The cold war ended when I was still in school. I was mostly oblivious. I watched the wall crumble, but at that moment, I didn’t understand the importance.
Over a decade later, I moved to Moldova as a Peace Corps volunteer. I was partnered with people, generally woman, who has been much older than I at the time the wall came down. People who grew to be my friends. This story is mostly about Ana (see picture of us above).
Ana was my teaching partner. She was a chemistry teacher and I was to help her learn to teach health education. We battled. We worked together. We cursed each other. We became close. We talked. We talked about how she was apprehensive when I came… what would this American be like. I was her first American friend.
One conversation we loved to discuss was propaganda. I may not have been old enough to analyze the changes going on in the world when the wall fell, but I was old enough to absorb propaganda. I remember being told that the soviet machine churned out propaganda. I had the feeling that in “the world of the free” we didn’t do propaganda. HA!
We would compare stories and for the most part the propaganda was the same on both sides… only focused in the other direction. Peace Corps helped me question what I had learned. It helped Ana question what she had learned. As friends, we unlearned together.
What makes me think of this now?
Recently, I started watching Winnie the Pooh. As a child, I loved the cartoon and the book. My own copy of the book is tattered and probably a hand-me-down from my sister. I was thinking, that to a young me, I probably thought that the other side of the cold war didn’t have Winnie the Pooh. I am sure I thought it was sad. Or, at least, I would have, if I had thought about it at all.
Again, I was wrong. Recently, I started watching Winnie the Pooh– only this time, in Russian. Here are both versions for you to compare. Both different, but equally charming and enchanting.