I love Russia.
Let me clarify. I love Russian culture, provided it is from the 19th/early 20th century.
Ok, that probably sounds a bit prejudiced, and I don't mean it that way. I'm sure that there has been much to shout about from Russia in other years. I'm sure music from the cold war, or from the breakup of the USSR, or from the turn of the 21st century are all very intriguing. And I'm sure literature from Russia has had wonderful turns and twists and great examples of genius from other eras.
But my heart belongs to the Russia of the 1800's. Give me some Tolstoy and some Dostoevsky. Let me be moved by the compositions of Tchaikovsky. I'll gladly eat some borscht and wax eloquent on the destiny of poor little Anastasia, and the annihilation of the Tsars. And I'll even shed some tears for Prokofiev, as his body had to wait for the funeral of Stalin before he could be justly laid to rest.
I find it ironic that Russia and the US were at odds for the majority of my childhood, yet in my reading room or on my iPod, Chekhov mingled with Twain, and Rachmaninoff and Gershwin were partners. When I watched Bond films, I felt a strange connection with the bad guys. I secretly hoped the snooty Brit would get his comeuppance from one of the spies.
If fact, I had a hard time believing Russia cheated at basketball. Maybe they were just being creative in their rules. (If you don't get that reference, read this.)
What about you? Is there any culture outside of your own that you feel a strong connection with?