to thank           is our way of greeting? It is a great mys-
                                   somebody or want to make              tery for me.
                     wHAT THEY REALLY D
In addition to our misunderstandings of common things in Japan, we also overpass less known but still remark-
able aspects of this sophisticated east culture. Meanwhile, Japanese have significant tendencies – both positive
                           and negative – that now are spreading at home and abroad.
  “What a waste!” – may exclaim a thrifty housewife when she sees               grandma” with the slogan “Are you sure you are not doing anything
something good is spoiled instead of being used properly. In Japan              mottainai?”
similar exclamation will be “Mottainai!”, and it has much broader                 Despite the fact that the “Mottainai” conception is originated from
meaning that the previous one.                                                  Japan, the need for using
  Mottainai is a Japanese term meaning “a sense of regret concern-              this conception is still the
ing waste when the considerable value of an object or resource is               urgent problem there, too.
not properly utilized”. In ancient Japanese, “Mottainai” had various            According to Japan’s agri-
meanings, including a sense of gratitude mixed with shame for re-               cultural ministry, 23 million
ceiving greater favour from a superior than is properly merited by              tons of food was discarded
one’s station in life. Buddhists traditionally used the term “Mottain-          in 2007, about ¥11 trillion
ai” to indicate regret at the waste or misuse of something sacred or            worth, which is the mon-
highly respected, such as religious objects or teaching. Today, the             etary equivalent of Japan’s
word is widely used in everyday life to indicate the waste of any               annual agricultural output.
material object, time, or other resource.                                       Moreover, it cost ¥2 trillion
  The conception of “Mottainai” was recently popularized all over               to process that waste. We
the world thanks to the Kenyan Wangari Maathai – the first African              could only wonder how
women and the first environmentalist, who was awarded the Nobel                 much food and other re-
Peace Prize in 2004. Wangari considered this term as the equivalent             sources are being wasted
of the 3R waste management strategy: reduce + reuse + recycle.                  in countries where people
From the Japanese point of view we could add one more “R” to this               haven’t heard of “Mottain-
conception: respect, which means respect to the environment.                    ai” conception.
  The idea of “Mottainai” is widely known and used in Japan. In                   How often are you doing
2004 there even was published a picture children’s book “Mottainai              something Mottainai?

HIKIKOMORI a usual person to stay at home
 Can you imagine a situation that leads                                            Still, the exact amount of such people is not known (for sure it isn’t easy
(usually in only one room) for more than 6 months without any contacts          to count people that want to live in isolation). The western countries have
with the outside world, friends and relatives except rare communications        drawned attention to this issue after the series of reports of a BBC-corre-
via Internet or even without them? Such people exchange their social activ-     spondent Pheel Rees about hikikomori. They were under the high-sound-
ity for the world of Internet, anime, books or other substitutes of real life   ing titles “Japan: the missing million” and “Hikikomori violence”.
without any visible reasons to behave in this way. There are many people           Hikikomori tend to be financially supported by their parents, or by re-
like that in Japan. They are a growing problem of the modern Japanese           ceiving social assistance. They seldom work since job usually requires so-
society. And their name is Hikikomori.                                          cialization. The process of their isolation is gradual, it starts from becoming
   The term “Hikikomori” literally means “pulling away, being confined”.        shy and insecure, losing friends, which increases the burden of social pres-
Coined by Tokyo Psychologist Saito Tamaki, this label describes an increas-     sure on such people and results in the solitude chosen for many months
ing trend of acute social withdrawal amongst youths in Japanese society.        or even years.
Hikikomori emerged into public awareness as a social problem in Japan              Although “hikikomori” is seen as a new Japanese phenomenon, the idea
between the years 1999 and 2000.                                                that Hikikomori exist only in Japan is a subject to criticism of many re-
   The research group in Japan that in 2003 conducted a survey of 14069         searchers. The main idea of their statements is that the same behaviour
cases of people that could be named “hikikomori”, provided us with such         is common in other countries, too, while it could be described using other
statistics. 76.4% of the respondents were males, their average age was 26.7     terms such as “agoraphobia”. Still it is hard to understand the connivance
years old, and 50% had been suffering as hikikomori for over five years.        of those Japan families that allow their children to have such a way of life
                                                                                and provide them with all the supplies without trying to interfere into the
                                                                                condition of isolation chosen by their child.
                                                                                   This topic is a good idea for researching in a scientific journal, while we
                                                                                will stop on this point in order to avoid incorrect conclusions on such an
                                                                                unsteady ground.
                                                                                   If you want to know more about Hikikomori – there are plenty of ma-
                                                                                terials about these people in Internet. You could even find such anime as
                                                                                «Welcome to NHK!», «Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge» and others about
                                                                                Hikikomori. Among films we could mention the horror-movie “Haunted
                                                                                room” (The main hero, which is a Hikikomori, finally becomes a creepy
                                                                                monster), or a French fantastic film “Thomas in love”. The last mentioned
                                                                                film was shot in 2000 and shows the life of an agoraphobic man, while
                                                                                many displays of Hikikomori life are presented, too.
                                                                                                                  Hitoshi Nakamura, Alyona Pavlenko

     not just a cartoon                       Say “Madagascar” out loud. What is your
                                            first association with this word? Let me
                                            guess: if you can see and if you like cartoons,
                                            your first association will be the “Madagas-
                                            car” cartoon! But even if you don’t like car-
                                            toons, this association still may be in your
                                            head – pictures of the main characters of this
                                            famous animation are everywhere, so one
                                            can ignore them only if one is blind.
                                              Ok, let’s forget about the cartoon and think
                                            of a real place called Madagascar. What? You
                                            don’t know anything? More than twenty
                                            million people and terrific variety of animals
                                            live in Madagascar, and you still can’t say any-
                                            thing about this amazing place? We should
                                            immediately improve the situation and read
                                            astonishing facts about Madagascar, because
                                            it is much more than just a cartoon.

  Great Red Island
M      adagascar is often described as the
       Great Red Island. It is easy to under-
stand, why the island is called “Great” – af-
ter Greenland, New Guinea and Borneo it is
the 4th largest island in the world. But what
about the red colour? The 587,041 km2 of
land were once covered with green rainfor-
est, but the slash-and-burn techniques of
the Malagasy farmers, later aggravated by
commercial exploitation of the rainforest
caused heavy erosion. The erosion caused
the explosion of the laterite soil all over the
island. Because of iron oxides contained in
this kind of soil, it has a rusty-red colour.            Madagascar as it is seen from the space
That is why Madagascar is now called the                        photo:
“Red Island”. National Geographic reports
that “from space, astronauts could see Madagascar’s red earth bleeding into the sea. The remaining rain-
forest is to be found in the northern part of the island and on the east coast.
                                                                         STRANGE LAND
    When you arrive to Madagascar, immediately ask locals about

F   ady is a complex of taboos that regulate everyday life in Mad-
    agascar and vary from one region to another. So if you want
to be well-treated by locals, ask them from the very beginning
of your communication which prohibitions work in their place.
They can forbid foods (pork, lemur, turtle), wearing clothes of
a particular colour, bathing in a river or a lake and many other
specific moments. For example, it is fady in some towns to hand
an egg directly to a person. The proper protocol is to put it on
the ground first.
  Another important fady concerns treating animals. The pan-
ther chameleons, which are prominent there, are protected by
folklore and fady. If a man “touches” a chameleon, he is not al-
lowed to touch his wife for three days.
  Nonetheless, even if you didn’t follow one of the fadys by ac-
cident, you may hope that locals will not be too offended – their          If a man “touches” a chameleon,
philosophy Ubuntu should help you in such a situation.                    he is not allowed to touch his wife
                                                                                     for three days.

