Excited Over Potatoes

"Kartoshka" - Russian colloquialism for potato

Ann - August 22, 2006


I never thought I could get that excited or encouraged over potatoes but I did yesterday.  Well, actually it was over using the Russian grammar correctly with the market lady selling potatoes.  That?s even a bigger amazement ? getting excited over Russian grammar!


In Russian language class we have been drilling the numbers and how they have to be used in the Genitive Case (one of 6 cases in the Russian language!).  Robert and I had just left class yesterday with all of this swimming in my head and stopped at the produce stand next to our bus stop on our way home.  It?s kind of like ?swinging by the grocery store on the way home from work? like we use to do in Dallas, only now we are on foot and a trolleybus!


Anyway, I walked up to the lady selling potatoes and held one up and called it a ?kartoshka?. (My phonetic spelling for potato).  She smiled at me and agreed.  Because of that smile I felt safe enough to venture on with my more advanced Russian.  I told her, ?Diatee pajalsta, adeen kilogramma kartoshkee.?  (Give me please, one kilogram of potatoes.)


Because on Russian grammar you have to use nouns that follow numbers and nouns with the ?of construction? in the genitive case then that means the endings to those nouns have to change.  It can be for some crazy making unless you hang in there and work it.  And that is what I successfully did yesterday. 


I studied about it in class, drilled with my classmates and then went right out into the market place and used it.   The best reward was having that market seller acknowledge that I had said it correctly and hand me a kilogram of potatoes with a smile!!!!  Now that is instant gratification of the best kind which is why it is so helpful to live in the foreign country of the language you are trying to learn.


Forgive me if this entry is too boring for the average reader but emotionally and spiritually for me this is HUGE!  What an encouragement to finally feel like I might be getting a handle on this incredible language.  This is just a small example but a landmark event for me.  Robert was standing behind me beaming!


I know that my hard work and perseverance and the prayers of many are beginning to pay off and I am so grateful.  Don?t let up!  Please continue to pray that I keep getting out of my comfort zone and apply what I am learning.  It?s easy for me to retreat to our flat and just keep my nose in the books.  But I need to continue to face our world here in Russia and continue to communicate ? mistakes and all.


The next big test will be approaching a vendor that doesn?t smile at me.  One thing at a time!