I go to nail shop almost weekly that is operated by 3 women who immigrated here from the Ukraine. I felt so lucky when I stumbled into this place about three years ago. It's my little bit of Europe every week. And we've had wonderful conversations about food, language, all kinds of things relating to Central Europe. They have patiently listened to my stories about Poland, and enthusiatically gave me great advice in advance of my 2007 trip to the Ukraine. They also attract a clientele that speaks Russian, and have roots in Central and Eastern Europe.
However, today was amazing. One customer started out saying, "What do you think about what is happening in Georgia?" (Now please, she meant the country, not the state.) And the conversation was off to the races. I'm betting it was the only place in St.Paul that had a stimulating debate about Russia's actions and motives in this situation, how the United States is viewed in that part of the world and questions and ideas in between. I'm certain no one expects this kind of dialogue to be in a nail shop, and I'm struck somewhat speechless by the fact that it was undoubtedly a more comprehensive discussion of the situation than will be occuring about 3 miles down the street at the RNC convention!