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Black Cat Farm
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Next week, DH and I are headed to Belarus (former Soviet republic) to visit his family. I will be meeting his family for the first time. DH and I have been together for 10 1/2 years, but I have not been able to go until now.

Needless to say, I am pretty nervous. I have been overseas before – once, to Germany for an exchange trip in high school – but this is very different! I actually knew enough German to get me by; I do not speak Russian. I know a few words, but nothing really useful. (I have asked DH repeatedly to teach me…) His parents do not speak English. His brother does, some.

His mom is very excited that I garden and am interested in canning. I asked DH if she’s putting anything up right now and he said yes, so I asked him if he would tell his mom I would LOVE to help with that while we’re there.

DH is very excited to show off his “hometown” and to show me off to his family, and I am excited to meet them, but there are so many things to worry about!

Any thoughts or advice? Thanks!
 

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Halfway, OR & Wagoner, OK
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How nice! I'm sure it will all work out. If it were me, I'd at least learn the polite phrases...thank you...yes..no... pleased to meet you...etc. That will make them feel good.

I'm sure it will be a memory of a lifetime. How did your DH get here? I'll bet it's an interesting story.
 

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Black Cat Farm
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Having fun is good advice!

I do know a few words and phrases - yes, no, thank you, hello, goodbye, cheers... that's about it. And I can sound out words reading the cyrillic alphabet - like a little kid watching Sesame Street (C-A-T = KUH, AHHH, TUH. KU-AHH, TUH. K-AHH-T. CAT!) - but once I say the word, I don't know what it means!

Wildwood Flower said:
How did your DH get here? I'll bet it's an interesting story.
He came for a visit in high school with a group of students as part of the first exchange program between the Russia and the US after the cold war, in 1989. He loved it and returned to attend college here, by way of an athletic scholarship (swimming) from the U of WI. He earned his degree in 3 years while working doing whatever he could to survive, then got his green card and full-time job, and got his citizenship 4 years ago. We did not get married until after he got his citizenship because he didn't want anyone to think we married just so he could get his citizenship.

He is the only member of his family here - everyone else is still in Belarus. He came here with $15 to his name (most of which was "borrowed" from his brother's coin collection) and knowing very little English. His English is excellent now (maybe better than mine, lol) and he has a good job and successful career. He is proof that the American Dream is alive, and he is grateful for the opportunity to live it.

And yes, he did pay his brother back! :)
 

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You'll have a GREAT time! We adopted our kids from Russia and absolutely LOVED the country! Along with the anti-diarrhea pills you might want something to help you sleep to help regulate your sleep cycle while you are there. As long as you can smile and say 'lease' and 'thank you,' you'll do ok. If you do want to learn to speak it, two great programs are "The Learnables" which is designed for kids but is fantastic at teaching basic words and sentence structure. The Pimpsleur program is great for conversational Russian.
 
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I have had a strong interest in russia since I was a teeneger in the 80's. I watch everything that comes on the history, and discovery channels that I can watch about russia. Someday I want to visit.

Enjoy your trip. Bring us pictures, and tell us about your trip when you get back.
 

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Black Cat Farm
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
OK - Immodium A/D and sleeping aid. Good one - hadn't thought of that! :eek: Check.
Camera with empty memory card and lots of batteries. Check.

We will be staying with his parents in their 2-room (not 2 BEDroom, 2 ROOM) apt.; I will ask DH if they have a fan we can use if needed.

WIIH - sing with me - "It's a small world, after all..." :) Where was your son working? We will be in Minsk. I'm not a big ice-in-drinks person, so I should be okay there.

MF, I too, have always found Russia fascinating. So this is going to be really fun to finally see a part of it! Part of me would like to visit the "dead zone" surrounding Chernobyl. I find ghost towns intriguing, and Pripyat is the ghost town to end all ghost towns. Scary thing is, DH's dad is a nuclear physicist and could get us checkpoint passes to go in there, so if I really wanted to go, I could. Legally. And it's not that far from Minsk. This is a link to a haunting and awesome tour of Chernobyl, taken by a woman on a motorcycle.

I am planning on bringing lots of things to do on the plane ride over. I have some letter writing to do, a stack of Soduku games cut out of the weekly ads that come in the mail, and am going to check out several "Little House" books. (I'm embarrassed to admit I've never read them.) I don't sleep well on planes, so I need to keep busy, and that will be even more of a challenge since DH and I were unable to get seats next to each other. Major bummer.

I sure hope they approve of me! You always hear the jokes about your in-laws, but I really do want them to like me and vice versa.
 

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Oh just a thought too...

Don't ever bring white lilies as flowers to people you visit, it's a flower of death in some parts of Eastern Europe. I don't know if it's that way in Belarus but just a headsup if it is.

You should totally go see where Chernobyl happened! I would love to take that trip someday! The fallout actually blew to Scandinavia. The wild berries and mushrooms that grow here in Finland still have very high levels of radiation...so I don't eat much of them lol.

Kat
 

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Are you bringing presents? blue jeans used to be big there, don't know if they still are. I'm sure there's something from America they would like.

Do you knit? I'll bet they do.
 

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I took beginner Russian in College

I can sound out some words for you here

drawtz vwit see = Hello
dahs ve don ya = goodbye

bahnk = bank

I just went back to a post ^up there^ to see that you already know these....

I LOVED Russian class......it was the only semester that they offered it too!!! I would have gladly taken the next class too!!! not that it is very useful in Oklahoma but it is pretty cool though!!!

Rachel
 
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