Sunday, July 17, 2016

Shoes-Off Sign for my New Apartment

I bought this off Amazon and put it up on the front door of my new flat. It had some handy self-adhesive strips. I think having the sign in German comes across as a little less officious, plus I am very much an Europhile.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Russian Orthodox Churches in Thailand

Russian Orthodox Church in Bangkok, Thailand

Russian expatriates have colonized parts of Thailand in the same way that British expatriates have colonized parts of Spain and southern France. I suspect they are probably as badly behaved as Britons abroad.

The Russian Orthodox churches in Thailand, ministering to the large Russian expatriate community, seems to have adopted the local practice of removing shoes in their churches, as you would in temples or other public buildings in Thailand. This is a very interesting example of cross-cultural mixing. While the Thai custom of removing shoes in homes is nothing new for Russians, removing shoes in churches is not part of the Russian Orthodox tradition. I have also seen photographs with men wearing shorts in the Orthodox Churches in Thailand, which you should definitely not do in an Orthodox Church in Russia or anywhere else. This is a fascinating example of cultural adaptation in Eastern Orthodoxy.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

The Ceausescu's had a shoe-free home

The New York Times: At Ceausescu’s Villa, Focus Is on D├ęcor, Not Dictatorship

Our guide, Andrei Stancu, a slender and bookish man in his mid 20s, told us that the Ceausescus, both born into peasant families, always took off their shoes at the door to preserve the carpets.

They might have kept Romania under a brutal dictatorship, but at least they kept their carpets clean.

I've suggested before that the dominance of the shoes-off custom in Eastern Europe has at least something to do with Communism. It's not a custom that fits in with the western bourgeois ideal.

If Communism had not triumphed and the old regimes, like the Habsburg empire or the Kingdom of Romania survived, would middle-class people in Eastern Europe be following the more western practice of wearing shoes in homes? It's hard to say. Austria escaped Communism, yet people generally remove their shoes there. Though this may reflect the egalitarian tendencies of modern Europe.

Any thoughts?

Thursday, July 07, 2016

My New Apartment

The hallway, my sister's sneakers next to my flip flops.

Living room

The kitchen. It's got a lot of cupboards.

Monday, July 04, 2016

New Home

I got the keys to the new apartment I've purchased today. I hope I manage to keep it a bit cleaner than I've kept the place I've been renting.

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Expert Home Tips: 21 clever ways to reduce the dust in your home

Expert Home Tips: 21 clever ways to reduce the dust in your home

As soon as people get in your home, ask them to take off their shoes. Any dirt on the bottom of their footwear that gets trodden into the house will eventually turn into dust when it dries.