Laughing at Man Day

Peace Corps / Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

It’s Man Day again. Or as it’s more formally called, Protectors of the Fatherland Day.

For those of you unaware, it’s a day to celebrate men in Ukraine. Don’t worry, there’s an International Women’s Day on March 8th. That’s international, so it’s more important.

Anyway, today I received a card and a box of candies from the girls in one of my classes. One girl had a smile on her face as they wished me a good day. The other girl had a scowl on her face. It’s okay, she usually has a scowl.

The female teachers also herded us into one of the rooms around midday to wish us the best, and read us poems in our honor (don’t worry, we’ll do the same when it’s Women’s Day). There also was a part of the gathering where we were asked to pick up a piece of paper off the table and it would contain a word that surely described us. It was completely random.

I grabbed one, walked back to my spot, looked at it, then uttered “Я не понимаю” (I don’t understand). Fortunately, Sasha was nearby to translate for me. She explained that the word meant that I can say nice things (I later learned a more proper translation but I’m going to tell it how it was). Nela, the woman running this bit of the gathering, went down the line pointing at each teacher saying (in Russian), “You are…” and then she waited for the person to read the word on slip of paper. Some were funny and some plain true. When Sasha realized that I’d have to read, she stepped up without me even having to ask and she started pronouncing it over and over for me so I could say it when my turn came.

I read, and pronounced, Красноречивый (pronounced: Kras-no-rech-ivyĭ). Not perfectly, but everyone understood. And then they laughed the hardest of any of the teachers.

I realized what I had said. I had said that I speak eloquently. Which was a riot when I was trying to pronounce such a long word in Russian. It was probably the best part of Man Day, just laughing and understanding what I was laughing at with the teachers. Even better than the tea-cup, saucer, boxes of tea the teachers also gave us (though the tea has already proven to be delicious).


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