U    buntu, which is a traditional African concept,
     could be roughly translated as “humanity to-
wards others”. In Madagascar most of the people
                                                           This conception isn’t so easy to understand for
                                                         western people, but my adviser from Madagas-
                                                         car told me: “For me Ubuntu means that I love all
follow the principles of Ubuntu, which are concen-       people around me”. So let’s hope that followers of
trated on the importance of agreement or con-            this philosophy will spread their ideas all over the
sensus, and give priority to the well-being of the       world and we will live in a paradise of understand-
community as a whole. The unifying worldview             ing and support one day. But despite the fact it
of Ubuntu is expressed in the Zulu maxim “um-            hasn’t happened yet, we could go to Madagascar
untu ngumuntu ngabantu,” (“a person is a person          and hope that Malagasy will use their philosophy
through other persons”)                                  towards strangers, too.

                                          lemur land
I f to remember cartoon of the same name, the most important fact
  that we can say about the fauna of Madagascar is that there are a
lot of lemurs (which impress strangers with wild dances and a song
“I like to move it”). Forget about the song, but take it for granted:
Madagascar is really an Island of lemurs of all shapes and sizes. The
smallest of them can be located on a palm; the biggest is as tall as a
4-year-old child. Lemurs are a key component in Madagascar’s biodi-
versity. It is only because of Madagascar’s isolation that lemurs have
managed to survive and flourish. And now they make people wonder
at their amazing features.

For instance, the indri lemur sings like a whale, and   that attracts many travelers by its impressive cul-
the lemur called “the aye-aye” extracts insects         ture called “Savika” or “Rodeo” in Madagascar.
from tree bark using a long twig-shaped finger. But     The population is called “Betsileo” or “many and
the most famous for its behaviour is Sifaka lemur.      invincible”, a right name that can sums up the
                                                        “Savika” or “Rodeo” men’s personalities: strong,
                                                        brave and impressive. The capital of the region is
                                                        Ambositra where arenas were especially built for
                                                        Savika and makes it very famous there. Savika or
                                                        Betsileo’s traditional rodeo is such a daring cul-
                                                        ture that shows its player’s strength, speed, and
                                                        courage; then, acclamation and suspense for its

 Sifaka lemur looks like a professional ballet dancer

 H    aving found out more about this amusing
      animal, you will not think that the creators
 of the “Madagascar” exaggerated a lot when
 made lemurs in the story fond of dancing. Sifakas
 are generally found on the trees as they are ca-
 pable jumpers, eating fruit, flowers, wood, bark
 and leaves, but they are best known for their
 “dancing.” Since trees in their habitat are often
 dispersed, sifakas cross open ground by sashay-
 ing on their hind legs with arms aloft. There are
 few animal sights more entertaining than wit-
 nessing a group of sifakas crossing a road.              it is said the Savika event is an opportunity for single
                                                            men to charm women as it shows their manhood

                  Savika                                           photo:

A   nother animal that plays an important role in
    the life of locals is zebu – a kind of a humped
cow, which is not native for Madagascar fauna,
                                                        The main idea of this competition consists of
                                                        grabbing hold of the humps of zebu bulls when
                                                        they are at their angriest. Spectators enjoy rais-
but was brought from the outside. The man that          ing the beasts’ ire by poking them with sticks;
doesn’t possess at least one zebu (which consti-        then, brave young men jump into the ring to face
tutes the wealth of the owner) won’t be seen as         this dangerous play with the huffing and snorting
an eligible bachelor; many young men dare to            zebu bulls. Impressive and dangerous as it seems
rustle zebus in spite the fact that cattle rustling     to be, this risky game still attracts many players,
has become a dangerous and sometimes deadly             not only villagers but some travellers, too. In-
criminal enterprise.                                    deed, it is said the Savika event is an opportunity
Amoron’I Mania is a region in Fianarantsoa Prov-        for single men to charm women as it shows their
ince of central Madagascar which is a destination       manhood.
                                                                           STRANGE LAND

                     Famadihana                                                 Hiragasy
T   here is a tradition in Madagascar which is often hardly under-

    stood by the foreigners. It is Famadihana – the ceremony of ex-             pecific musicians should
humation and reburial of the predecessors. Every year Famadihana                perform on the ceremo-
takes place during the dry season, between June and September, to           ny of Famadihana. On such
make a feast with the dead.                                                 an event a hiragasy troupes
  The “Zanadrazana” (descendant of the person exhumed at the                are often present. The hira-
time of the Famadihana) take their ancestors from the family’s tomb,        gasy is a famous musical tra-
and dresses them in fresh silk shrouds known as lamba before be-            dition in Madagascar. It takes
ing put back to the tomb. And, as the dead are believed to be alive         its name after two words:
on the day of Famadihana, everybody speaks to them, asking them             “hira” means song and
for blessing. When the alive are finished wrapping the bodies of the        “gasy” stands for Malagasy.
dead, the Malagasy dance with them before burying them again. The           The hiragasy is a day-long
“Famadihana” is not only a way to show respect to the dead, it is also      spectacle of music, dance,
viewed as the unique opportunity to unite all descendants of one            and kabary oratory (a tradi-
family in joy and good mood.                                                tional type of formalized and
                                                                            poetic speech incorporating
                                                                            proverbs), performed by a
                                                                            troupe. Typically troup mem-
                                                                            bers are related by blood or
                                                                            marriage and share the same
                                                                            rural origin. Competitions
                                                                            between two troupes often
                                                                            take place during the hira-
                                                                            gasy. The event has a specific
                                                                            structure and is held by the
                                                                            troupe leader who is often
                                                                            its oldest member. Hiragasy
                                                                            is not just singing songs, it
                                                                            plays an important educa-
                                                                            tional and moralistic func-
  Malagasy always maintain some relations with their ancestors. For         tion in the Malagasy society.
them, the dead aren’t dead; they live in the shadow of life. In the
Malagasy’s cosmogony, the ancestors protect and bless their descen-
dants. The Malagasy are engrossed in the belief that “it is the dead
who are the sole and inexhaustible source of all good things: life, hap-
piness, peace, and, above all, fertility. Many Malagasy would spend a
great majority of their income on their burial site and its decorations,
they have to provide guests of the celebration with food and enter-
tainment (the amount of guests often reaches several hundred of
people), special musicians for the Famadihana should be also paid.
Moreover, they should pay a tax to gain permission for exhumation
from the local authority. These days Famadihana is held once in 5-7
years, dependent on the welfare of family that organizes it.
                        Authors: Alyona Pavlenko, Alberto Ravomanana
They & Us
Not only people all over the world
have various life experiences. Same
animals in different corners of our
planet have different stories of their
lives. Despite the fact that we can-
not understand the animal language
yet, we may discover their unusual
stories by observing them in their
wildness and in
their intersection
with humans.

                                    PHOTOGRAPH BY RICARDO BARBIERI

   Hummingbirds are very common in Brazil, especially in the Southern part of the country. There
you can see these bright tiny birds everywhere, no matter whether you live in a village or in a big
city. Brazilians call hummingbirds “Beija Flor”, which means “Someone who kisses a flower”. In Brazil
there is a belief that it is a great luck to see a totally blue hummingbird, while a green bird means
getting a big amount of money soon.
   Proteins and sugar always should be in the ration of hummingbirds. Birds receive proteins eating
small flying insects. Speaking of sugar, hummingbirds are able to assess the sugar for their bodies
from the nectar, and they prefer flowers with about 25% sugar content, rejecting those with less
than 15%.That is why when making the hummingbird food, it’s typically a sugar water substance.
   In Brazil many people hang bird feeders around their homes, providing Beija Flors with additional
source of energy. Meanwhile, some vets express concerns about such a way of feeding – they call
attention to the fact that dirty feeders could cause hummingbird’s disease and even death. That is
why they recommend replacing sugar water in the feeder at least each 3 days.


   In Switzerland horses are no longer used for work: they are mostly leisure and sports animals.
 Horses are well-treated: during the drizzle, for example, one will find them covered with horse cloth.
 Picturesque sceneries with these animals grazing on a meadow are very common in here.
   On the other hand, don’t be surprised to see horse meat in a supermarket: Swiss people like this
 low-fat, slightly sweet and tender meat. It costs more than pork or beef and is especially popular in
 the French-speaking western part of Switzerland. On the contrary, in many countries horse meat is
 seen as a cheap substitute for other kinds of meat.
   Eating horsemeat is a taboo in such countries as United Kingdom, Ireland, the US, Australia, In-
 dia, Brazil and others. Meanwhile, in South America, China, Japan, and in many European countries
 including France, Italy, and Switzerland, horsemeat is just as common on the dinner table as other
 meats. 5 million horses – this is an approximate number of horses killed and consumed each year by
 the eight most populous countries in the world in total.

                                  PHOTOGRAPH BY ALEXANDER RADCHENKO

   Early naturalists called Australia the Land of Parrots, and there is no single place in this country
where you will not be able to find Australian parrots. The majority of the world’s 350 species of par-
rots and cockatoos are found in Australia and South America, and in Australia alone there are 39
species of parrots. Today the export of Australian native birds (of course, parrots are among them),
is banned under the Wildlife Protection Act, and penalties for smuggling is heavy.
   The Rainbow Lorikeet is one of the most beautiful Australian parrots, but is so common that lo-
cals often take it for granted. This parrot species is common in Australia along the Eastern coastline,
from Queensland to South Australia and northwest Tasmania. Many fruit orchard owners consider
them as a pest, as they often fly in groups and strip trees containing fresh fruit. The situations when
parrots interfere in human’s meal are also very common. Locals say that even wild parrots let them-
selves eat off people’s hands. Though one should be careful with these beautiful impudent birds: at
any moment they can peck a finger or steal anything from the dining table.

                                     PHOTOGRAPH BY SHIZUKO MISHIMA

    Do you like taking a hot bath? The Snow Monkeys of Japan like that for sure. They are the most
 north-living species of primates, able to survive temperatures of -15 °C. In spite of thick fur, these
 monkeys are not protected well enough from the severe frost. Therefore the animals found a bril-
 liant decision – they spend nights in the mountains, while in the mornings they go down to the
 Jigokudani Yaen-koen (which means Hell Valley) and for the whole day relax in the hot springs.
 Because of the monkeys, this valley became a famous tourist attraction. Tourists and cameramen
 from all over the world take photos of the most Northern monkeys in the world, some people
 even take bath together with these animals - they believe that hot springs ease headaches and
 nervous tiredness.

                                                                            Author: Alyona Pavlenko
   2W4C. Whaaaat? What a
strange abbreviation? Ok, I’ll
 decode it for you, this com-
bination means “Two wheels
    for change”, and still… it
means nothing to you. Until
 you read the interview with
   Anja – the girl from Ger-
 many who has been a mem-
 ber of the mysterious group
called “2 Wheels for Change”
 for 5 months. Now she can
 tell a lot about street music,
   living in the open air and
  travelling without borders
         and schedules.

Do you know about the fact that travelling changes people?
Anja knows that for sure.
Now she is studying Environmental System Sciences and Chemistry
in Austria. Her demanding specialization is dealing with such global
problems as climate change or economic crises. Could anyone be-
lieve that in April, 2010 she had begun her craziest and most amazing
5-month journey from Germany to Mongolia simply on a bicycle?
Yes, that’s the truth. Anja was a member of a How the journey started for you?
team called “2 Wheels for Change” – a group of        Actually, we met each other by chance. I heard my friends
young people from different countries who de-      were talking about the project where people want to go by
cided to travel using only bicycles and trains and bike to Mongolia, and I was also planning to make a long
getting money for their journey on street per- trip during this year because I had a year gap between my
                                                   school and studying at the University and I thought: “Wow!
formances. Moreover, during                                              It’s great! I want to go to this area, I
the journey these guys did not        Most of the time we                want to go East”. So I tried to find out
only perform on a street, but think that problems are more about the group, if I have to be
also spent lot of time with chil- much more terrific than able to play music, and they told me
dren from orphanages, teach-             they really are                 that it’s an open group and anybody
                                                                         could join them.
ing them acrobatics, playing
music       instruments        and       clownery. You decided to travel with total
                                                   strangers by bicycles from Germany
Moving from one place to another despite bor- to Mongolia. It sounds terrific… but
ders between countries, borders between dif- what did you parents and friends say
ferent languages and cultures, 2wheels4change about such a decision?
succeeded in their aim and reached Mongo-             In the beginning, of course, it was a very crazy idea, my
lia in September. Moreover, they’ve contin- parents couldn’t understand why I want to do this, but then
ued their journey to Japan and far ahead, we talked a lot, really A LOT! I’ve explained why it was impor-
while Anja left the group because of studying. tant for me, and in the end they said: “Ok, if you think that it’s
                                                                            important for you – do it.” Speaking of
                                                                            my friends, they just wished me the best.
                                                                            Some of them told me that they would
                                                                            be afraid to do a journey like this. Actu-
                                                                            ally, I also was afraid about quite a lot of
                                                                            things. I thought what if I lost my passport
                                                                            in one of these countries, or something
                                                                            else. I didn’t know what exactly might
                                                                            have happened, but after this journey
                                                                            I can just tell that most of the time we
                                                                            think that problems are much more ter-
                                                                            rific than they really are. Of course, we
                                                                            should be realistic and know where the
                                                                            dangerous situations are likely to hap-
                                                                            pen, but I would like to tell people who
                                                                            are thinking about travelling somewhere
                                                                            that most of the problems which occur
                                                                            on the trip can be solved. Of course, it
A performance in Russia. You can find me playing the yellow and             is not always that easy, but a little bit of
                       black accordion                                      creativity, spontaneity help a lot.
Which things were the
most important for you
during the trip?
   For sure, everything was important.
But I can mention some most worthy
points for me.
   Living in a group
    When you live in a group you have to
deal with everything together. We didn’t
have anyone who decided for us. We
had to discuss every problem and every
decision. We wanted to be as equal as
possible. It was not always easy to make
decisions, but this group process was
something really interesting, and in the
end it was much better than in the be-
ginning. It took us a lot of time to make
decisions on the most important points.
For example, the question going to Tur-
key or to Mongolia...this was the hardest discussion;
                                                                   The happy moment of reaching
it took us around three days. But all in all, for me,             Ulan Bator, the capital of Mongolia
equal group decisions are in general the better way
than one person deciding over the will of others.                    Ecological aspect of the journey
   Doing street music on a street                                    With this trip, we also wanted to show an example of liv-
                                                                  ing in a more sustainable and ecological way. Anyway, dur-
    It was very important for me to learn doing music together
                                                                  ing the trip, for me personally it was nothing special, it was
with other people. These spontaneous shows were very signif-
                                                                  just normal that we were going by bike instead of a plane
icant for me. You have to go and perform, even if your mood
                                                                  or something. Also it was normal that we tried to buy food
is not so good. And also I was so surprised to see people’s re-
                                                                  from the farmers instead of buying it in big stores, when it
action! They really liked us, although in my opinion our music
                                                                  was possible.
wasn’t very professional.
                                                                  Have you changed a lot after the journey?
   Experiencing kindness
                                                                 I think that I’ve become much more open-minded than be-
    I was always interested in other cultures, but in the end fore, I got to know many new people and I was also forced to
I realized that people are not so different. Of course, there
are lots of differences, starting from
the way people greet each other, but
with time you see that there are much
more things that people have in com-
mon everywhere! There were some
situations when people just came to
us and said: “Do you want to have tea
at my place? Do you have a place to
stay? If no, you could come and make
camp in my garden, or you could sleep
at my place”. This was a really great
experience because in the beginning I
didn’t really know why people are so
helpful, why people are so kind with
us! Now I know better. After a long pe-
riod of travelling I’m also happy to help
someone who is travelling, no matter
these people are my friends or some-
one I don’t know. I think it’s just the Kyiv. We are teaching children from the “Father’s house“ orphanage
thing about travelling.                          acrobatics. Later we had several performances together

