Gefilte Fish Out of Water

Me & Bogden Down by the Schoolyard.
April 21, 2009, 10:04 pm
Filed under: School


So today during Ulpan, at one point Dina has us count off from 1 to 5, so we can break out into small groups and practice asking each other informational questions and also giving information about ourselves.  I was having fun interacting with one person in my group, when I noticed Bogden give up in frustration when no one was talking to him and start to leave the group.

I rushed into action!

Bogden is from Ukraine (I think).  Pretty sure actually, although it could be Belarus.  Anyway, he speaks no English.  He seems like a really nice guy, and you can tell he is really struggling with Ulpan so far.  Mostly he looks lost and frustrated.  I really feel for all the Russkies actually; it must be a lot harder for them.  What I mean is, sometimes when there’s no other way for Dina to explain something to us, she’ll break into English for a second to explain something (e.g. “Kee-say, chair”).  Well, if you speak only Russian and no English, you’re shit out of luck, ain’tcha?  Sucks for them, and I don’t mean that obnoxiously.

Anyway, my conversation with Bogden went something like this (it was in Hebrew, but for the sake of this post, I’ll write it in English):

Me:  What’s your name?

Bogden: Good.

Me: No, not “what’s up?” What’s your name?

Bodgen: (puzzled) Fine.

[pause, gears turn in Bogden’s head; light goes off]

Bogden: Ah!  My name is Bogden.

Me: My name is Scott.  Bogden, do you work?

Bogden: Yes, I study at Ulpan Gordon.

Me: No, not “study.”  “Work.”  Do you work?

Bogden: Oh! Yes, I work at…uh…(gets Oxana, a Russian woman and asks her something.  Oxana tells me he works in a bakery.  Bogden smiles.)

Me: (really in English now; rubbing my tummy) Oh, I love pastries!  (Me & Bogden both smile.)

Dina: OK, class.  Exercise over.  (Me and Bogden go back to our seats.)


Seriously though, here is a guy who speaks only Russian, and me who speaks only English and un pocito espanol.  Normally, we simply would not be able to communicate at all.  I mean, except for hand gestures and such.  But now, because of our common language of Hebrew, we were communicating.  Fuckin’ awesome, right?


2 Comments so far
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that IS fuckin’ awesome!

Comment by Michelle Lynch


Comment by skatp

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