Sometimes grammar is just... nice.
In her blog 'American Girls in Moscow' Moscowmom regales us with stories as she "navigates the unexpected twists and turns of life in this impressive and daunting city".
Natalia was invited to a birthday party today for a really sweet girl in her class. This party was actually "American-style;" the kids were dropped off at the party. (Natalia was thrilled!) We're in Moscow, people, so it's completely natural—and cool—that the party was held on the boat in front of the President Hotel, right next to the Peter the Great monument and old Red October chocolate factory. It stays in that same spot year-round, particularly now when it's literally frozen in place. The location was great—they basically had a room on the boat, and the kids were free to run around (the room, not the boat!). Natalia thought it was the best thing ever to go to a party on a boat!
The birthday girl has a sister in the fourth grade in our school, so I've seen the girls' mom and dad "in passing" for the past 2 1/2 years. Not having kids in the same class until this year, we've never really chatted except for a few minutes while waiting for our daughters, or before and after piano recitals. Even though Natalia and her younger daughter are in the same class, we haven't overlapped that much at pick-up or drop-off this year, either.
I often see the girls' dad, and he just gives off this aura of being such a great father and all-around nice guy... Even when you don't really know him, he puts you completely at ease. The same is true for the girls' mom; she has a smile that just radiates sincerity. Even though we barely know each other, there aren't any pretenses, there isn't any awkwardness, and I feel as if we've been friends for a long time, but just haven't had the chance to really "chat" yet. I've had the sense all year that at some point we'd be really good friends, thinking how silly it was how we "wasted" all that time before realizing it.
In any case, because we've never really talked other than superficially, we've been "acquaintances" all this time... When I came to pick up Natalia this afternoon, however, she invited me to join the group, have some dessert and a cappuccino.
And then it happened. We went from "Vui"/formal "you" to "T'ee"/informal "you". She initiated it, kind of laughing and shyly smiling at the same time, "Davayte na t'ee!"/"Let's use the informal subject pronoun!".
It may seem so silly, but I think it's really cool that there's an informal and formal way of saying "you" in Russian (and in other languages). You remember the day you go from one to the other with friends. I can clearly recall all the times I've had the same moment with other friends with whom I speak French, Spanish, Italian and Russian.
For those of you who don't know these languages, it's kind of like the day I graduated from 9th grade and the most special teacher I ever had told me I could call her "Pat" instead of "Mrs Clark."
In Russian, it's a grammar moment. And it's just, well, nice.
About a Moscowmom
Happily married mom to two little girls navigating the unexpected twists and turns of life in this impressive and daunting city. We're in our sixth year of living here, and the city has changed so much during that time! I taught French and Spanish back in the USA and now I'm the Director of Foreign Languages in a Russian private school.
Blog: American Girls in Moscow
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