So, I had a very frustrating morning. Let’s just leave it at that for now.
I came home from taking the boy to camp and was doing the dishes. My FIL came down to ask me something about his bank. He had his ATM card with him and was asking about credit or withdrawing money, or telling them to give him money…on and on really … in Russian.
Let me interject at this point that I know how to talk about certain things in Russian, but not other things. And they know how to talk about certain things in English, but not other things. It’s what happens when you learn a new language. You learn what you need to learn at first. When my husband started working delivering appliances, he could say all sorts of stuff in English about refrigerators, or washers and dryers, or tv’s. But if he tried to tell you what was wrong with his car he had to look up a translation. I can talk about things at home, cooking, washing, etc, but not banking.
I didn’t understand my FIL at all today. And I tried. I really did. I tried asking questions for him to answer, I tried to say it in English, I tried to translate what he was saying.
He got frustrated and started yelling. He said “why don’t you understand???” Apparently not yelling at me – according to my husband. But it felt like it. So I asked him why he was yelling at me. That if I didn’t understand I didn’t – he speaks Russian, I speak English, and he doesn’t understand a lot either. He got kind of withdrawn like he was embarrassed and said it was ok, and that he wasn’t yelling at me. (basically – this is all in Russian – even what I said – and what I said was probably incorrectly phrased, but he got it – and I got it – and he went upstairs.)
I call my husband and tell him to call his father and figure out WTF he wants because he is yelling at me and I will not have that shit. If he needs help I can help, but I don’t know what he wants. Of course hubby tells me he just doesn’t understand anything and he gets frustrated when I don’t understand – but he isn’t yelling AT me. So don’t take it that way.
Which brings me to the title of this post – Russians yell a lot.
If you ever sit in a room with several Russians – especially men – bring your earplugs. Cause it’s gonna get loud up in there. They are loud when they talk, they are loud when they eat, they are really really loud when they drink. It’s just how they are. Their language has much more inflection than ours does. I can hear my MIL and FIL talking on the phone from all the way across the house and down the stairs. They just talk loudly and with more inflection. Often to others it sounds like they are yelling at you when they aren’t. The fact that they also use very big body language doesn’t help either. You have some 200 lb Russian dude standing in your face, waving his arms around like a crane and talking loudly and deeply, you are going to think they are yelling at you. Chances are they aren’t. They actually don’t yell at people they don’t know much.
My husband isn’t like this. I don’t know if it’s because he is more of an introvert, or if it’s because he went to school and knows that we speak more quietly and with less inflection, so he needs to be quieter here. Though I don’t remember him being particularly loud in Russia and he isn’t with his friends either. Maybe it’s just him.
I used to be a very loud person until I had my vocal chord paralyzed in a surgery. But I was never this loud.
My son is really really loud sometimes – he can’t always tell if he is being too loud or not – especially when he is excited. Too bad we don’t live in Russia. He’d fit right in.
Anyway. Just so you know, Russians yell a lot. They aren’t necessarily yelling at you, even if it feels like it. But they do yell. Try not to take it the wrong way like I do.
(American Girl’s Guide to Living With Russians soon to come – LOL)