Friday, February 29, 2008

I wish I had the strength to announce that this blog is kaput, but I can't.

Global Voices takes up too much of my time, and then there's Facebook, and - where I somehow have 85 friends already, and most of them are probably mad at me by now, because I tend to vanish right after the initial greetings.

It's amazing how much I remember about most of these 85 people - but ask me what date it is today and I'll have to consult a calendar. A few days ago I was really shocked to realize that the Russian election is this coming Sunday. I thought we still had a week or two. Must be because of all this Kosovo madness.

I wish I could at least write about Marta here - but I'd have to translate, and I have enough of that at GV.

Well, there's one thing that doesn't require translation: Marta has somehow learned to say 'fuck' - and since she somehow knows it's a very bad word, she keeps saying it all the time. At first, I thought it was so amusing - like, wow, I still remember very vividly the time when she didn't know how to smile, and now she's cursing - and in a foreign language! But now I'm a bit worried, because I'm not sure how to unteach her. I know I should try to ignore it and then she'll get bored and stop saying it, but it's just something that's too funny to ignore. Reminds me of my dear Armenian friend who once left her beautiful little daughter with her teenage brother for a few hours - and when she came back, the beautiful little girl was cursing left and right like a man - in Russian, I guess.

Marta can also count from 1 to 10 in English, with a little bit of help from me. And she knows how to say 'cat' and 'dog' in Turkish.

The rest of it is mainly a Russian-based language of her own - and there's lots of stuff. She's really fluent now and it's unbearably cute to have all those conversations with her.

One more thing: I'm getting very good at telling her bedtime stories. At first, Mishah was making them up, and I was kind of jealous, but then he got tired as well as discouraged by the fact that his stories weren't making her any sleepier, so I had to take over. It took me over a week to actually start making stuff up - it happened after I had finally exhausted all the "non-fiction" animal stories that I had in my head. Now, it's pure fiction, and I'm extremely proud.

Moscow hasn't had any winter this season - it's been raining for the past few days, and on Sunday or Saturday, there was even a real thunderstorm. Too gloomy to take any pictures.

I miss this blog so much, but I'm tired of being so sporadic.

And I've a feeling that some people who are still coming here expect me to write about politics, but the problem is I'm so disgusted with what's going on both in Russia and in Ukraine, I don't want to waste my time and get myself upset.


  1. I admit to wondering what was up, but if you're busy or simply tired, I reckon most of us can understand that.
    Don't sweat it, there are bigger, more important things out there! Take a break from this blog, it may do you wonders. Come back when you can, or want. :)

  2. What Mark said.

    Whatever you do, don't delete the blog. Post once a year or whatever it takes. At least a cute picture of Marta every now and then.

    And don't worry about her saying "fuck". I think it's a normal stage of development to figure out which words get a special reaction from the people around you and to say them a lot. She'll get over it.

    And anyway, I feel like in international English this word has become just sort of an emphasizing particle, like "же" in Russian. :-)

    A few months ago I accidentally taught the word "бля" to this 7-year-old French girl to whom I was teaching English in St. Petersburg (I received an SMS from Kostia during the lesson and she wanted to try to read it), but I think she forgot pretty quickly.

  3. ... and send us an Email when you come back ! In case we have given up hope...
    This facebook galaxy is just puzzling. But for the time being I don't feel like discovering it, I am so dependent on meeting people in "flesh and blood".

    The next step with Marta will be be to teach her how to fill in a ballot and vote. Does Dasha teach it as well?

    My Natasha is very proud because her Granny can sing Brother John (a familiar rhyme among French-speakers)in Chinese. But this is another long story...

    Have a good week-end! I will check next week anyway, sure the election will eventually wake up your observation skills !

  4. My favorite entries were your observations about life around you: funny and weird monents, Marta, Misha, cats--everything that I couldn't see myself. When you have time, write some more here, or directly to me :)

  5. Oh, by the way...keep forgetting to send you this:
    One of my favorite paintings:
    A portrait of journalist Sylvia Von Harden by Otto Dix, 1926

  6. I hope you don't give up the ghost of your blog. It's nice to know what's going on even if it's a small thing like the weather. Makes me feel connected or perhaps a little less isolated in my own private Idaho, plus your photographs are really wonderful.

    I remember you wrote once about having the window open in the city hearing bad words from the street below and if Marta would one day pick up on that. Of course all children do one way or another.

  7. Your political observations are interesting, of course, but it's more the observations about daily life that I enjoy the most. Now that I rarely get back to the Soyuz, it's interesting to know how things are going there.
    So, as others have said, frequency is not terribly important. If you manage to stop by even once in a blue moon, we'll still be checking :-)
    Oh, and as for the politics, I'm getting just as tired of both Russian and American variants. Alternative topics are extremely welcome!

  8. I enjoy all your observations especially on Ukraine. As exasperating as the political situation can be I as an American enjoy hearing about all aspects of Ukraine. As other comments have mentioned Marta is feeding of the reaction to her saying "fuck" and she will move on to other more interesting words :) Take a break and post when you feel like it. Thanks for what you have done.

  9. Wow, Fuck !! Some things never change. I have had that word come out of all but one of my children's mouth. Babygirl may know how to say it however she has yet to say it out loud. Her special word is "Actually" and she is also partial to the word Cyka. I think that her big brother taught her that one. I have to admit it is one of my favorite words as well.
    I have missed your post here. I am glad that we are pals on Face Book. Cheers Patrick

  10. I hope you will keep blogging here, even sporadically, it is one of my favourite sites!

  11. hi neeka from virginia from Orange Revolution days.

    i let my blog lapse for the same reason. the politics wear on my nerves.

    but i always enjoy hearing about my niece Marta, so blog whenever you can about whatever you want.

    Your effort for global voices is much appreciated.

  12. A huge thank you to all of you for your support! I love you all! :)))