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Of NFL and new friends in the making…

This weekend, I watched more NFL than on any weekend on the US. Sky Sports channels broadcast CBS/NBC/ESPN games live, with a recording repeat next day. Because the weekend was 4 days long and we have not had much to do due to everything being closed, I watched 4 games in total…

The broadcasts are a bit weird. Announcers are American – whoever is announcing on the actual US channel. But there is a UK-based studio crew, with one obviously British bloke posing as the ultimate expert, and these talking heads break into the broadcast at any opportunity, sometimes almost preempting the action on the field. Their biggest shtick is reading emails from viewers and commenting of them. Say, the game is Eagles vs Cowboys. The email would go something like “From Nigel in Ipswich, Aren’t the Ravens playing great?” and the comment would be something like “Yes, they are definitely contenders this year”. Fantastic insight! At the expense of the game at hand!! By a Brit who has no idea what he is talking about!!! I want to throw up…

For those who are disgusted with my America-centric sports viewing habits, I also managed to get Chealsea-Reading and Blackburn-Arsenal soccer games in. The commentary was quite enlightening, light years ahead of what American clowns come up with…

I am guessing somebody will now make a couch potato accusation…

The weekend ended with another summit of Popivkers and Burlaks, which прошёл в тёплой и дружественной обстановке. Even Artur no longer got scared upon hearing my voice – which was the case every time I previously visited – and got along with all of us very quickly. Little David is a cute miniature version of Sashka. Two small kids definitely keep Anya grounded, even with a help of a new young nanny. I am afraid we will only see each other if we put aside our shame of putting a dent in Popivkers’ budget and come visit them ourselves…

In the meantime, we finally started on the road of making new friends. As I have mentioned in the past, Kimmy has a classmate whose parents hail from a corner of a former Soviet Union. The girl had a birthday, and we visited their house for a celebratory dinner. While the kids were playing upstairs under Becky’s supervision, the adults imbibed wine and liquors around the table and got to know each other. Nice family, pretty cool, several common interests with us (not mentioning obvious common background) – we definitely want to explore the possibility of cultivating friendship.

I have definitely alluded already to the fact that the lack of companionship is the biggest obstacle for us to enjoy our new mode of life. We can cope with domestic inconveniences, we can learn to deal with cultural idiosyncrasies, but not having our habitual everyday contacts with close friends and relatives is the biggest – if not the only – serious deficiency of our situation. We are not looking to replace you guys in the States – shame on anyone who had that thought! But we certainly are in need of making new friends here in our current environs. Tonight was the first step in the right direction…

A vendor sent me a case of wine at the office. Christmas gift. Well, to be honest, the wine was aimed at quite a few people, but I guess I was selected as the actual recipient for being the seniormost person of the bunch. I had a seriously hard time parceling the wine out, since people whom I allowed to choose all wanted red and the case was half-red, half-white. I did manage – although only one bottle of white ended up being left for me – and possibly even scored some points with certain people who did not expect the giveaway. Oh, the joys of being a senior manager!

Becky, under tender direction by Natasha, has prepared a baked fish dish by herself. I had to inquire which large animal has expired in a nearby forest to precipitate such an occasion, but the truth of the matter is that she enjoyed doing that quite a bit. It was positively a welcome distraction from her customary vacation regimen of TV, PC and very little bedtime reading. The recipe was Natasha’s anyway, so the meal came out pretty good, too…

Kimmy, meanwhile, is quickly becoming our most well-corresponding family member. She receives letters from her friends rather frequently, and very much savors making drawings and writing replies for all of her pen-pals. As some of the letters she has to write are in Russian, and some of them are in English, it is also an agreeable practice for her penmanship (albeit, dictated by Natasha, in most instances).

We are pretty much set for our trip to Geneva for the next several days. Chances are that I will not be able to post a new entry until we return on January 2nd.

Have a very happy New Year, everyone!

Posted in Chronicles


  1. Artur

    Burlaki! It was a pleasure to catch up on your family events. Where are you celebrating the New Year? Travelling? Skiing?
    Anyways, Happy New Year!!! All the best!!! Kisses for the girls! Remember all your fans back at home are routing for you, we want things to work out for you, so keep us happy- be happy 🙂

  2. Eugene Fukshansky

    Dear Burlaki-British – zarubezhnye!

    Time to time visiting your web page but do not have time to send you some remarkable.
    Happy coming New Year and best wishes!
    From California –
    Eugene, Polina, Roma
    From NY/Texas –
    Eugenia, Lenny

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