Friday, July 23, 2010
That’s my host mom-Zinaida. I thought today’s blog post would be reasons why my host mom is great.
-Her name is Zinaida, which is pretty much my most favorite Russian name ever. I first heard the name when I read Turgenev’s First Love as an undergrad. I thought it was such a pretty name. So when I found out that it was my host mom’s name, my brain went, “This will work.”
It’s also probably why I shouldn’t have kids because I would probably name one of them Zinaida, and then the tabloids would be all like “Why did George Clooney and his girlfriend give their baby such a strange name?” *
-Because it’s so hot Zinaida walks around in her underwear. The first time I stumbled upon this finding was late at night just as I was getting ready to fall asleep. At first I thought it was a ghost. A big naked ghost. I think it’s really funny, but I’m still alarmed when she brings me a glass of lemonade & she’s just down to her bra & panties.
-In true Russian babushka she comes up with all sorts of nicknames for my roommate and me. These include: my little doll and (my personal favorite) my little cucumber (I eat a lot of cucumbers).
- When I told her that I was taking picture of Russian food for the blog, she got very excited and started really decorating all of my meals so they’d look pretty for the photos.** I mean she goes all out. Last night she kept tossing more and more parsley on my plate until my cutlet looked like it was growing a forest. And then she started carving a rose out of a tomato until I told her that that was probably overkill.
-She gives me hell. Aside from attempting to sign me up for Russian reality dating shows, Zinaida likes to pick on me on a daily basis. My first morning here I woke up fairly early thanks to jet lag and Zinaida was already awake doing whatever it is that she feels she had to do at that hour. She started speaking rapid fire Russian at me, which is cruel because I don’t even speak English at that hour let alone Russian. I just sort of made this face o.O at her until she started laughing. She slowed herself down and repeated, “If you can understand what I’m saying I”ll make you breakfast.” Yep, she was speaking that fast on purpose.
Or she’ll see me at the dinner table turning bright red with my eyes watering.
“What’s wrong with you?”
“I just ate a whole peppercorn,” I’ll gasp.
“Heh. Heh. Heh heh,” She’ll laugh.
-Prior to being paralyzed she was involved in the arts and literary scene in Vladimir. She started a literary salon here in Vladimir, and brought in musicians, poets and artists from all over Russia to perform. She has photographs of dozens upon dozens of well-known performers because of this. Her work has merited her an entry in a book called “The Best People of Russia.”
-This is also why she takes in host students now. She cannot really work outside of the house now because of her condition (She cannot walk long distances), but she feels that it’s important to do something good for other people. She decided that one of the ways that she could do this was by taking in host students. She hopes that by taking in students from around the world, she can help them understand Russia better and make sure they have a positive experience here. I’d say she’s doing a pretty excellent job.
So that's my host mom in all of her glory. She cooks like a fiend, cuts & salts my cucumbers "Russian style"*** for me & walks around in her panties. She's just awesome.
*do you see what I did there?
**Actually I told her that I was sending them to my mom. Zinaida is a bit of a technophobe so I didn’t even want to try to get into discussing what a blog was.
***She tells me that she prepares them Russian style. I have no clue if there really is a Russian style of cutting cucumbers. Like I said, she gives me hell. It could all be some sort of weird long term joke she's playing on me.