Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Daca nu te inteleg pe tine, nici tu nu ma vei intelege pe mine

Wednesday, a handful of men from the neighborhood, including my host dad, worked to deepen the well near our house. This well serves the entire neighborhood, but had recently dried up. In the evening, with the men done with work for the day, they came to our house for a very late lunch. I joined them, and was both amused and slightly bothered by a man in his 60s, Dima, who kept trying to speak to me in Russian.

"He doesn't know Russian," my host dad and the other men told him repeatedly.

"He understands чут чут," Dima said, using the Russian word for "a little".

The fifth time he tried speaking entire sentences to me in Russian, I stopped him. "I've been living here for two years, learning Romanian," I said. "Let's speak in Romanian. If you keep speaking in Russian, I'm going to start speaking in English, and we're not going to understand each other at all."

Everyone at the table laughed, and Dima switched to Romanian for a few minutes. Then he started speaking to me again in Russian. I switched to English.

"OK, you decided," I said in my native language. "You want to keep speaking Russian? I'm going to speak English. No more Romanian. No more Russian. I'm speaking English now."

The entire table cracked up. Minutes later, Dima apologized. I think he thought I had said something awful about him in English. Or maybe he hadn't thought twice about his language choice, and was instead apologizing for the wine he had spilled on the table. Either way, it gave me a little bit of entertainment for the evening.