11 May 2005

I did it!! I DID IT!!

After my business dinner this evening, the driver picked up me and my colleague to take us back to the hotel.
While we were riding back, talking about our "action items," I heard the driver speaking on his cellphone. His words sounded Russian, although I couldn't understand them. Then, I heard him say the word, "слушаете ." I know this word from my Pimsleur lessons! It was the only word that I understood, but it was enough to alert me to the fact that

I have found one: a native speaker! The holy grail!

So, thank goodness, I had had a little bit to drink. Therefore, I had the courage to say,"Вы говорите по-русски?" I can't tell you how nervous I was. I sat there, hoping that, oh god, don't let me have just insulted this man... what if I incorrectly heard Russian coming from his mouth? What if it was Belarussian or something?

He turned around and looked at me... and smiled. He responded something like, yes I do.

We had reached the end of our destination at that point. He told me the fare was $30, so I clumsily took $40 out of my handbag and gave it to him, saying "Сорок долоров." He gave me a receipt and returned $5 to me. I told him no, but he pushed the $5 bill at me and asked me to keep it. I didn't know what to do, so I just took it back. Honestly, it is late and I feel a bit guilty that he had to pick us up so late.

Then he asked me, in English, if I spoke Russian. So I said, "немного" just as Pimsleur taught me. He smiled again.

I am so excited! I got to speak Russian in a real live situation and the other person understood me, at least a little! It's my first time! He was so much more friendly and forgiving than I had expected. I feel like I have made a big accomplishment; albeit a small conversation, I have officially spoken my Pimsleur phrases and been understood.

We'll need a driver again on Thursday to get to the airport. It will be early in the morning on Thursday, so I will have to start drinking quite early in order to have the courage to try another Russian conversation.


No comments: