Monday, March 17, 2008

An American Girl... With a Russian Soul!

My lesson with Paulina, the sweet Russian girl I've been tutoring for three years, was quite memorable today. She and her sister are American, having been born in Chicago, and their parents are Russian.

American: She rushed to put on the 1774 Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia dress that my mom made as her costume for the lesson today. (Yes, you must always wear a costume for a tutoring session. Always.)

American: "Can I please have a snack?"

Russian: As I handed her some blini (crepes), I asked what she'd like on them. Jam, perhaps? Honey? Nutella? Oh, no... "Caviar?" Tee hee! Being American, my girls prefer sweet condiments with their blini. I was so surprised by her completely innocent (and absolutely normal for a Russian) request. We in the USA associate caviar with luxury goods; here it's a normal food to have in your refrigerator. Think "Russian relish." She settled on powdered sugar.

Russian: We then started our lesson with some reading. She kept pronouncing "v" as if it were "w." I tried to have her repeat a variety of words to help her with the sound. "Video!" "Wideo?" "Vacation!" "Wacation?" "Very!" "Wery?" This went on for while... Finally... "Vodka!" "VODKA!" Ta-da. Now she can pronounce "v" vvvvery well, thank you!


Tina in CT said...

Good grief! Those dresses took me forever to make. Please don't have them worn when eating as I would hate to have them stained.

Cute how she got the V from vodka.

garnet said...

Too cute!

And that dress is absolutely gorgeous! Don't suppose your mom wants to make a career of making and selling them.

Oh, if I only had the time to learn to sew.

Anonymous said...

when all else fails go with liquor...hehehe Debip

Tina in CT said...


I'd rather slit my wrists! I made those for the girls to match the dresses that I made for the dolls that their Grandpa and I gave them for Xmas (Felicity and Elizabeth).

Grandma Streusel

Annie said...

How funny! I laugh at the "v" - my Sergei STILL has this problem...and I can't understand it! Not being able to pronounce W makes perfect sense! But why "v"? One of my favorites is when we are driving along and he'll exclaim "Mom, there's a wiper!" It always takes me a moment before I realize he is saying "Viper" - "wiper" is just NOT the same thing at all!

(Tina! The dress is adorable!)

Tina in CT said...


Thank you about the dress that I made for Natalia and one for her doll, Felicity. I made the same dress in a different fabric for Katya and her doll, Elizabeth.

Tina (Grandma Streusel)

Nataliya said...

This is hilarious!