Monday, May 20, 2013

The Conservation I Frequently Have With Strangers When We Don´t Speak the Same Language


In Northern Russia, when people learn I'm from America, they're generally quite surprised. Their voice tone raises up and their eyes widen. I've encountered a few people who haven't met an American before . I know I'm not the American they've seen in the movies.

From there, they're normally able to ask a few questions and communicate them in a way I understand.

Today the conversation happened in this small market stall in an undescript building. I was hungry and beet salad seemed like a good solution for the moment. I grabbed my food, a cup of tea (I've learned you must, must get a cup of tea with each meal), and sat down at the black plastic picnic table where the woman had been lounging before, chatting with the other woman who worked the stalls and shops.


For a while, they just stared, but after a few minutes they asked if I was from Norway. I shook my head and smiled.

“Finland?”
“Nyet.”
“America.”

And from here, I will loosely translate the conversation (which is like another conversation I had later that day).

“You're from America?”
“Yes.”
“And now... you're in Murmansk?”
“Yes.”
“Where are you from in America?”
“Alaska.”
“Is Alaska JSDKFJSKLJS?”
“What?”
*they hug themselves and shiver*
“Oh! Cold? Not really.”
“Do you think it's cold here?”
“No. It's quite warm.”
(which is the truth – it's light-coat and a t-shirt weather)
“What have you seen in Russia?”
“Moscow, Vologda, Kandalaksha, Apatity and now *big gesture* Murmansk!”
“Murbble mumble Russian language.”
“Indeed.”
“And you´re traveling in Russia alone???”


Yes. Yes. I am.

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