Monday, December 29, 2008

You live, you learn

On the one hand my weekend was successful. I ordered food, tea, and a hookah in Russian, I added more days to my metro pass in Russian, I haggled (in English and Russian), and I am continuing to become more familiar with the layout of Moscow. On the other hand . . .

I did not know enough Russian to make sure I ordered more hot water instead of more tea, so I was overcharged. I wish I would have communicated better -- next time I will try harder and just tell him isho voda (more water). I got a little frustrated because I’m pretty sure the waiter wasn’t using simple language, so I just got overwhelmed because I couldn’t understand. Some people are great – when they realize you don’t speak much, if any Russian, they start using simpler sentences and words and involve gestures to ask you the same question (like the metro pass lady who wanted to know if I wanted to put the money on the card I handed her – of course!) – but others don’t even try and walk off as frustrated as you are because of the language barrier.

Today at the souvenir market, I was too wrapped up with buying things, so I really didn’t think about what I was buying until I got home. Now I am suffering incredible buyer’s remorse, feeling like I got ripped off, and wishing that I could return things. Hopefully the feeling passes, and I become even more motivated to find proper Russian lessons! Each day is a lesson in things I need to be aware of and words/phrases I should know. Yesterday I learned the different words for strawberry and plum, but unfortunately, not until I ordered a strawberry mint hookah (not the greatest combination).

Anyway, you live you learn.


  1. A souvineer market would test most of us if we were speaking our native tougue, but you braved it in Russian! That took guts!
    Your waiter makes me think of Will Smith in Rush Hour with his famous line, "Do you understand the words coming out of my mouth?" Write him off as a jerk and remember instead the metro lady. Perhaps tomorrow you can be the metro lady for your students.

  2. Food Celebrities walk through some of the isles on cooking shows and I often wonder how much they spend and what expectly did they pass up on the isles. I cant imagine buying something and thinking it was on price and really it was another. Matt bought eye drops in
    France and when he got an infection the doctor in the ER told him it was for the ear not eye. It took in 2 months to get over that error.

  3. I love your descriptions! It makes it seem like I've been there!

  4. Its hard to find cafe with free extra hot water.
    And you were overcharged because you are foreighner.
    Most russian think aliens have a much more money, so its a chance to gain more from it :)