How I Imagine The Past Lives Of Russians That I Meet In America

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Have you ever gotten that weird feeling of displacement when you meet a recent immigrant from another country and they are working a service level job and then you find out that they were like a scientist or doctor in their old life? They tell you that they came here to have a fresh start for their families, but find out that they have to start all over again and work their way back up?

I get those feelings all of the time and then in I can’t help but imagine what that old life was like. This is what goes through my mind when I meet recently arrived people from Russia.

I blame Hollywood.

Boris
Me: What is your name and where are you from?

Boris: My name is Boris and I am from Russia.

Me: What did you do in Russia.

Boris: I was a schoolteacher. I would teach Math, Reading, Gym, and kill people for the Bratva; Russian Mafiya. Now I drive an Uber.

Konstatin
Me: And what is your name and where are you from?

Konstatin: My name is Konstatin and I am from Russia.

Me: What did you do in Russia.

Konstatin: I was an Electrical Engineer. I would design power plants, trouble shoot computers, and kill people for the Bratva; the Russian Mafiya. Now I work in a convenience store.

Pasha
Me: And what is your name and where are you from?

Pasha: My name is Pasha and I am from Russia.

Me: What did you do in Russia.

Pasha: I was a Neurosurgeon. I would operate on brain tumors and other cerebral problems, and kill people for the Bratva; the Russian Mafiya. Now, I work as a toll booth operator.

Svetlana
Me: And what is your name and where are you from?

Svetlana: My name is Svetlana and I am from Russia.

Me: What did you do in Russia.

Svetlana: I was an Astronomer. I would help track the movement of celestial bodies, look for asteroids and other potentially harmful space debris, and kill people for the Bratva; the Russian Mafiya. Now I am lobbyist of the American Politicians.

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