Do you feel the weight of the world?

If you wake up every morning with existential dread about the state of the world and carry that around with you all day, every day, this newsletter is for you. If you are a happy person who generally thinks anything is possible and things are going swimmingly, you probably won’t enjoy my ramblings.

I was born in 1976 in Toronto to a Canadian mother and Yugoslav father. In the early 1980s, we moved to Scottsdale, Arizona, where I grew up, attending public school and spending most of my free time in the swimming pool. I graduated in 1998 from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, where I majored in International Economics and learned to speak Russian. After a year on Wall St as an investment banking analyst, in 1999, I quit my job and bought a one-way ticket to Moscow. I arrived with two suitcases and the fearlessness of a 23 year old.

I stayed in Russia for nearly eight years, working in a variety of roles, from investment banking to investor relations and oil and gas. I also did an extremely brief stint in Belgrade, Serbia, before quickly realizing that my heart was in Russia. I also did a brief stint (see a pattern?) at Harvard Business School’s MBA program, which also was, as they say in corporate America, “not a great fit for me”.

In 2008 I marred an Austrian. We lived for many years in London, and have been in Vienna, Austria since 2013. I am a stay-at-home-mom (god I despise that term but it’s the truth) to three kids aged 15, 13, and 11. I do a teeny tiny bit of freelance translation from Russian to English and editing of English texts written by non-native speakers, but really, I haven’t had a proper corporate job since 2008 and my resume is now not even worth the paper it’s written on.

A few years ago, I started actually tweeting, after having lurked on Twitter for years, using the platform to follow journalists whose work I admired. I have built up a little following of people interested in reading my hot takes on Austria’s collision course in English, as well as a bit of covid and Russia and whatever else is on my mind that day.

So what will my newsletter be about? Current events, politics, economics, our response to the covid pandemic, education, the rise of authoritarianism and the dying days of democracy as we know it. I promise to try and keep it readable and not too long and most importantly, honest, to the truth, to myself and to you, the reader.

How often will you publish?

As a middle-aged mom of three recently self-diagnosed as having ADHD (thank you TikTok), I need structure. My goal will be to write for one hour every morning once I get the rest of my family out the door. Until now, I have been pretty active on Twitter, sharing interesting stories from the regions I’m watching, and on the topics I’m most interested in at this inflection point in our world’s development. I can’t even bring myself to call it progress because in many ways it feels like we are moving backwards, sometimes awfully quickly. Initially, I will aim to publish every morning M-F, sharing the most interesting stories, tweets, and the occasional TikTok that I think are relevant to understanding this moment we find ourselves in. Perhaps on weekends I’ll try to take a step back from the day to day and write on specific topics that I’m carrying around with me. It may get personal at times. I am a feeler, a highly emotional person who can’t always be like teflon. I can only promise honesty and an openness for constructive criticism and dialogue.

Update (March 15, 2022): I have been asked by some of my readers to add a paid subscription model. I have just done so, but it is entirely optional, as I feel really strongly about wanting the content I create to remain free of charge. If you can afford to make a contribution it is much appreciated but not necessary. My goal in all of this is to share information, and I hate paywalls as much as the next person. I would like to think about this adjustment as ‘please feel free to give if you can afford it but not at all required’. The more readers, the merrier. I will never limit access. Thank you in advance!

Update 2 (May 2, 2022): I have been asked to add a link to support the project currently underway of donating €50 supermarket gift cards to Ukrainian families in need in Austria.

If you live in Austria, the best way to help is to contact me directly (here or on Twitter) to send / hand me €50 physical gift cards from Hofer/Billa/Spar/Lidl/Penny etc.

If you are outside of Austria, I have created a PayPal donation link.

I am distributing €50 supermarket gift cards (mostly Hofer because it’s cheaper and the Ukrainians prefer it), one per family in need, and also €10 McDonalds cards when I help translate at the Wien Hauptbahnhof (train station) ÖBB railway ticket counters.


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Regular commentary on current events and my volunteer work in Austria with Cards for Ukraine. Twitter @tanjamaier17


Russian-speaking Arizonan in Wien. Maiden name ends in -ić. Canada born. Mom of 3. Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, US, Austria, Balkans. Twitter/Instagram @tanjamaier17