Crawling caterpillars season

Since I can remember, I never really liked insects.

I can’t pinpoint a specific moment that might have triggered my disgust or this borderline phobia-like fear of things like spiders, cockroaches, centipedes and other similar creatures.

But watching “The Mummy” (1999) at the ripe age of 8 might have had an effect. Especially that scene where the black beetle attacks a character, gets under his skin and crawls around… Yeah that might have contributed to this irrational fear. Here is the scene if you really want to watch the moment I’m referencing.

Chronicling adaptation

A large part of why I wanted to start Sasha Scribes is to chronicle the process of how one person adapts to a new environment. It’s a topic that has always intrigued me as someone who had to fly across the ocean and adapt to a new culture and language as a teenager.

When I was 13, I immigrated from Moscow, where I was born, to the United States. My parents divorced when I started grade school, and my dad, who is a software engineer, became in high demand during the dot-com bubble of the late 1990s.…

Learning, writing at Stanford

For those of you who don’t know me personally, I wanted to take the time to share what led me to the San Francisco Bay Area. This means telling you about my job.

I have the privilege of spending my 9-to-5 hours during the week at Stanford University, where I work as a writer in the Office of University Communications.

Working at any university is enlightening. But working at a university like Stanford is like sitting in the front row of a parade of revolutionary, transformative changes.

And I don’t just get to watch.…

Enjoying abundance of Asian food

The diversity of Asian cuisine in the San Francisco Bay Area has made a big impression on me so far.

I heard from people who’ve lived in the Bay about how awesome the food is here, but, to be honest, I kept my expectations low. I did, after all, have been spoiled by living for five years in Chicago, which is considered to have one of the best foodie scenes in the country.

But once I got to Mountain View, I immediately took notice that I had not one, not two, but three different Pho places to choose from in the 1.5-mile radius of where I live.

Rain brings warmth to Bay Area

The weather in the Bay area is just plain weird. I’ve never lived in a place where microclimates are a thing.

There is San Francisco, the Peninsula, South Bay and East Bay. And each one of these areas has a slightly different climate. It is wild and cool.

When I first visited the Bay last summer, I only brought shorts and sundresses (As a former Chicagoan, I learned to appreciate every potential ray of sunshine). That attire was just dandy for Mountain View. But my ignorance of the local weather patterns backfired when one of the evenings I decided to drive up to the city to meet a friend for dinner and a short hike.

Carving out time for San Francisco

Moving and entering a new environment always comes with its drawbacks, even when you move to somewhere almost entirely objectively awesome like California.

I’ve lived in Chicago for about five years before moving to the Bay Area about four months ago. Right now it’s February – the coldest time of the year in the Midwest. So I am thankful I’m in a warmer climate, away from the bone-chilling polar vorteces and snowamageddons.

But I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss some things about living in Chi-Town.

I think most of the time the world is divided into people who love big cities and those who hate them.

Stargazing in tranquil parts of Bay Area

Stars, moon, comets. Whenever I look up and gaze at the sky, I’m humbled by the vastness of the universe. I love that feeling of insignificance you get when you look up.

Although for some, thinking of our planet as a tiny, meaningless glimpse in the abyss of, well, mostly nothing (or as some also call it dark matter), may be depressing, I’m a sucker for it.

I just love it when the universe puts me in my place.

“Stop worrying about your stupid problems, Alex,” the sky whispers lovingly when I look up after an overwhelming day.…

Flatland resident relishes in hiking

One of the most exciting things for me about living in the Bay Area are the endless mountains and hills.

I’m new to uneven horizons. I’ve always lived in areas where the land is flat no matter which way you look: Moscow, South Florida and then Chicago.

During some early mornings in South Florida, clouds would float very close to the ground, and the sun would hit them in a way that created an illusion of rugged mountains somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

I remember being fooled by that illusion on occasion as I looked out of the window of my high school’s bus, still trying to wake up.