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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The nerves of speaking in Russian and more--

Yes, this is called "parallel" parking!!!
-pictures added just to get you through the long post!!

Have you ever learned a foreign language because of necessity? Well, just to help you understand the nerves that are activated when I have to speak Russian--here's a story for you.

Our landlord, who has been very professional--nice, helpful had to be called about our precious washing machine. We appreciate the gift of one. Unfortunately, after the first couple of uses, it started to leak. Well, if you know my hubby, it won't be a surprise to you that he tried his hand at fixing it. Usually, John fixes it and we have no issues after. Well, this time, I think, we realized that used machines have bigger issues than duct tape and great Aggie engineers can work with. So, there was one time when I started the machine and water just came pouring out of the bottom. Yikes!! Other times, it would leak over time-while my clothes were being washed, then it got to the point where the leak was small, but it wouldn't wet the clothes, nor did the timer work to go to the next part of the program. Bigger issues. I did finally just wash my clothes by hand, and rinse and spin them with the machine...it works for me for now. On to the reason for my post.
Check out the hair do!!


So, John thankfully did the calling--it makes us both nervous to call. It's one think to talk in person to someone in Russian--you can always go back to charades, but on the phone, you have nothing to help!!! Well, John talked to him and he was to come today(at least that's what we understood--but the time??? didn't get the number!--Gotta work on our numbers!!). We had a couple of postal slips for him and a bill, but we thought he would get our rent, figure something out for the dryer and then leave.

Another detail, Tuesdays are one of the three days that John has school---so, I have to be here--alone to meet our landlord--did I mention I had to be here for the machine guys to deliver it back when--alone!!! YIKES! That means I have to communicate with my Russian! First of all, I have had little Russian class!!! But, I do love languages, so it's fun in some ways, but I am timid and get my words and Spanish and Russian all jumbled up in my head when I am trying to communicate!
Check out the parking skills!!!

Yuk! So, our landlord comes--we'll name him Mr. P. He arrives nicely dressed, asks for the postal slips in Russian...I get them(thankfully, I had just learned that word from John talking to Mr. P yesterday). Then, he tries to make conversation...so I try to converse with him. HA!! He asks --how is the place? I tell him--the apartment is great...but the washing machine has a bit of a problem. He asks...how??? Now, I have to do my charades!!! But, we understand each other except there is no resolution and I don't have my brain together to ask what will we do? Plus, I kind of feel like---isn't this our responsibility?? He was so nice in getting us the machine...we can just work it out...So, still, I am guessing that he will do something about it, but don't know for sure.

Then, I tell him that I have the rent money, but he had never asked about it...then he asks for the contract. YIKES!! Where is it??? He wants to record the money change there. Oh yeah, I remember, our friend has it b/c she translated it into English for us!! So, I am assuming he wants to sign something to show that he got the money...so I put the date (Russian style--day/month/year) and say--maybe and point to the paper. He gets it and signs the amount and his name...puts his shoes on and says--Bye--in English. and Bye in Russian... Because you know sometimes one language does cut it--b/c it's not your own...you really didn't feel the closure!!

My nerves are so jumpy at this point; I thought it would be a great opportunity to post this experience so maybe my readers have a better understanding of our life with the language!! I have never appreciated the ability to speak the same language...ever until this past year here in Russia. When we were in the states, I even asked people things in random places--just because I could speak their language!!! What a trip!!

All this, and during this saga...John is calling me about the van(really, does God want us not to drive it today!!???). It's alarm is not working--as in--it won't unlock the van, so John manually unlocks it, then tries to start it and the alarm goes blarring!!! So, John tries everything and leaves it where he parked it and starts to head home, then off to school. After school, he tries it again and no such luck. Still going off...tried everything...called our friends in Finland that own the van and nothing works--even replaced the battery on the hand alarm. So, still it waits for us or maybe just God--to unlock the van in order to drive it. When this stuff happens, you must ask yourself, does God see something that would happen if we had use of the van today? Well, in all things, we trust and pray!

Poor John!!! Stuck without the van, he is now on his way to the girls' school to pick them up by tram. I am sooo grateful for the transportation here that is set up for those without a car! I think John may have walked or burned off any extra summer weight just today!! What a day---just so that you can feel the pain! No really, it's not painful, just a bit tiring for John for sure to have all this to deal with and appointments to meet. Well, one appt. went out the window today--we were helping our old student move...no such luck without the van. Providence? Who knows?

3 comments:

Elizabeth said...

Sounds like progress to me!

I almost miss the chaos. Everything seems to slow and predictable here! I'm ready to take on the challenge of the city again.

Sandy at God Speaks Today said...

Hi Karen!!! I just want to thank you for visiting my blog and leaving such encouraging comments...all the way from Russia. It always humbles me when I see God draw people from all over the world to mhy little corner of the Blog-o-sphere.

Love,
Sandy

perrinministries said...

My dearest Karen,
Funny story about the blaring car alarm! It's also funny to hear your exploits in the Russian language. Many people don't understand that when you go to a foreign land, even if you are fairly intelligent, that you become instantly illiterate.

It is also amazing how we can communicate without words. I once had a 2-hour taxi ride in Romania with two people. I didn't speak Romanian or French but somehow we communicated lots of things!

Someday we will meet up with you all!

BTW-We're planting a church in Freiburg...good times, good times!