6 Things You Miss After Studying Abroad in the Former USSR

by Nina Wilson of Respectful and Tasteful Satire (RATS)

The cuisine. Hot dogs are a bit of a rarity in the United States—that is, for people above the age of 12! In the former USSR, hot dogs are a staple. Hot dogs for breakfast, hot dogs for lunch, hot dogs for dinner! Another plus: they’re economical, in line with those former-Soviet values! Let’s hear it for processed meat, everyone! If you’re lucky, they’ll come with a side of plain noodles, or even a block of fried cottage cheese. (Can you say “yum!?”) Don’t forget to scald your throat with a cup of piping hot tea immediately after eating. Remember: water is for quitters—and there’s no bigger historical quitter than the United Soviet Socialist Republics. We all know how that ended.

The statue of Lenin right outside your house, school, bank, mall, tattoo parlor, food poisoning-inducing shawarma stand, cemetery, etc.

The fashion. Specifically? Mullets. George Clooney had one in his E.R. days, and it made him look as hot as George Clooney! By the transitive property, mullets are really hot! In the former USSR, these mullet-sportin’ babes can be found walking around everywhere. Though the 90s were a rough period in this part of the world, it warms your heart to see the decade’s highlights (read: mullets) put on a pedestal and celebrated to such an extent. And it’s so nice that put-together young moms are now choosing mullets for their sons over other hairstyles at astonishing rates. Every time you see a 6-year-old riding a bike with his friends, you can’t help but smile in the knowledge that he will grow up to be big and strong one day. You whisper softly into the wind, “You beautiful future Adidas model, you.” And hey—if his mullet ever gets too long, there’s always the buzzcut.

Constantly mistaking all the photos you’ve taken on your iPhone for socialist realist paintings—it just happens, people.

The evil eye of the old woman who sits on a bench outside your apartment bloc—does she ever sleep, and does she have a home? Who knows, but she still definitely cursed you for letting your thoughts drift to that cute guy in your history class from last spring and away from the plight of city roads. They just don’t maintain them like they used to after a certain coup that occurred in 1991.

Watching sexy outtakes on the news of Putin’s vacations at Lake Baikal—dang, can that man wrangle a fish! He’s no Stalin, but he’ll have to do.