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From Borsch to Burgers: A Cross-Cultural Memoir

4.70  ·  Rating details ·  27 ratings  ·  15 reviews
This singular memoir from one of Ukraine's new literary lights tracks her journey from a little girl toiling in the potato fields of the Soviet Union to the shiny but sometimes foreign new world of America. Ruslana's From Borsch to Burgers elegantly and humorously captures her gleeful yet puzzling journey through new foods, customs, language, and love. Her message of cross ...more
Paperback, 234 pages
Published August 5th 2019 by Independently Published
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Tim
Oct 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Ruslana chronicles her experience of growing up in Ukraine and moving to the US with humor and an authentic love of languages, cultures, and people. An immigrant story told in an unfortunate era of American history when we seem to have forgotten that we are an immigrant people. This book may also introduce some readers to a country with a rich culture and history that continues to live in the uncomfortable shadow of Russia.
Michelle Reale
Sep 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Different cultures have always interested me as well as immigrant experiences. But rarely have I ever gotten such an up close view inside the head, heart, language and world of an immigrant to the United States and all that it entails. First of all, this is a memoir of Ruslana Westerlund's life in Ukraine, her relationship with words and language and her adventure in navigating American culture----and is done so brilliantly. It is by turns poignant, humorous, wrenching and triumphant as she lear ...more
Carolyn Schott
Mar 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book on so many different levels.

As a traveler who loves to explore other cultures, I enjoyed getting a fresh glimpse of my own American culture through the eyes of someone seeing it for the first time. And although I think I’m fairly culturally astute, I gained new insights about how some of my Americanisms may come across in other cultures.

As an amateur history buff (and family historian), I loved Ruslana’s desire to write down her stories and memories. In doing that, she gives al
...more
Katrina Radolph
Sep 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Best cross cultural memoir ever!
I really enjoyed From Borsch to Burgers. I connected with this memoir on so many levels. After living in Ukraine for several years, this book brings clarity to some of my own experiences. It is down-to-earth, humorous, and well-written. It points out cultural differences, as well as similarities. I love how the author integrates her experiences, as well as the experiences of friends and family. It gives all perspectives. I am so happy to have found this book and
...more
Olga Malin
Apr 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Genuine and candid, this story will take you on a journey filled with rich cultural overtones and linguistic intricacies put in simple and relatable words. It will bring tears to your eyes and put smiles on your face; it will warm your heart and give you food for thought. The author draws the line between her personal life experiences and generally accepted practices, as well as helps the reader manouver through common stereotypes and labels associated with cultural identity.
Kerri Whipple
Sep 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Ruslana is a great storyteller who brings the reader right into the immigrant experience. Her style infuses humor and wit into the stories of her youth. Once I picked it up I couldn’t put it down. This is one that I will read again - this time more slowly to be sure I’m taking it all in!
Sharon Besser
Jan 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
From Borsch to Burgers does everything a memoir should do- teach, entertain, and most importantly get us to reflect on our lives. Ruslana’s storytelling is masterful, full of rich details that alternate between the delightful and the horrifying, all of which we learn was her reality of growing up in Ukraine in the shadow of the Soviet Union. Like many who grew up in the United States, I had no concept of what it is like to live under a Communist Regime and found this fascinating. While I found m ...more
Nadia Meyer
Dec 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a great read!

Living in the U.S. for almost 20 years, I’d say I’m pretty Americanized, yet I can still identify the cultural differences between me and my American family and friends. Ruslana’s book made me look at this from a different angle - I don’t have to be only the one or the other - either Russian or American. I can be both.

“From Borsch to Burgers” is a story about how to fit in, and at the same time how to remain unique and carry a piece of your own culture with you. Even though ou
...more
Suzy Khoury
Must read. Living in different cultures and finding identity is the life story of Ruslana. She invites you into her world and walks you through the journey of her childhood under the Soviet regime all the way to achieving the American dream. I used the book this semester in my Intercultural Organizational Communication class. I highly recommend it to professors, college students, and any reader who is interested in a better understanding of multiculturalism.
Mary Hoffman
Oct 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I greatly enjoyed reading this memoir from my undergrad ESL professor, Ruslana Westerlund. She taught me my first words in Ukrainian and Russian, and helped me along my journey to becoming an English Learners teacher. Today, the majority of my students' families are from former Soviet countries and Russia. Who would have guessed?!
Her book is available on Amazon. It's a great read! RuslanaWesterlund.com

In Borsch to Burgers, Ruslana takes us on a heartfelt journey through her life, from her child
...more
Motria
Nov 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
From Borsch to Burgers has something new and interesting for everyone. Mainstream Americans can learn about the immigrant experience and life in the faraway country of Ukraine. As a Ukrainian-American, I heard echoes of my father's immigrant story and I was intrigued to learn what my life might have been like had my elders not left. Ruslana assimilated into the U.S. without the safety net of a diaspora community, but with the benefit of perfect English. She has a unique take on Midwestern notion ...more
Christine Frei
Nov 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Ruslana invites us into her family and her journey with honesty, clarity and laughter. A thoughtful examination of her experiences and how those experiences have shaped her life thus far. Loved seeing the world through her lens of experience.
Richardlanguage
Oct 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
“You can’t go home again.”

Ruslana Westerlund’s memoir, From Borsch to Burgers, tells a deep story of a double immigrant. As an immigrant to the US from Ukraine in the 1990s, she vividly describes how she learned to adapt to American greetings after her arrival (no, Americans don’t want you to answer honestly when they say, “How are you?”), and continues to adapt as she learns the American pantheon of superhero movies her family watches.

Even more moving was her portrayal of a very specific momen
...more
Sherry
Sep 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved reading Ruslana Westerlund's book, From Borsch to Burgers! It is a true memoir of her journey from Ukraine to America. She writes in a truly candid style, sharing her steps to adjustment and her emotions along the way! I have personally visited her village, Buzhanka, and know her parents who live in the village. Thus, I can relate to many of the stories because I have spent time on the streets chatting with the residents! Ruslana has made a full-out decision to immerse herself in America ...more
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