Yesterday Spencer, Nathan and I went over to Lena's house for our language helper time. She asked us if we wanted to go to the kitchen table or stay in the living room. Her couch was still let out to a bed and Nathan was sprawled across it. He annouced he was staying there. So she joined him and Spencer and I followed. By the time Alexei got home we were well into our lesson and we practiced our new dialogues on him! Then they helped us with our 8 culture questions such as:
How do Russians greet each other when they meet?
How do they keep conversations going?
Is there a difference in the way children, men women and young people get aquainted?
One by one we discussed the answers to the questions. the best part was when Lena and Alexei did not agree on the answers! If you are wondering the answers are pretty much standard. Hello, my name is, what is your's? What do you do? What about this weather we are having...
Women get aquainted quickly, men are slower, children just start playing, young people share common interests....
People are pretty much the same. The only difference I really notice is the "you". It is either formal or informal depending upon how well you know the person and their age. Children use the formal you with me because of my age. And so on! It is a culture of showing deference to age and to women when making introductions.
As we were discussing getting to know our neighbors and asking them to help us practice Russian.... Alexei was busy printing a sign in Russian and had pinned it to Spencer's back. Loosely translated into English it said "people, help me! I am studying Russian."
Spencer took it to class today for show and tell. You can tell why Alexei and Tom are friends.... they have the same sense of humor. And if GrandDad Sharp were still around he would have like that one!