talk to lots of different people in different languages, even when we met lots of people and especially worked with children
I didn’t know the language good enough.                            for two weeks. There it was a very special moment when
    I can’t say how all these things changed me, but they we had to say goodbye to all these people who became
influenced me for sure. I learned not to plan so much. I so close for us. At the same time, we always had a wish to
learned that if you just let the things come, then unexpect- see other places, and this exact tension made me not to be
edly interesting things often come.                                                    sad all the time we left for some new
Now I know that the best things hap-                  What I miss is a                 place. Each time I knew that I would
                                                                                       not be staying in this place any longer.
pen by accident. When your life flows
in an unordered way during the travel            calmness of unstressful Maybe, that is the reason why I didn’t
there are much more chances for such                        travelling                 have big problems with leaving some
happy occasions.                                                                       place and going somewhere else.
    Also I learned how to behave in difficult situations. I        How was it to travel with many different
learned to search for creative solutions instead of looking        people, who continually joined and leaved
back or thinking that I could have done something better.          the group?
    Another thing that I took from the journey (and I used             When two people from Ukraine joined us,they couldn’t
it while looking for a flat to rent) was having much more          understand everything in English or German, and in the be-
energy in difficult situations. We had quite a lot of obstruc-     ginning communication was a bit complicated. But this was
tions during the trip. For example, we had to build up the         just the beginning, later we learned the other’s language
tents even if we were hungry, and cook maybe for an hour           better and also got used to translations. In the group you
in the rain. I think after all these obstacles I have much more    don’t choose which people there are, of course, there were
energy than before.                                                people that I had better connection with, and also there
Was it hard for you to be in one place                             were people that I didn’t talk so much to. It was not equal.
and then go to another? Were there some                            But during the trip I never hated any person. If there would
                                                                   have been people I couldn’t get along with, I think I would
places that you didn’t want to leave?
                                                                   have thought just about not going further.
    Good question. Very often we stayed in one place for
                                                                       But I believe that all the people who travel this way are
only one day, and even if it was so nice, we still had the spir-
                                                                   at least open-minded and that’s why they are easy to com-
it of going on and on all the time. Actually, I don’t remem-
                                                                   municate with.
ber now if there were places that I didn’t want to leave. Of
course, there were some places that we stayed at longer.               During this trip we had many difficult situations. And we
For example, we stayed in Kyiv, Ukraine for almost a month,        were helping each other, solving all the group problems.
                                                                                          We just had to do this, because in a
                                                                                           travel group you are dependent on
                                                                                           each other. This rule works even if
                                                                                           you’ve just joined the group, and you
                                                                                           are not friends with everybody. Each
                                                                                           time this decision to help other peo-
                                                                                           ple was so natural and necessary. It
                                                                                           was a normal behavior in the group.
                                                                                          Which thing from the
                                                                                          trip do you miss the best?
                                                                                             What I miss is a calmness of un-
                                                                                          stressful travelling. We didn’t have
                                                                                          any time pressure during those days.
                                                                                          Of course, our visas could have ex-
                                                                                          pired, but still there were no rush, no
                                                                                          schedules – nothing that we usually
                                                                                          have during working, during studying
                                                                                          at University. In the end of the trav-
                                                                                          el for me I thought: “Ok, when I go
                                                                                          home I will take this calmness with
  Workers in Mongolia invited us for tea, we stayed with them and                         me”. I decided that even if I have to
  played music all the evening together. For such a communication                         go later somewhere at the fixed time
       you don’t need a common language for understanding                                 I would like to do it in a calm way

          During a concert next to a market in a Mongolian town.
People were so curious that we had difficulties to get enough space to perform

              We have found a peace in the shade and eat lunch

with no hurry. I decided not to be busy all the day, if to be   journey has lots of small difficulties that make you more
specific, not to be feeling busy, because very often we just    experienced, and it’s worth it.
pretend that we have lots of things to do. Right now I’m not    What about the best surprise the journey
running almost anywhere. Now if I’m late, I think: “Ok, it’s    gave you?
too late to run, so despite everything I should be calm”.
                                                                Speaking of the most beautiful situation, it is the one
Do you think that other way people                           that happened with me in Russia. Actually, this one also
should repeat your journey and travel                        happened by accident. I just was playing near the house of
the way you did?                                             these people, and a man came to me and said: “Ok, it’s way
   Well, there were lots of situations where people told too loud”. And he said that I was annoying and not playing
me about this project: “Oh, I would also like to do some- good and it was better for me to to leave… Then I started to
thing like this”. In this situation I think that people just make excuses because I wanted to be friendly. Later we talk-
can travel on their way, how they                                                     ed more and he told me a lot about
want to. People don’t need to go          What I know for sure is history of former times, and I was
exactly by bike somewhere. If you that any kind of travelling really interested in his stories. Af-
want to know yourself, to know                                                        ter this talking he said that I could
your limits, how far you can go,                opens your mind                       take his accordion (at that moment
how lasting your energy is, you                                                       I was playing a small accordion of a
don’t need to do everything that we did, you just need friend). He said that he has an old accordion which is much
to have your own aim. Speaking of our journey, actually, bigger, and it wasn’t used for nearly thirty years. Firstly I
there were also quite a lot relaxing periods of this travel. didn’t believe my ears, I thought that it was a kind of mis-
What I know for sure is that any kind of travelling opens understanding - we were speaking in Russian, and I thought
your mind; no matter you travel on bicycles or no, any that I didn’t get the right meaning. Then he showed me the
                                                                             accordion and I still couldn’t believe that
                                                                             he would give me such a present. I didn’t
                                                                             know if I should take it without money,
                                                                             but the man insisted that it was a gift. This
                                                                             moment was so precious for me. Now this
                                                                             accordion is still with me. I’ve got to know
                                                                             people who are also street musicians and
                                                                             we played on a street together today. It
                                                                             was so nice.
                                                                               Some people of your group are
                                                                               still travelling. Why did you
                                                                               decide to leave?
                                                                                   Yes, I know that some people from
                                                                               2wheels4change are in Tokyo now. When
                                                                               you travel in such kind of the groups you
                                                                               always think: “Ok, I could go ahead, I could
                                                                               go to Canada, to Japan”. But it’s not that
                                                                               easy. You just have to know what to do in
                                                                               your life. So I left the group when my study
                                                                               has started, because I’m also interested in
                                                                               the university life. When I left the project
                                                                               in September I felt that it’s time to try a
                                                                               new lifestyle again.
                                                                                   I am confident that one day I will do a
                                                                               project like this again. I think I will travel for
                                                                               a long distance by bike again, but it will be
                                                                               something new for me. You will never find
                                                                               a project that is absolutely the same.
                                                                                                        Author: Alyona Pavlenko
   Anja is speaking with the wife of a man who presented her                                            Photos: 2Wheels4Change
                          the accordion

  When I will have my own plane
I will not need Internet, but now...
I  nternet is my second world. I am not living there, but
   certainly I spend my time there. No, I think it never will
be more important than live communication. But several
days ago I found a friend from Malaysia - in fact, in real
life to get to Malaysia is more expensive than to enter Fa-

W    ith Skype I connect with people almost everywhere
     and even see or hear them almost for free! This is awe-
some! Wikipedia is my chance to know more without big
books with numerous pages. I use Gmail for work and for
fun. Letters and chatting are both available – I find it very
useful. Finally, Flickr takes me to the world of talented
people and their fabulous shots. Flickr helps me every time
I need some specific picture or I need to show my photos or
simply I want to look and enjoy.

B  ut Facebook is the most important for me. With this so-
   cial network I got a lot of experience – I found a boy-
friend there, lost him, found friend with whom we become
very close, in spite he lived on another continent, lost him…
and found again! I used Facebook against other people and
they used it against me – you know, it is easy to get informa-
tion from Facebook about somebody - where he was, what
meetings he arranged, with whom he communicates. It was
like Internet spy – stupid but interesting.

