I was speaking yesterday to a Russian woman who was ecstatic, having just been sworn in as a U.S. citizen in the morning. It had not been an easy process. Her fingerprints were lost by the FBI years ago, and she was subjected to some bureaucratic snafus that, in many other countries, are more indicative of malevolence than incompetence (as is usually the case here).
The woman admitted that at times she was pessimistic about ever having a passport to travel with. She feared she'd never again see her son, who remains in Latvia. Being a pessimist is not such a bad thing, she told me.
"You know what a pessimist is?" she said with an accent as rich as the pastry she'd given me to eat. "An informed optimist."