14 May 2013

Candy

First, and foremost, I just had to share this perfect little gem from the inspirations of my life, Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola. It is so witty and simple and delightful-and in a way, reminds me of my life in Russia. Little cafes, strange words, "how do you say _______ Rooskie?", running off on bizarre little adventures with friends, etc. If only I were so chic. Sigh.
So here is Candy for Prada:



I went to the grocery store today and again was surprised when I was able to buy my tomatoes and eggs and milk without a single problem. I guess I'm always expecting the cashier to swipe my card, say something angrily at me in Russian, and I'd have to run out of the store, my cheeks red and confused. I am deaf and dumb in this country and it is the most humbling experience of my life. I pray silently every time I approach that the cashier never strays from the conversation I've memorized, or asks me a question that will require words I do not know. 

But with more and more lessons, words are beginning to open up to me, like small envelopes that have been floating quietly in the air around my head since I stepped off the plane all those months ago. 

It's like I'm beginning to hear again. 

Not big words, not big things. But small words that clue me in. They flutter through the conversations I pass by and my ears turn golden with the welcoming of familiarity. 
What? Who? Where? There. Him. Her. Good. Excellent. 
My vocabulary has expanded to perhaps include, 50-70 words, mostly useless, but there nonetheless. 
My brain is changing and adapting. I'm reading everything now, still lost in much of the meanings, but overcome with happiness when I am not. This place that was once filled with so much dull buzzing is now softening. Slowly, but surely. I must be patient and sit on my bed at night, reading my Russian books and repeating, writing, working. 

I look to Ben and his unbelievable ease. He dips between languages as if they are just changes in the pitch of his voice. He does not blink, never wavers. To say his workings with language are impressive would be an understatement, and for now it gives me something to lean on. But my patience grows thin, and my desire to learn and speak for myself has only climbed uphill. 

But until next Saturday, my ability will remain. 

9 comments:

  1. I can totally relate to how you feel with the language barrier because I felt it in Paris! Although I learned French for four years before going, I was still so nervous when someone would say something I didn't understand. But It does get easier! It is so humbling indeed and one of my favorite accomplishments is learning to speak like a native because of immersion.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I think even when one knows the language, it's intimidating to actually speak it--especially to a native.

      Delete
  2. I love following your adventures in Russia. I imagine that in your forced quiet you see much more than anyone else.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I've been living in Paris for a year and a half now. I arrived with a very basic knowledge of a handful of phrases, and I am just beginning to realize that I understand almost everything now. I have the confidence to speak finally, too.
    You've described the feeling of being mute in a new foreign city and the daunting task of grocery shopping in another language so well.
    Good luck with your process! And know that the little things, the signs you read, the small phrases you master, and the listening observations you make each day, will pay off. And it will then be such a reward when you realize you can finally hear and understand.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree! So jealous about your stay in Paris- I've heard such magical things about that city!

      Delete
  4. I can completely relate to this post having lived in South Korea for 3 years~ what a perfect way of describing it, I did feel deaf and dumb until I started snatching an understanding of the language. Beautifully written!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Lou! It's a difficult and rewarding experience.

      Delete
  5. I love that you say living in Russia has been a humbling experience. It is inspiring, and the way you talk about running from the story with red cheeks creates a great image in my mind of a similar experience. That just...it really stuck out to me. I don't know how to explain it. You write so well. I always feel very immersed in your posts.

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...