N   ow I take this network not so seriously, but still it is
    important for me, because in some cases it is the only
way to communicate with people from different corners of
the world without travelling. Maybe, when I will have my
own plane I will not need Internet, but now I am fond of
such opportunities.

                   Ninel Omelyanenko, Ukraine
        friends on
    When we grew older we could only sigh and recall those
sweet days of our childhood when you could come to an
unknown boy or girl and say: “Hi! My name is ***, let’s be

    Yes, it was much easier to find friends when we were small,
but later such a possibility became something unrealistic…
until the Internet services made it possible once again. I
have a feeling that now everybody is looking for friends: we
are adding them on Facebook, Twitter, different forums and
blogs. No need to wonder at that – people always wanted
someone to speak with and share their thoughts.

    Turn the page – there are stories of three girls, each of
whom is using her own way of looking for friends or friend-
ly conversations among people all over the world. What if
their experience will be worthy for you too?

The story #1:
Learning language and something more
                                                                       takes and inaccuracies in German language.
                                                                       Sometimes it was unpleasant and offensive
                                                                       to hear about my mistakes, but I tried to
                                                                       be patient and thanked him each time he
                                                                               showed me a new mistake.
                                                                          We had sent each other postcards via usu-
                                                                       al mail, shared our photos and other small
                                                                       things. In summer I won a month-long edu-
                                                                       cational trip to Germany and met Clemens.
                                                                          Both we made gifts for each other and
                                                                       were worried about our meeting. Later it
                                                                       turned out that there was no need to worry
                                                                       – in real life everything was easier. A cozy
                                                                       evening together only helped us in our com-
                                                                       munication. This summer I went to Germa-
                                                                       ny again and met Clemens the second time.
                                                                       Our third meeting we agreed to arrange in
                                                                              Minsk – the place where I live.
                                                                          This person lives two thousand kilome-
                                                                       ters away from me, but I’m absolutely as-
                                                                       sured that he is my faithful companion. We
                                                                       have a lot in common and he always helps
                                                                       me despite the distance between us. Not
             Yanina and her German pen friend Clemens                  only did Clemens help me with German

                                                                       language, but also he told me a lot about
    was carried away with the idea of learning German language.
                                                                       Germans, their traditions and customs. And
    I used all the possible ways for its perfection. Conversations
                                                                       I have told him a lot about my country. Once
    with Germans were one of the possible options. I live in the
                                                                       Clemens confessed that before we met each
capital of Byelorussia, where there is no such a possibility to find
                                                                       other he wasn’t interested in Byelorussia at
Germans for regular communication. That is why I’ve decided
                                                                       all, while now he thinks my country is very
to use online services. I went to one of the sites for finding pen
                                                                                 beautiful and interesting.
friends, registered there and wrote basic information about me.
After all, I started to look for people from Germany, who wanted
                  to become pen friends with others.                                 Yanina Sedelnik, Belarus
   In the list of found users Clemens was one of the last, but I
                                                                          If you are looking for pen friends, there are
wrote him “Hello” too. He didn’t answer immediately, we wrote
                                                                        loads of services available for finding them
each other some general phrases: I said that I’m studying in Bye-
lorussia, he answered that he’s a student, too, and he’s studying
Informatics. On that point our conversation stopped. In a month     
we suddenly decide to speak again, and since that time long letters
              to each other became a part of our lives.           
  We started a conversation about Ayn Rand’s book “Atlas              
                                                                          These are some of the most popular sites
Shrugged”, which Clemens advised me to read. That was his fa-
                                                                        for finding pen pals.
mous author, and when I coped with two thousand pages of elec-
                                                                          And don’t be upset if you don’t find the
         tronic text, we started to speak each evening.
                                                                        right person on your first try – speaking from
  Every day I returned home after University and started my Ger-        my own experience, there are always inter-
man language practice. In some months I’ve told Clemens the real        esting people on such sites, just make more
purpose of my correspondence with him, and this noble student           than one try and you will find them.
of Informatics decided to help me through correcting my mis-

The story #2:
How couchsurfing burst into my life
         re there still people who haven’t
         heard about Couchsurfing - a hospi-
         tality exchange network and website,
founded in 2003 in San-Francisco and since
then spread all over the world? With over 2.4
million members in 245 countries and terri-
tories, CouchSurfing is the largest and most
visited hospitality service on the Internet. Na-
talia Marianchyk uses it quite often and can
tell something about the way she knew about
it and started using it.
   Once I was abroad on a conference. There
I’ve met a boy, with whom we spent some time
and he told me that I should register in a social
network for people who travel – Couchsurf- He said that there I could find people
where I may stay while travelling. Then I said
that I’m afraid of such services and not so sure
if really need it. But this guy took my photo-
graphs from Facebook and made a profile for
me without my permission. Later he explained
me all the features of this network. Actually,
this guy is a professional couchsurfer – for
several years he’s using this service more than
five hundred people stayed at his home, isn’t             Natalia organised a guide-tour for Jilber, her guest from France
                   it awesome?
                                                     thing bad even at once, they will gain negative references and will be
   First I was really surprised but thanks to this
                                                                          banned from using the site.
site I’ve travelled to Brazil and many other
places. In total, I will say that most of the peo-     Actually, I don’t rely on this service as the source of habitation
ple who hosted me were very nice and friend-         while I’m abroad. I’m more interested in using it as the source of com-
ly. I was positively surprised to discover that.     munication. Using this site, I could always find people, who want to
They’ve met me with a car, organized a guide         show me around, tell more about the city and spend some time with
tour and hosted in their house. Of course, there     me. It is an invaluable service when you are in an unknown place for
are some other examples of not so friendly                                        the first time.
          people, but I was lucky then.                      If you are going to use the CouchSurfing in order to save mon-
         When I’ve returned home I recalled          ey while travelling, I won’t advice you to do that. I think it’s the worse
those friendly people and decided to allow           way of using such an opportunity. When you come with such a purpose
travellers to stay at my home too. I had guests      – people feel that. But if you need cultural exchange, communication
from Canada, the US, different parts of Eu-                     with foreigners – I advise it with a great pleasure.
                       rope.                                                           Natalia Marianchyk, Ukraine
   I don’t have any bad experience, but I’ve
heard that there are examples when men who              *There is a precedent in the history of CouchSurfing, when on
are travelling this way take advantage of wom-        March 5th 2009 in Leeds, UK, a man named Abdelali Nachet raped a
en*. But I think that very often such situation       woman from Hong Kong who stayed at his place through the Couch-
      depend on women’s behaviour, too.               Surfing project. Nachet was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Today
                                                      the CouchSurfing service has 99,844 percent positive member expe-
   According to the rules of this site any kind       riences.
of harassment in the address of your hosts or           More detailed information about CouchSurfing you can read on
guests are prohibited. If a person does any-                         

