The first time I entered an American food market at the age of seventeen, I froze.
Older Soviets who visited American stores for the first time, got hit harder — all the lies they were taught from childhood through the decades of their lives — until that last moment, they expected them to be at least partially true.
Sure, they heard stories from overseas, but come on, those were just the Potemkin villages, mirages created to make the Soviets jealous. How can one imagine the unimaginable?
"They told us in Odessa, that in San Francisco it’s hard to find milk."
This is the typical Soviet mentality, and they were used to it, and they bought into it, and then they entered that American supermarket and saw the rows upon rows of milk of different brands and kinds and fat percentages.
This is where some have been known to cry. It is the realization that their lives were stolen from them by the regime. A realization of what could’ve been, if they had been lucky enough to be born in this place which, from everything they knew, could not possibly exist.
I now live in Northern California, in the heart of the Bay Area, thousands of miles away from my homeland.
And yet the poison of Soviet propaganda seeps through college dorms just as it did in Soviet classrooms.
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