language barriers

Josh wrote a little bit on his personal blog about some of his frustrations with the Ukrainian language, and some of our experience this week. Here’s an excerpt:

Wednesday evening our neighbor came up and knocked on our door. She is Russian and was trying to explain something to us (In Russian). All I could understand was “No gas, …tomorrow…9am…..11am….” Which is all I needed to know, but she was very frustrated I could tell because of our confused looks. They are doing construction on our building and needed to repair some of the pipes.

Yesterday, I had another fun experience. We visited a orphanage as a possibility for future ministry. We took our tutor, Snezhana, to a nearby town (1 1/2 hour – bus ride) where we met her friend and met with the assistant director of the orphanage. Snezhana translated for us. As we were leaving, I thought I would impress my tutor and our new friends by saying “it was nice to meet you, and thank you” in Ukrainian. The assistant director smiled and said something to Snezhana, to which they laughed. She said that we need to learn the different dialects of our region (Transcarpathia) because she isn’t Ukrainian. But Snezhana was pleased.

When we returned home from our outing, our landlord was coming down our stairs. We haven’t seen or heard from her since February when we paid for our first 3 months rent. We knew that she would be by soon for the next three but were unsure when. She is Hungarian, and of course speaks, you guessed it, Hungarian! She quickly had me go with her to the attic area. She showed me that our cistern (water storage device – we only have city water certain parts of the day and the cistern is what we use when the city water is shut off) was leaking and that the surrounding overflow was full of water. She used a lot of sign language to explain that we need to let our sinks run to drain all the water. After about an hour we had drained all the water and refilled the cistern. She told me to check on it to see what the problem was or is. This was a very fun experience trying to figure out what the heck she was saying and interpreting all the sign language.

Needless to say, I have a lot to learn here.

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