1 August 2014

Where the hell do I come from?

I haven´t been fair with you people: confusing you geographically by mentioning 3 different cultures in the same post and discussing about Uzbekistan, Russia and Israel in the same sentence.
And since it´s been confirmed that Boris and I are going to visit my grandparents in Uzbekistan this September I have decided to finally set in place my entire geographical journey in this world.

Which mean, I will have to go all history class on you, but it´s ok, we are here to learn...

So let´s begin from where I was born:

I was born in 1991 in Tashkent, capital of Uzbekistan. For starters, a lot of those "stan" ending countries were part of the Soviet Union, which means Russian was an official language, and generally speaking- other Soviet Union citizens from countries such as Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan etc etc were mixed together.
Which is why my family spoke Russian as primary language, and the only 100% uzbek member with whom I have direct blood relations in my grandfather from my mother´s side (his name is Abd´ulla :D ). My grandmother from my mother´s side in Ukranian, btw.
Note: Uzbek people are not Arabs, nor do they look like them or speak Arabic. They speak the Uzbek language and have rather Asian facial features. The Uzbek languages sounds a lot like Turkish. Still till this day all of them know Russian and the language is used in schools and work places.

Because my family is sort of mixed, they are not religious (some distant relatives from my grandfather are Muslim but I hardly know them well) and have always lived very modern (as much as the Soviet Union allowed it ;) ).

All my mother´s family lives in Tashkent till this day, and from my father´s side I am sort of both ways Russian. But that is not as interesting because the following:

This is where I grew up since I was 6 years old:

So wait, I haven´t mentioned anything considering Jews or any relations to them in my family. That´s right, since my mother divorced my father when I was 3 years old and married my current father (the only father that I have ♥) who is a Russian and Jewish! Which is why my family immigrated to Israel when I was 6 years old and stays there ever since (my mother´s family was left in Tashkent, all my none-biological father´s relatives live in Israel).

Note: there is a ton of ex-Soviet Union immigrants in Israel, because ever since Soviet Union was no more it was a great chance for those people to leave for a better place to live in (in comparison to Russia, ever today, Israel tops it, but not in comparison to Europe though). Some cities are so"Russian" you can never get lost even if you don´t speak a word in Hebrew. 
Just like the city I grew up in, Haifa.

With that being said, in my parents house we never were very Jewish either: we celebrated the traditions and holidays only because of moving to Israel, we were never religious nor did we (even not my non-biological father) identified ourselves so "officially" as Jewish. Still as Russian people we kept Russian traditions like celebrating the New Year on December 31st (which is a BIG thing for Russian people).
This is just the tip of the iceberg of the diversity of the Israeli population. 

Fun Fact: before immigrating to Israel we lived in the suburbs of Moscow for one year (that was the place where my none-biological father worked, but I never "count" it as a place I´ve lived in). When my father told me we are going to move to Israel, the almost 6 years old me asked: "really dad, such a country exists?". Oh, the irony...

So all my school years, my friends and my life experiences I had in Israel, which is also where I´ve met Boris!

Fun Fact 2: you´ve probably guessed it, but Boris has the almost exact same story. He was born in Belarus and moved with his family to Israel when he was 7. Stories like that are typical for "Russian-Israelis".

Being fed up with the life I had in Israel (I PROMISE you a post about this!) and dreaming of living in Europe with Boris, we´ve moved to Berlin a year and a half ago :)
You see, explaining people from Germany till this part is complicated enough, because whenever I introduce myself people hear immediately that I have something to do with Eastern Europe because of my accent. But I didn´t grew up there at all (thank god) and learned to speak Hebrew as a child, which is basically like a second mother language to me. Then I mostly need to explain how Russian people came to Israel in the first place, just like I did now!

You probably have the same stories with Asian immigrants in the US, who kept their traditions despite growing up in a different place, and spoke their mother language at home.
That was the same with me. I never went to a Russian school, I learned to read a write in Russian thanks to my mother, and we have always kept speaking Russian at home (though with my younger brother who was born in Israel it has been different). I am intended to keep things this way for when I will have a child, which is pretty funny, since he will grow up in a foreign land just like I did :)

So in conclusion, here´s another "path map":

Note: I only have an Israeli citizenship, for that matter. So much for not having any European roots and having absolutely nothing to do with Europe to begin with. Can you sense the bureaucratic struggle that  had to face in Germany from these lines?
With all these I do not consider myself Uzbek, Russian nor Israeli. I am a little bit of everything and far from being a patriot or a national admirer of all these countries.

I hope this has been curious to you, since I LOVE telling this story to people because I am sort of "proud" to be a part of this cultural salad. I am also very happy to have been born in such a bizarre place like Uzbekistan, which I will introduce you a bit in a future post.

An insane song in Uzbek about little chicks, set your volume to maximum! Used to sing it when I was little :D

N. Finsternis


  1. You have such an interesting cultural background; I really enjoyed reading! I wonder where you'll move next... United States, maybe? ;)

    1. I am so happy you liked it!! I hope to get settled in Germany, I am tired of moving all my life. And I´ve dreamed of living in Europe, so I doubt the US would be an option hehe.

  2. really fascinating! must have been so interesting to live all over. I also wish I knew a million languages like you!

    1. it is interesting, i am happy to be a part of it.

  3. Thanks for sharing your history! Your story is really interesting, and totally different from how lots of other people live. I'm really jealous of your language skills, I only know English :(

    1. don´t be! everything is possible if you have the will for it :)

    2. don´t be! you can do everything as long as you have the will for it!

  4. Your story is really interesting! I have always lived in the one country (only moving cities during term time for university), so it's fascinating how you've skipped about. I can't wait to hear more about Uzbekistan!

    1. so happy you liked it!! i will definitely tell more!