Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Grandma Valia (by Tara)

I got home from Prague Friday night and was nervous to go home because just my Grandma Valia and great-grandma were there. Mom, Dad and Vova were off on a vacation to Egypt and wouldn't be coming back until Wednesday. Why was I nervous? Well, my grandma is the sweetest person in the world. However, she speaks as much English as I do Russian…maybe 10 words each. So she feeds me. A lot. And it’s really hard to communicate to her that I just can’t eat another bite. {But thank you so much; I am incredibly greatful.}

I went home and she was so excited to see me. The first thing I noticed was that the house was much less cluttered. And she had music playing loud. And she was singing. It was so cute! I could tell that she really liked having the place to herself.

She asked if I was hungry and I tried to express that I wasn’t hungry then…maybe later. She said something in Russian and then acted and said, “Valia, eat!” I took that to mean, “When you’re hungry say, ‘Valia, eat!’” I laughed and she smiled. She is quickly becoming my favorite person in the house.

I didn’t have to say, “Valia, eat!” anyway because she came in and asked me if I wanted soup an hour later. I said yes. Naturally, after the soup there was dinner. But I was impressed, the portions were smaller. It was some kind of eggplant/onion/chicken mix with mashed potatoes. Pretty good!

When I came out for the soup I handed her some chocolate nougat I bought in Prague. She said, “Oooohhhh!” so excited-like. She asked where from and I said “Praga”…as I ate she walked around and sang. There was a concert/show on the television that was pretty good. She sat there and ate her nougat like it was Christmas. She’d take a bite then close it up like she wouldn’t eat any more and then make a “what the heck, why not?” gesture and then have another bite. I don’t think she gets much sweets and she loved it! I couldn’t really finish the food, but I was sure trying. She made a “just one minute” gesture and pulled a brownie out of the fridge and put it on my plate. All I can say, is I think we just completely bonded. The chocolate was one thing we could both understand perfectly…no words necessary.

After dinner, I sat with her and watched the show and I worked on my cross stitching. She liked checking out my progress often and would say, “Horosho, horosho” which means “good.” She would sing and laugh and smile and say things to me that I didn’t understand. But she was clearly happy and I was thoroughly enjoying myself.

Today, I had to leave for church before I saw her. I drew her a picture of me, and arrow to a church and an arrow to home. Translation: I am going to church and then I am coming home. I wrote the Russian words for my name, church and home, thanks to my handy phrase book. When I came home she pointed to it and laughed. She then tucked it into her day book. I think she really liked my attempt. Then I got a huge meal.

She is off now visiting her brother who is in the hospital because he fell from the attic and hurt his back. It’s funny how much I can understand even though I don’t understand a word. So…now I am home and thinking about what a cute lady Grandma Valia is. And what an adventure this is! 

Tara Thornock  Kyiv  2010


ChinaDebbie said...

I love this story. My favorite part "The chocolate was one thing we could both understand perfectly…no words necessary." I can totally relate to that.

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