So I’ll dedicate this post to talk about my host family which I realized I haven’t really gotten to do. So I live in an apartment with my babushka Людмила (Lyud-mi-la), (who might not really be a ‘babushka’ (grandmother) besides having the age) and her sister Наташа (Natasha), who I didn’t know lived with my host mom so I was scared the first day that my host mother went into her room to talk to herself. On occasion, other members of the family come along to visit, I’m still confused about who’s son (Ivan) it is but I’m pretty sure it’s Natasha’s son by now. There are two grandsons, who visit on the weekends. For the most part, the older grandson Даня (Danya) comes to visit and stays over. He’s five years old and full of a lot of energy. He calls me Дядя (Dya-dya) which means uncle which I find really cute. Everyday during the weekend he’s over and I wake up he immediately tells me “Доброе утро!” (Dobroe utra) as I leave my room or as I walk in from being out he tells my host mom “Дядя пришел!” (Dya-dya pri-shyol) which means “Uncle’s here!” (This is probably turning more into a Russian lesson for you!)
The younger grandson, who’s name I can’t figure out, is about two years old and he’s either terrified of me or hasn’t gotten used to me. Today, he mainly stared at me anytime I passed by him. I was eating breakfast and he came in with my host mom to get an apple and once he saw me he turned into the corner. Then when I finished he was on the piano playing which scared the crap out of me because this was the first time I’ve heard anyone use it, and by use it I mean bang on the keys. Once I came into the room, he immediately stopped playing and put his head down; it wasn’t until I left the room that he started ‘playing’ again.
The father of these kids is Иван (Ivan) who I finally got to meet this week and then talk to yesterday. His wife I haven’t talked to except said hello once as I made my way out of the kitchen and they were getting ready to leave, her name might be Светлана (Svetlana) but I could be making that up. I’m usually in my room and I tend to feel like Harry Potter when they come over since I never come out and we don’t cross paths. But I finally got to meet him yesterday as we explained to my host mom and her sister, the new 37 inch plasma he got them, which was pretty funny because my host mom once said “Why is everything in English? Put it in Russian!” And then Natasha asking, “Okay, so this turns it off, and this turns it on” as if they were dealing with a spaceship rather then a TV. Ivan is 32 years old so I can’t really call him my host brother or cousin for that matter. He offered me a seat on the couch to show me his pictures of a trip they took to Turkey which then turned into an explanation of how to use the TV in case my host mom and her sister came across problems and finally ended with him, Danya, and me watching Soviet cartoons for about an hour and a half. He explained that to get to know the Russian mentality, you have to watch these cartoons because this is where children learned. We watched a Tom and Jerry style cartoon called “Leopold” except there were two Jerrys who I would say were the bad ones while the cat was good. In one of the episodes the cat tossed a brick out the window the mice left on the table and Ivan turned to me and says: “You see; only a Russian would do that. Toss a brick out the window he doesn’t need. That’s why you need to watch these shows. Don’t need the brick? Just toss it out the window,” and we both laughed at the childish humor from the show which I hope didn’t really happen because I’d have to start making sure I don’t get hit with falling bricks anytime soon.
I really like my host mom and the family that occasionally stops by. My host mom refused to call me Лёня (Lyonya) which was my Russian nickname all through my Russian education and mainly because Luis was similar to Люся (Lyusya) her nickname so she liked my name. Its funny the first week she asked what kind of food I liked and didn’t because she’d respond with “You don’t like that?! That’s weird, all the Americans I've had loved it!” So I’d explain that my taste was more Puerto Rican and less American and she’d later admit that she herself was the picky eater of her family and so I didn’t need to worry about not eating for example tomatoes.
I’m glad I haven’t clashed with her and we pretty much agree on everything and so that’s good. And since she’s not my real mom she always tells me to sleep in late on the weekends and or this conversation: Host mom: You look tired. Me: Yeah, I am. Host mom: So go back to sleep, go to school late. Me: I might not go to school at all (staring at the window and the snow falling). Host mom: Okay, so sleep then. Me: I’ll brush my teeth and eat breakfast first and then sleep. (Since I knew she had breakfast ready already) and I slept wonderfully most of the day.
I’m definitely going to have to come back and pay a visit!