The story #3:
For those who like postcards
                                                                        favorite quotations and names of the
                                                                        books/music they are impressed by. Af-
                                                                        ter sending postcards, the recipients fill
                                                                        the specific application on the website
                                                                        and mention that the exact person has
                                                                        sent them a card. When the amount of
                                                                        sent postcards is equal to the amount of
                                                                        received and registered postcards, a new
                                                                        list of addresses comes to you again, the
                                                                        number of addresses increases all the
                                                                           This idea is good not only for shar-
                                                                        ing postcards, but also for those who
                                                                        like lucky chances – you can always
                                                                        start more detailed correspondence with
                                                                        the person whose postcard you enjoyed
                                                                        most. Still, you have no obligations
                                                                        except sending postcards to all the ad-
                                                                        dresses, and could only collect postcards
                                                                               that came all over the world.
                                                                           For me this service is a source is a
                                                                        kind of guaranteed surprise. On the one
                                                                        hand, I send someone such a surprise,
                                                                        on the other – I win too. For example,
                                                                        I have a bad day but unexpectedly re-
                                                                        ceive from a person of a distant country!
                                                                        I read the words written on the postcard
                                                                        and always become happier, no matter
                                                                        which picture this postcard has or which
                                                                        words are written on it. Very often peo-
                                                                        ple ask me to write something in my na-
                                                                        tive language, for example, how people
            Olga and her recent postcards all over the world            say “I love you” in Ukrainian and how
                                                                        it sounds, too. So I write a transcription

         lga likes to send and receive postcards. She means real, pa-   and I know that someone in a far country
         per-based postcards which you can collect and look through,    will say nice Ukrainian words out loud
         those which have their own post stamps, their own smell and
travel story. Also Olga knows for sure that she doesn’t have to send       Right today I’m sending postcards to
postcards only to people she is in acquaintance with because there is   the US, Germany, Russia, Poland and
a service that allows people to communicate with       Indonesia. The Christmas holidays are
                                                                        coming, so these people will receive my
people all over the world via sending them postcards.
                                                                             warmest greetings from Ukraine.
  The idea of this service is simple. You create an account,
write detailed information about your preferences and hob-
                                                                                     Olga Snyadanko, Ukraine
bies, mention which kind of postcards and people you like,                Are you also keen to start sharing postcards
and then you receive 5 addresses of people who are also on               with strangers? Then find out more about
this site. This is a kind of a lottery – you never know the ad-          such a possibility on
dresses of which countries you will receive, so there are no
preferences or superstitions on this site. When you receive            
the addresses you have to write 5 postcards and send them via             and let the usual mail again work as hard
usual mail. When you choose postcards it is not a bad idea to            as in the good old times.
read more about the people who will receive them. For ex-
ample, in my profile I ask people to write on a postcard their
                                                                                          Author: Alyona Pavlenko
  Travel Journal:
   This summer Iryna Naby-
tovych has got a master’s de-
gree in Journalism. She was
supposed to get a job in some
metropolitan media, but the
girl chose a different way: she
went to Indonesia.
   Since August she has lived
in Yogyakarta, one of the main
cultural centres of the country.
   Iryna (also known online
as Stroberynka) notes down
all the interesting things
that happen to her into her
blog. You can read some
of weird and beautiful
things she saw
in the remote
world in the fol-
lowing extracts
from her travel
                                              been  interest to
                             becau  se I had, and I wanted om
               o In donesiaor a long time take a break fr
     I went tan culture f age and to
       in Asi foreign langu real life.                       iver-
                                              a nat ional unstories
       learn a                       lism in with unusual ooter
                    ,I teach jods of people el only by sc rit-
          Insteadet hundre                     v              w
                                     food, traransport; I’md Java. I
                me , taste new s of t
          sity, day                     o               roun
             every ell-ordered chand travelling ay dream of in
                 in w ng a book a I could onl
                         i             way Ukraine.
                             live the

                                                                           in colo r
                                                        In this culture skimpor- u
                                                    is the second mostligion.
                                                    tant thing afterrre in is, the
                                                     The whiter youooskis. That’s
                                                     nobler your bl yid g to get
                                                     why the girls tr hn foundation
                                                     married put lig making their
                                                      over their skinrgetting of their
                                                      faces white, and legs which
                                                      necks, hands them.
                                                       usually betray

                                             brough from home.
             I’m finishing the Starbucks Ithe best tthing you can
          There’s no grinded coffee here, ey all drink it; they
          get is the instant 3-in-1 stuff. warm or cold. People
          even order it in restau  rants,
                                                             t seen a
          seem not to have the need for caffsolublIehaven’too. It is
           coffee shop yet, and the tea is dis This happens here,
           the garbage-like stuff in of the best tea and
           on Java and Sumatra, where mo
           coffee is grown.
               ...I have found coffee only inVIPs expensive shop
            with pathos name “Plaza” for madeandIndonener.s.
            Meanwhile, all the coffee was
                                                                   TRAVEL JOURNAL

    I chose a room on the
ground floor, 4 by 5 meters,
with a high ceiling and a
window almost reaching the
floor. A Greek, who was a
batik craftsman, used to live
here,. The room used to be a
studio, so there was hardly
any furniture left. The boys
(the neighbours. - Ed.)
helped with buying a thick
mattress and two pillows.
There are no beds at all
here. They brought a bam-
boo carpet, a table and a
mockery of a cupboard.
    I was told I can do anything, paint the walls,
make or fix the furniture, paint it any colour I wish, and the boys would help
me. I decided that there’s nothing to regret about the walls, so I painted them.
It’s a bit too pink, but it’s cosy and girly now.
   The first time I’d been at the ocean, I didn’t taste it, I didn’t even touch it,
actually. It appeared to be much saltier, and much mightier, and much warmer
than the sea, even the Mediterranean or the Caribbean.
   I learned to dive under the waves. It’s impossible to describe the feeling when
a wave rolls over you with noise, bringing the sand and the shells, and you lie on
the back waiting till it lies down.
                                            There’s a gap in the wall of my
                                          water closet, just between the ceiling
                                          and the window of thick glass tiles,
                                          one may call it an airing. Sorry for
                                          the details, but imagine me getting
                                          up over the lavatory, turning to the
                                          window and seeing a huge grey and
                                          brown, red-spotted snake. It stared at
                                         me, obviously trying to enter. I started
                 screaming, and the boys came to save me. The snake appeared
to have legs and ran away before they came.
       Last week in the university where I teach English and learn Indonesian I was
      offered a job I couldn’t refuse. Since tomorrow I will be teaching Journalism in
        English eight hours a week. I make a plan of the course by myself, because
          even though the course was in the plans of study of the university for
             many years, it wasn’t held, because there was no-one to teach it. Two
                groups, sixty students, and plan maximum: to teach my students to
                    write reports, essays, articles, editorial columns, take interviews,
                       find experts. Plan minimum: to teach them to write
                            (in media style. - Ed.).

                                         For many Indonesian girls it is a question of hon-
                                      our to make out with a white man at least once. The
                                      longer she stays with him, the more experienced she
                                     is considered to be. The girl tries to stay with a white
                                     man until she’s able to move out of the country and
                                    get some other country’s citizenship. They call the
                                    white men “bule”; it was once a disrespectful name
                                    of Dutch colonizers, which became a name for all the
                                   foreigners. The girls, specialized in white men, are
                                   called “bule hunters”.

       It wasn’t the best idea to take a shower that day. Indonesian shower is a square
     bowl built into the wall. The attempt to turn the water on ended in breaking the faucet
     and a jet of water aiming for the wardrobe through the open door. Water flooded the
     apartment. I was made to wrap up with a towel and run downstairs. A girl running
     around half-naked in a Muslim country, trying to explain something in English which
     no-one understands…
       I went to sleep in another, yet identical room, listening to the cacophony of cicadas
     and muezzin. All night long I dreamt of something creeping over me. When I woke
     up I realized it wasn’t a dream. An ant colony decided to eat up the mango I left on my
     bed before I went to sleep.
                                      So you live nonchalantly for long and then once you find
                                  out that the mountain next to your house is not a moun-
                                  tain, but one of the most active volcano in the country. And
                                  that volcano is situated just 20-25 km from your house. Yog-
                                  yakarta is covered with hot volcanic ashes. Now I know how
                                   sulphur tastes, smells and feels… The city looks like after a
                                   nuclear winter. Wind gusts swirl and sway ashes around.
                                    It’s impossible to move around without a facial mask and
                                    glasses. And even those are not very helpful. People are in
                                     panic, especially foreigners. And when it comes to me… I
                                     promised my mom not to do anything stupid, and now
                                     heading to volunteer at the refugee camp.

