Sunday, May 20, 2012

Lost in translation

Russia day is coming up in Luke's class.  For Emma's class, I cooked some Guatemalan food for the kids to try.  I want to be able to offer the kids in Luke's class a taste of Russia as well.  So I was thrilled when my google-searching landed me on a Russian Grocery Store just an hour from here!

So I got the address, printed out a map (we still don't have a GPS, we are too old for technology around here!  ha ha!) and we headed to the store this afternoon.

I am proud to say we only got lost once - okay, twice! - but we found it.  Luke was very excited.  I was too.  We walk in and - well - it is as big as my living room. Maybe as big as my living room and dining room put together. 

There isn't much.  Not sure what I was expecting, but....  there isn't much.  Lots of bulk candy along the wall and some crackers and cookies.  Cans of stuff that I don't know what it is.  A small fridge or freezer with stuff in there but I don't know what that is either.  Not surprisingly, everything is in Russian.  We are the only ones in the store besides an old man sitting behind the counter.  I notice he is watching Russian TV.  And has a Russian magazine in front of him. 

I ask him, "Are you Russian?"  He says, "Yes."  I start my dissertation:  "My son was born in Russia, we adopted him from there.  I am doing a presentation in his school this week and I was wondering if you could give me any advice on what I could talk to the children about?"

Dead silence.  He looks at me with that Russian look.  Sorry to stereotype here, but we saw that look a LOT while we were in Russia.  Not really the "you dumb American" look, not a scowl, but not a smile either.   Just a look that makes you wonder what on earth they are thinking.

Finally he said, "You speak Russian?"
I said, "No."
He said, "He speak Russian?" and he points to Luke.
I said, "Not any more."
He said, "I speak no English." and he turned back to his TV.

So now we are left in the Russian grocery store with all Russian words on the wrappers and a Russian TV station on and a Russian magazine and a Russian man.  And not a bit of English except what we were speaking.

But we drove all that way - and got lost twice! - so we are not wasting this trip.  We start to try to figure this stuff out.  We shyed away from things that had no pictures.   So we ended up with crackers and cookies. Luke picked out a bunch of bulk candy - picked only because of the color of the wrappers. 

I finally got brave again and said, "Do you have caviar?"  I figured Luke is an adventurous eater and might like to try it.  The man said, "Caviar?"  I said, "Yes. Caviar."  He said, "Yes yes. Caviar."  He walked over to the cooler and pulled out this itty bitty container of caviar and said, "Caviar."  I said, "How much?" and he said, "$40."  I said, "Oh no.  No thank you!"

So we took our cookies and crackers and candy to the register and $40 later anyway, we walked out of the store.  But at least Luke's class will have something to try.  I have been on the internet all night trying to figure out what this stuff is....  I've got to be careful because I have a nut allergy so it's not like I can just taste this stuff.  I've been finding Russian keyboards and trying to translate....  the one candy translated:  Candy with Gusto Taste. 

Oh boy.  It might be a long night.

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