05 March, 2011

a new friend

disclaimer: our camera is dead and we can't find the charger anywhere. so no pictures :(

today gage and i went to the playground across the street from our apartment. there was a little boy playing with some sticks and snowballs and he was very focused on what he was doing. so of course, gage had to get involved. he ran over to the boy and started waving furiously saying "hi, hi, hi you! hi you!"

the boy looked up and smiled at us so big and the conversation went as follows:

him (in russian): something something... i ... something something...
me (in russian): i'm so sorry, but i don't speak russian
him (in russian): then what do you speak? ukrainian? polish? german?
me (in russian): we speak english, only english.
him (in russian): english! i speak a little english!
him (in english): abc, 123, do re mi!
me: brava!
him (in english, singing): good morning, good morning, good morning to you! hello, goodbye.
me: (cheering like the proudest soccer mom): brava, comrade! brava!
at this point, he is laughing his head off because i used two words that only really old people use here: brava and comrade.
me (in russian): what's your name?
him (in russian): something something artjom.
me (in russian): it's nice to meet you, artjom. my name is brooke, like pants (my name sounds just like the word for pants in russian) and this is gage.
him (in russian): gage. gage. how old is this boy? are you his mama?
me (in a russian english hybrid and lots of hand gestures): yes, i'm his mom. he's almost two. how old are you?
him: something something something question?
me: are you five? (holding up five fingers) six? (holding up six fingers) seven (seven fingers)
him (in russian): yes! yes! seven! no, actually six. i'm six.
he starts laughing like. a. loon. and me and gage join in, throwing our heads back and slapping our knees. we haven't quite developed the brain neuron that processes eastern european humor yet.
he pulls out some candy from his pocket and says a bunch of stuff in russian that i didn't understand.
me (in russian): no, thank you. (assuming he's offering us the candy)
him (in russian): something something chocolate?
me (in russian): yes! yes chocolate!
he starts laughing again, and we part ways with a handshake - he pulled a hankerchief from his pocket and made sure his hand was so clean before he shook mine. adorable. then we promised to play again sometime. i think.

we learn two things from this exchange: number one. my russian vocabulary is pathetic. and number two, there is nothing cuter than a little ukrainian dude, decked out in the traditional child's winter wear which much resembles the boy from 'a christmas story' except for thicker and more inhibiting of the limbs, speaking english.

on another note, right after we headed back to our apartment, i saw a gypsy. she was pushing a baby stroller around, collecting things from the garbage bins. i had five greevs in my pocket that i wish i'd given to her.


  1. That is the most adorable exchange ever! I would have loved to have been an onlooker to see the whole thing!

  2. How incredibly adorable. I can relate to these kind of exchanges...when you move to a foreign country and don't really speak the language or understand the culture, they pretty much think everything you do is hilarious...but how cute was he to sit and talk anyways??? Love it!

  3. Love this experience! ... and I hate it when I think, too late, about giving money to someone ... try to forget about that, ok?

  4. Remember the lady in Bali, Indonesia that was braiding your hair and started singing to you. It was, "Old Mac Donald had a farm", but it went something like this:

    ol mac-don-a had- a -pan, hey-a hey-a he-ya

    Cute experience! Love you, Dad

    love you azure!


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