         On Friday midday there were two earthquakes, so in Yogyakarta the lighting was
     totally disconnected. Then there was a huge eruption, people say it was the biggest for
     last 200 years (actually, who would have counted that before?) The camps of earth-
     quake victims were replaced into 20-kilometer zone, to the borders of the city. Mean-
     while, the state of emergency was proclaimed in the city. My friends informed me
     that all the bus tickets (not saying about trains) were sold for many days in ad-
     vance. The closest island is Bali. There still were some airline tickets to Bali, so I
     calmed down that I will be in a safe place in an hour and fifteen minutes of
     flight the next morning.
                                                      TRAVEL JOURNAL
                        In U
                    explore sbud (Bali) I wen
                   The Saintome tourist att t out to
                  of the mo Monkey fore ractions.
                 there firs st famous pla st was one
                was imag tly. While goin ces so I went
               animals j ining cute an g there, I
                  From the ping on liad acurious
             that they word “go” n s.
            I realized are not so cu I understood
            made an it when a nimte – actually,
           from my attempt to ste ble monkey
          to anothe ear. It jumped al an earring
         same nim r and then di from one bra
            Neighboueness. sappeared withntch
        catch a          r boys e                         he
       thing – imonkey andatrh always here. T
      tourists t t is a good bu en take away hey try to
     of greedy rying to defensiness here. T the stolen
    to their b monkeys, cla d themselves hen I saw
   there is a odies. Monke sping their be from the pack
  need to lolways hidden ys are firmly c longings clos
 tisements ok for it bette food in any b onfident that er
monkeys everywhere, r. Also there aag, you just
with rabi – they could such as ‘Do n re adver-
           es’. Such                         o
                       kind cbrieta you and intfetcease
                                    tures!          t you

                                               , I’m always being
                          st like in Indonesiaship between men.
              In India, ju o hearty friend
            amazed at way to nsidered totally gay in our country
            What would be coce early childhood here: hugging,
            is encouraged arn nd each other’s waists, holding
             putting arm  s ou
             hands.                                  ey don’t do with
                They eat  out of one plate, anhat ths on the same wall,
                                p together d pis
              women; they sleeother playfully. Also, they massage
              winking to eachunderstand the last act, though.:)
                 each other. I

                                                               Text, photos: Iryna Nabytovych

Spy                           Ch ronicles
   We are strangers in these lands. We came to
   observe… and tell others about the worst and
   the best things we have faced with in other
   countries. Find out what we, foreigners, think
              about your native land!
                                                                                 Julia Gorodyska, Ukrainian
                                                                                             ABOUT GERMANY:
I like German’s nation attitude towards health. They                                     What upset me is the
don’t spend their spare time sitting on a bench drink-                                   hardness for me as a for-
ing beer (as it often happens in Ukraine). They joggle,                                  eigner to find friends in
play Frisbee, and in winter attend gym. It is a healthy                                  Germany. The process of
nation. They have a very healthy nutrition; I can even                                   studying is very individu-
say that there is a kind of healthy food cult. And you                                   al – you attend the semi-
know, living in Germany I realized that this way of nu-                                  nars you want and not
trition provides you with a great portion of vital energy                                so often cross the same
and good mood for the whole day. Of course, there                                        people. Local students
are some people who don’t care of their health that                                      usually have friends al-
much, but those are rather exception rather than a                                       ready and are not inter-
rule. Moreover, I figured that Macdonald’s in Germany                                    ested in making friends
is for the most part for foreigners, while Germans use                                   among foreigners. Some-
them mostly as public conveniences.                                                      times it puts out a lot.

Alexander Radchenko, Ukrainian
What I can                                                  In Australia people always help each other. It turned out
hardly stand                                                to be a surprise for me when I just came here. In our
in Australia is                                             country there is a feeling that we have two groups of
the extreme                                                 people: 1) those for who are ignorant 2) those who are
heat. There                                                 angry. Here helping other people is a really common
is no winter
at all. Even in                                             thing, complete strangers can spend a lot of their time
winter you can                                              helping you. For example, when we just came to the
get sunstroke                                               city, we couldn’t find a certain place we were looking
easily. You may                                             for. So we asked a waiter from one of the cafes to show
get burned or                                               us the right direction. This guy didn’t just show the di-
even become
ill with skin                                               rection, he went out of the café and explained where to
cancer here.                                                go, when we still couldn’t understand, he draw a map
Sometimes I                                                 on a sheet of paper. Then my wife and I thought “what
miss Ukrainian                                              a kind man!”. Later we realized that most Australians
climate here.                                               behave the same way.
                                                                              SPY CHRONICLES

Bogdan Penkovskyj, Ukrainian
I was positively surprised to see the way Indian men spend their lei-
sure time. In India alcohol is not widespread, so instead of drinking
beer after work Indians go to local cafes and eat sweets.
The most popular sweet is gulab jamun, and I could say that I have
never tasted anything tastier before! This delicious ball-shaped des-
sert is made of cottage cheese, flour and sugar syrup and is flavored
with cardamom seeds and rosewater. One ball of gulab jamun costs
6 rupee (nearly 15 cents only!), so it is easy to buy it as much as you
want… or as much as your stomach allows you.

                                                                                         Thaisa Leite, Brazilian
                                                                                                   ABOUT RUSSIA:
 I hate banks and stores                                  I am studying in a medical university here, and this educa-
 here – nobody English                                    tion system seems to be better than the one we have in Bra-
 at all! I found out that                                 zil. Just compare 10-15 people in a group now to nearly two
 people here don’t like
 to speak English, they                                   hundred of group mates in Brazil. There a professor wasn’t
 just say “No”. The older                                 able to pay attention to each one of us, we had only lections,
 people are, the harder                                   while here we have seminars and practice, we can even ask
 it is to communicate                                     questions, professors remember us and the process of study-
 with them. I hope this                                   ing is thus more personal. Of course, I was surprised to find
 problem will be less
 significant when I go to                                 out that here blackboards are still being used (in Brazil we
 the capital of Russia –                                  have touch screens and projectors), but the system of edu-
 Moscow. At least there                                   cation is really good and cheap. Compare: in Brazil you have
 people should know                                       to pay for medical education $ 24000 while in Russia it costs
 English better.                                          only $4500 per year.

Olga Kurovets, Ukrainian
Swiss people know where work ends and where holiday starts.
When they work they work really hard and run like clockwork. But
if they have a rest… they are totally involved in it. When there is a
holiday – everything looks like a Brazilian Carnival show. In the end
of September there was a holiday of vineyards in the city where
I am studying (Neufchâtel). This holiday was celebrated for three
days (and nights), and in the daytime it looked very cheerful: bright
colours, sweets, children in costumes…But you know, they cele-
brated with too much wine and other alcohol. On the fourth day
the city was left in a terrible mess, dirty and puked.
Meanwhile, very soon everything was clean again and everything
ran like clockwork again. All in all I realized: yes, actually I like Swiss
distinction between work time and leisure time.

Daniel Charles, American                                                                Brigit McCarthy, American
ABOUT UKRAINE:                                                                                     ABOUT UKRAINE:
  One thing that made                                  Things I didn’t like: all the spit on the sidewalks, men blow-
  a big impression on                                  ing their nose on the street, public drinking, grumpy cashiers
  us was the huge di-                                  demanding exact change. The huge gap between the super
  vision between the                                   rich and everyone else. Corruption and the absence of rule
  rich and the poor in                                 of law.
                                                         I did like overnight train rides, the Kiev subway,
  Ukraine. We were                                     marshrutkas (the name for local buses here) (especial-             ly
  certainly rich, com-                                 how people pass money up by a human chain from                   the
  pared to most Ukrai-                                 back seats to the driver: that would NEVER happen                 in
  nians, and it made us                                the US), babushkas selling fresh fruit and vegetables on
  a little uncomfortable                               street corners (the best fruits and vegetables we’ve ever
  and embarrassed. We                                  had), and the good humor and stoicism of Ukrainians. And
  never quite got used                                 also the Ukrainian ice-cream and sweets – they are much
  to that.                                             tastier than ones in the US.

Albert Kozinin, Ukrainian
I think that Italian’s attitude towards the importance of family is some-
thing that should be adopted by all other nations. Italians take family very
seriously, carefully and tenderly. If they only have such a possibility – they
get together at table and have a dinner together. Even if everybody is
busy they still meet at the family dinner table at least once in a week, on
the weekend. This tradition really unites a family, I suppose.

