29 March 2009

Russian Drivers and European Tastees

So I had a chance to use my Russian recently more that I had in a long time. So I just had a Russian student by the name of Albina Sagitullina who didn't speak a lick of English. She is a very beautiful Russian woman who is 7 months pregnant. When she came into my office, you could see how scared she looked on her face. Her mother-in-law/translator started talking to me and when I found out Albina was Russian I starting speaking to her in it and you could just see her face light up and her disposition relax. We then decided to arrange the drives so that she was in the car with no observers except her mother-in-law. This would make her not only less nervous, but we would be able to speak just Russian the whole six hours of driving.

It was a really good experience for me because I started remembering Russian words that I hadn't used in forever. The more I spoke, the more I remembered. But one thing I find really funny is that when I tried to say something in Russian, sometimes I couldn't remember the wording, and the Chinese word would come to mind. This is funny because sometimes when I would speak Chinese to my students, I only knew the Russian word. And now all of a sudden, the other language jumps out in conversation.

So I remember I was trying to say to Albina: "Sto ti dumaesh ob etom?" which means "What do you think about this?" And I accidently said "Sto ni dumaesh ob etom?" Small difference. But "ti" is "you" in Russian and "ni" is "you" in Chinese. And that was just a small example of how I could butcher up a sentence.

The mother-in-law was sooo nice. She would constantly thank me and give me hugs for helping her daughter-in-law. One day she brought me in this big box of Russian chocolates. And she offered to help me if I needed medical attention because she is a doctor. Her daughter was really sweet too. She complimented me on my Russian and we could even get to the point that we joked around with each other. She also took me to this really cool Russian market. Normally I would just go to Europa because I didn't know of any others but there is a cool market they told me about called "European Tastees." It is their favorite. The guy that works there is so nice. He kept giving me free samples of tons of Russian treats. Everytime I turned around he wanted to give me something free just to see my face light up when I tasted it. Also, at European Tastees, I found the best smetana (Russian sourcream) that I've found in Salt Lake City. Most of the time, the smetana would taste just like American sourcream, but I could never find one that tasted just right-like authentic Russian sourcream. But after my two new Russian friends told me about this particular one, I was hooked. So at European Tastees, I bought two bags of pelmeni (Russian dumplings) and just for fun, Russian mango juice. (It has a little bitter after taste that I remember most from Russian juice!). And sweet Albina bought for me the smetana and some Russian caramel chews.

That night I made Ramsey the feast and he really liked it.

Russian chocolate

Some pelmeni. The chicken flavor is the best!

Russian mango juice

The smetana we all liked. This is what goes on the pelmeni like a sauce. Those Russian Canadians rock!


  1. Try that smetana in stroganoff. I bet it's delicious.

  2. I am so amazed by how thoroughly well you do everything you do--how you always go the extra mile. You must be the answer to many prayers--imagine the relief that Russian lady felt when you were so prepared to work with her! Can I be like you when I grow up? =D

  3. Gosh you are amazingly sweet. I want to be like YOU when I grow up.

  4. Love your table decoration for Ramsey! The beads in a flower shape is so clever!! What a neat experience! I'm flying to Utah tomorrow. Call me!!

  5. I love how you never know when your talents will have to be shared but we should always be prepared and continue to cultivate them. What an awesome experience Ness!