Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Russian Hospitality...

Never have I been so well taken care of, or at least by so many different people. Although Americans can be quite hospitable, we're not known for it. In fact, I've been asked by many people if Russians, moving to or visiting the States, would be well taken care of by Americans. This question makes me think. Yes, we would be kind to them and offer them help at times, but at the same time we are (or think we are) so busy that we might overlook helping them just because we feel pressed for time. However, this is not the case here. Many people are worried about my well-being, not just Lucy or Galina, but practically everyone I meet here. They want to make sure I'm eating enough, which I am, and that I feel comfortable here. Everyone feels that they are somewhat responsible for me, while I'm here. Lucy, for example, goes out of her way to make sure that I'm okay. Yesterday, she went with me to the market, because I asked her to, but she ended up making me buy more food then I wanted or felt I needed. I only wanted her to help me get some lunch meat, because you have to speak with someone to get it, and instead she picked out quite a bit of groceries for me. I tried to tell her that I didn't need all that, but she wouldn't listen to me. Lucy is so funny because she is always asking my opinion on something, but then overwriting me when it comes time to make the decision. However, I didn't plan to speak about her so much in this post, but she is really a wonderful, intelligent, and very interesting person. I wanted to speak about a young woman I meet yesterday, Alina. Alina is about 20 years old and actually just returned from living in Kentucky for about 10 months. She was there studying English at a University, so she knows what its like to be in a new country. Not only does she understand how hard, at times, it can be for me to be here, but she also understands the American way of life. When I say or do something that many be seen as "American," which Lucy and Kristin are quick to point out, Alina understands. Yesterday, when we first meet, she said "what's up?" instead of "hello, how are you?" Do you have any idea how floored I was by that statement. No one, especially a Russian, has said "What's up?" to me before. Kristin and her friends do, but no Russian has until now. It was also really nice because I could speak slang with her and she understood practically everything, and she could speak slang back. Now this isn't a huge thing, but it was comforting to hear "that's bull" or "you want to hang?" coming out of a Russian's mouth. Not only is it her vocabulary, but its also how kind and understanding she is. She wants to help me get adjusted to Rostov, and not because she wants to marry me but because she knows how hard it can be to adjust some times. Living in America, she had her good and bad days, and so she knows that having someone you can call to help you is a big relief. I'm also excited because her whole family wants to help me, and they want to show me different parts of Russia. She said that they wouldn't be a "host family," but just a family who wanted to help and make me feel like Rostov was my home. With this many kind people helping me, both Russian and Norwegian, I'm sure that the next six months will go smoothly...

1 Comments:

At 9:42 AM, Blogger Riekena said...

That's awesome...I wish somebody would give me a hand now and then. Although, I shouldn't complain because Pittsburghers seem to be a little more friendly than some of the other places I have been, but still. Oh well. Good to hear that the benefits of teaching are finally kicking in (with force). Keep us posted.

 

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