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Friday, April 27, 2012

Lessons From A Train

X as in Xenophobe

One of my favorite stories I like to tell from my time in Russia has to do with waiting for a train.  I used to travel from the city I lived in to a neighboring city twice a month.  I would leave by train at about 5:00 A.M. while it was still dark and get back into my town by about 8 P.M. 

One morning I was waiting in line to board the train.  It was January and about 20 below outside.  I lived in an area that had large populations of Russians of Korean descent as well as Chinese peddlers.  Both types of people were often looked down on by the "white" Russians.

On this particular morning, there was an Asian man in front of me who the train official   was haggling with for not having the proper documentation.  While I couldn't fully hear or understand their conversation it was clear by their manner the Asian man was not being treated with respect.  A second train official started getting into the act and then noticed me waiting and said
something like don't  worry about that foreigner go help that man he is one of ours.  By ours I was pretty sure she meant Russian because I was certainly dressed like one and as long as I didn't talk I sounded like one.  I got on the train.

Dictionary.com defines xenophobe as a person who fears or hates foreigners, strange customs, etc.  It always struck me funny that the Asian man was possibly a Russian citizen and at least no less of a citizen than myself , but it was I who was treated as the citizen because I looked the same.


  1. Forget the letter X, I'm just amazed that you are a home school dad! Stopping by from the A-Z challenge. I'm your newest follower :)

  2. trekking your blog!!! thanks for the info! i never thought there is some kind of fear that hates foreigners and strange customs!



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