                                                                                            Sofija Sagir, Ukrainian
                                                                                                      ABOUT CANADA:
                                        There are two main points that I am fond of in the Canadian society.
                                        Firstly, democracy is not a mere name in here. If Canadians don’t like
                                        something – they get together and fight against it, and finally score suc-
                                        cess! For sure, the protesters express the opinion of the whole society
                                        not all the time, but it is a good indicator that common people here have
                                        Secondly, I respect the position of volunteers in here. Many people
                                        are ready to work and help others free of charge. The volunteer activ-
                                        ity starts from cleaning the streets (or even bays – they get out tons of
                                        garbage) and ends with organizing cultural events. We often complain
                                        about our state that ignores our needs, while here people don’t wait
                                        until somebody helps them. They organize everything by themselves. I
                                        am a member of Salvation Army in Canada, and I think that it is a right
                                        thing to help someone especially if you have willingness and spare time
                                        for that.
                                                                                            Author: Alyona Pavlenko
 Blue are the hills
that are far from us
            Better job or education,
a decision to change everything in your life
or something else - there are many reasons
   to leave for another country. No matter
  where people go, most travellers face the
basic difficulties of immersion in another cul-
ture. What are these obstacles and how do
othersdeal with them? If you are planning a
 long journey for the first time - read this ar-
   ticle and know what to be prepared to.

Language                                                    Culture
   The first and the most obvious difficulty is the in-        This point is especially important for those travel-
ability to speak the local language. What will help is      lers, who arrive in a country with a totally different cul-
the command of English—you will always have a pos-          ture. When Russians come to Ukraine or, for example,
sibility to speak with young people, not only in diffi-     Canadians—to the US, they don’t see such a big dif-
cult situations, but also in everyday talk. English as an   ference in their traditions and mentality. But when you
international language will help you to feel less lonely    mix East and West, be ready for a huge gap in your
and will be your the bridge for creating new friends        understanding of local way of life. In this situation the
abroad.                                                     best decision is getting to know more about the culture
   But be prepared for the sad but true situation: very     of the country you are going to visit before actually go-
often older people are not so good in foreign languag-      ing there.
es, or even may take you negatively if you don’t speak         Basic information about customs and traditions, as
the language of the country you came to. That is why        well as attitude towards global issues (family relations,
knowing at least several phrases in native language can     religion, treating of foreigners etc.) will help you avoid
play an important role in your communication with lo-       possible stupid situations in the future. And also don’t
cals who speak only their own language.                     forget to be patient, try to take every display of local
                                                            culture as something absolutely acceptable.
Brazilian Thaisa Leite, studies in Russia
                                                            Ukrainian Albert Kozinin, lives in Italy
   I’m studying medicine in the Russian university, and
despite the fact that education is in English, there are      The main thing that I have understood living here is
some teachers whose English is very poor. So when           that you have to accept the circumstances you are in.
there is a lection, they are well-prepared even in Eng-     You have to understand new people because it is not
lish, but when I come to them with additional ques-         them who decided to interfere with your life, it is you
tions… Oh, these moments I regret that I don’t know         who came to their country instead of staying at yours.
Russian language so that we could understand each             Try not to deny everything that happens around you,
other better.                                               and then it will be easier for you to live in a new place.

                         Ukrainian Olga Kurovets, Nepalese Tejendra Thapalaya, studies in Switzerland
                         studies in Switzerland
                                                         In our country if you are invited to someone’s party
                            When I went here I knew you don’t need to bring anything with you. But here if
                         that my French wasn’t per- you come empty-handed, it would be an awkward situ-
                         fect. Now I’m progressing, ation.
                         but there has been so many      Also I don’t understand this European tradition to
                         stressful situations when I hug or kiss each other while greeting. In our culture we
                         couldn’t name elementary could just say hello or use welcoming gestures, while
                         things in the supermarket. physical contact is acceptable only between the closest
                         I had to say “Pardon?” too people. So I was embarrassed with such a tradition here
                         often, and I felt really bad and didn’t adopt it in spite some people may think that
                         then.                        I am rude. That’s the difference in cultures!
                                                               STRANGE PSYCHOLOGY

   Don’t forget about the climate differences and well in
advance prepare yourself for other temperatures. Read
more about the climate of the country you want to go
to, ask people who were there about clothes that will
be needed, and don’t try to save your dressing habits if
they are not appropriate in the place you are in. First of
all – think of your health!

Ukrainian Alexander Radchenko,
moved to Australia from Ukraine                          you couldn’t change anything, so take it as it comes.
                                                         Actually, haven’t you ever stared at some exotic ap-
  When I just came in here, I didn’t wear shorts at all pearances without being noticed?
because I didn’t like them. But in some time I realized
that all the men around me are in shorts and flip-flops Vietnamese Tran Si Bui Trung, studied in Ukraine for 5 years
are not because they want to show others their legs, but
because it is too hot to be in trousers and shoes there.    There were some problems when I first arrived to
Now both shorts and flip-flops are a part of my every- Ukraine. This is a European country, and people here are
day clothes, and it is really convenient.                significantly taller than we are. Firstly, I got staggered
                                                         because of that a little bit, but later I acclimatized and I
Nepalese Tejendra Thapalaya, studies in Switzerland      felt absolutely alright. The only problem left is that it is
                                                         not that easy to play football with my Ukrainian friends.
   Now I could say for sure: before going to another
country, especially for a long time, you have to know
minimum and maximum temperature there. In our
                                                             Loneliness… at the beginning
country 32°C is a normal temperature, so I absolutely          Finally, be ready to the feeling of loneliness that will
wasn’t prepared for cold winter in Switzerland. You start after first days of your arrival, when first emotions
should be aware of that, especially now, when all the connected to changing of your life fade. It is an abso-
information is so easy to get.                              lutely normal situation, which is described by many

Difference in appearance                                       You will overcome this feeling of being out of place
                                                            as soon as you start communicating with people around
   If you come to a country where people’s appearance you, start meeting interesting people and understand
is significantly different from yours, be ready that peo- the main principles of living in this exact place. Then
ple will stare at you just because you are different. In be ready for another, the most interesting period: the
the countries where there are many foreigners, people time when you will gain amazing experience of diving
are used to another nationalities, but still there are some into another culture and becoming more open-minded
countries where you could become an “artifact of the through understanding life’s rich tapestry.
day” only because you looks different. In this situation
                                                                                            Author: Alyona Pavlenko
Yes, we did it! And we did it together. You may be proud of
the first “Stranger“ - our first-born seems to be not so bad.

                          Special thanks:
                    Olga Snyadanko      Hitoshi Nakamura
                   Leonid Matveets      Alberto Ravomanana
                      Olga Kurovets     Roksolana Mashkova
                    Sergey Pavlenko     Anja
                 Mykola Kovalchuk       Iryna Nabytovych
                          Iurii Panin   Albert Kozinin
                Ninel Omelyanenko       Yanina Sedelnik
                        Olga Novak      Alexander Radchenko

                          Also big thanks:
                   Amandine Cabrio Nguyen Duc Lan Anh
                 Bogdan Penkovskyj Nicole Schmitt
                           Brett Kelly Pauline Segouin
                     Brigit McCarthy Sofija Sagir
                      Daniel Charles Svetlana Archarova
                         Fay Mencott Taras Virniy
                           Joe Dalton Tejendra Thapalaya
                     Julia Gorodyska Thaisa Leite
           Kocherzhinskaya Lyudmila Thuy Anh
                 Natalia Marianchyk Tran Si Bui Trung

           for original vintage posters “Facebook“, “Twitter“, “Skype“

                   Alyona Pavlenko, Editor
                 mmen ?
          ave co          s
D o you h or next issue
         as f             y
 ies, ide ill be so happ !
      We w             inion
             wy our op
      to kno write us:
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