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Nov 2009 Newsletter
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The RWD Newsletter
November 2009

In this edition:


Site Stats

Cultural Exchange-Part 9

Boy Meets Girl .....

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Elenas Models
Cultural Exchange
Part 9

The Demon Drink…Rumors and Truth

Ask one hundred Americans to name something Russian, and I would wager that the majority of them would list Vodka as one of the top three things associated with Russia. That’s not a bad thing, per se. It means the Americans can appreciate one of the fine cultural offerings from my homeland. The Demon Drink, as it is sometimes called, has always been a traditional subject for discussion and jokes between Russians and Americans. It is the subject of one of the long-standing stereotypes, which I am always asked about by so many. People tend to be fascinated by other cultures and the topic of drinking always bubbles to the top of the list. I can’t recall how many times I have heard, “Do Russians all really drink that much?” I answer, “Certainly! A glass of vodka every morning including women and children.” Hee hee

While for Russians the act of drinking vodka constitutes a very special ceremony; many Americans don’t even know how to drink it properly. Ordering straight vodka on the rocks, and then sipping it like gin or whisky is not what we call drinking vodka. To properly consume this fine spirit, one serves it straight in shot glasses with a pickle and black bread. Really? Yes, really.

Having announced a brief toast “Na Zdorovie!” (“To Your Health!”), one ceremoniously says “Nu…” (“So…”), takes a deep breath, tilts his head back and downs the entire shot in one defiant motion. Next, give a quick sniff to your slice of black bread and quickly eat it along with pickle.

There are many truly Russian traits of character; however, moderation is not to be found among them. The majority has an all-or-nothing affair with drinking and rounds are repeated until there is no more supply at hand. Ahhhhhhh. [Advice] It is very important to know your limits when drinking alcohol in Russia! Many Westerners are not able to keep up with those more “practiced” in consuming larger quantities of hard alcohol. Remember, not partaking of the drinking is usually accepted but I urge you to do your best to play it safe in drinking so as not to offend your hosts.

If you have any fears of public speaking, drinking in Russia will challenge you. There is one thing you should think of ahead of time…a toast. Toasts are sometimes lengthy and commonly cross nearly any subject. It is usually the host who pronounces the first toast and the guests then follow. An important bit of etiquette to remember, do not drink until the first toast has been offered. After a toast Russians usually clink their glasses together, but this is not done by someone who is drinking something non-alcoholic.

Remember, Russians are very hospitable, very proud and love to challenge, but participating in a drinking contest might be something one gives a second thought to. On a serious note, be polite, cheerful and open, but don’t feel obliged to drink if you don’t feel comfortable doing so.

Tamara von Schmidt-Pauli at RussianWomenDiscussion.comTamara von Schmidt-Pauli is a native of St. Petersburg Russia who has been visiting, and living in, the United States and Canada since 2002. She holds bachelors and masters degrees, with honors, covering teaching of language and translation and currently resides in the greater Minneapolis area. Tamara is affiliated with Prime Language Services (

Boy Meets Girl and They Fall in Love - Why the Controversy?

Everyone wants to think that they are enlightened and open minded. Everyone believes that we should bridge gaps with nations all around our global village. That is, until they hear that a friend wants to date someone from another country – then everything changes. Why?

How could something as simple as a man and woman finding each other be so maligned? If you were to tell your friends that you were going to a singles dating event in another city, there would be nothing wrong with that. But if a guy tells his family or friends that he wants to go on a singles introduction tour in another country – watch out! Here come the conformity police!

For those of us who ventured abroad to find love we have been warned that all of these women just want to take our money and get green cards. Not only are we told that these women have ill motives – our motives are brought into question as well. “What’s wrong with America?” we are asked. “You can’t find a girl in this entire country who will take you? Are you looking for something kinky?” The women overseas experience something very similar. Mothers warn their daughters of men who will love them and leave them stranded in a foreign land with no money and no way home. They are told to watch out for the slave trade and men who are looking to imprison them.

With all of that drama coming from people who haven’t dated overseas, it’s no wonder that few venture out.

But for those who do, the story of boy meets girl and they fall in love is filled with adventure and joy. It is very much like Romeo and Juliet, but with a very happy ending.

My name is Mark Davis. I went on one of those introduction dating tours to the Ukraine and met the most incredible woman in the world, Anna Astafieva. As Anna and I celebrate three years of being together, we have come to realize that, even though we come from different cultures, we are more alike than we are different. We are more in love with each passing day and our passion for life continues to grow.

I’m grateful that I did not listen to the critics. I believe that the greatest rewards in life will always go to the risk-takers. For those who have not found their soul mate here – it may be because she is waiting overseas.

We embrace the variety this world has to offer and support the efforts of those willing to bridge cultures and countries in pursuit of love.

Mark & Anna Davis
International Dating for Men, Inc.

Mark Edward Davis is the author of Mastering the Adventure of International Dating and the host of a iPod/Radio talk show. He is the co-founder of International Dating for Men, Inc. He dated on four continents before meeting and marrying Anna, a former model from Ukraine. Contact him at (888) 899-8600,

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