the smile is very important in America and is used in greeting both friends and strangers

Prepublishing this Saturday night, over at Ksenia's, waiting for news about the blizzard...20 to 30 inches they say. That's a lot.

I helped Ksenia a bit in the kitchen. It was nice to be useful, and it really is one of those things I should've joined with Mo in doing, especially when I saw her having a grand old time when her brother joined in for a special meal but I have to say, my opinion that at least on a regular basis it's more trouble than its worth still stands...the shopping, the chopping, the cooking, the cleanup...the end results can be nice, and there's a certain visceral pleasure to it, but still...

A Few Hints About Everyday American Life
David Harris, "Entering a New Culture", from the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society.
It seemed like a pretty decent introduction to America, written for Soviet Jews, Russian on the right-hand page, English translation on the left. This is just a sampling from that section. I liked the thing about the smiles. The "Americans usually make appointments" thing struck me as a little antisocial. Maybe we SHOULD all be like on sitcoms, just dropping in. On the other hand, who wants people dropping in if you're doing something embarassing?

I was also struck by the left-handed issue. After I read about the "special stores", I further surprised Ksenia by pointing out that there could be special left-handed scissors...she had me try that thing where you clasp your fingers, and the thumb that ends up on top is supposedly the thumb of your dominant hand, but it doesn't work for feels much more natural with my left thumb on top. (Like a lot of kids, I was ambidextrous for a while.) Try out that finger clasping thing and let me know on the comments section if it works for you or not....