Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Although I realize I am not going to develop a level of "fluency" in the Russian language, I am determined to achieve at the very least, a basic knowledge of the native tongue our new children speak. I want to be able to tell them I love them and use my favorite terms of endearments (darling, sweetie...) in the language they understand . I am keenly aware that as much as we try to create a comfortable physical environment for these little ones they will experience culture shock at a level that we can only imagine. So I am hitting it hard now for the next few months as we await our SDA appointment. CD's in the car, books, internet tutorials, phoenetic guides of familiar phrases that other adoptive parents have sent us, and most recently, my lovely Russian tutor Naira. Naira and I meet on Sunday afternoons at the Russian Orthodox church and I get to practice all of those wonderful sounds that you need a Russian to show you over and over and over again. This past week when I called Naira the day before my lesson to confirm our usual time. I had decided I was going to try and impress her with a new greeting I had not yet used with her and I was confident of my ability. God decided to have a hearty laugh and I have to admit, He got me good. "Hello" , the woman on the other end greeted me. I was certain it was Naira (although her elderly mother who does not speak English fluently but is a retired professor of Russian lives with her) so I proceeded, ['dohbry 'dzen]/ "good afternoon", the trilled r sounded so lovely rolling off my tongue that the woman on the other line returned an equal greeting and proceeded with a few more phrases of Russian. Ooops, it was not Naira, I realized after I tried to explain why I was calling and gave Naira's MOTHER my name, she handed the phone to Naira's husband, a southern born gentleman. The next day Naira and I had a good laugh and she reassured me that I was doing a great job. O.K. I confess my enthusiasm may be a little large for my lack of experience, but please give me an A for effort. Needless to say, the next phrase I need to master is ['Ya ne pani 'mayu] "I don't understand"! (Smile)



DoveFamily said...

It is very challenging, trying to learn the language! One of the first phrases I learned was (ya ne pani mayoo). I find that I'm better at saying many of the words than I am at understanding someone else saying them. I guess it will come with time!
You guys continue to be in my prayers!

earthartsays® said...

Thank you (Спасибо) for sharing such interesting story.

God bless you.

Jane said...

If you go to the adoption.com website in the Russia adoption section, there are documents with russian/english phrases for older children. We used them when we were in Ukraine and they were indispensable. If you can't find them, I can email them to you. Of course, they won't help you if you are in a region where they speak Ukrainian predominantly, but we were lucky to be near the Russian border where they spoke Russian.