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Russia is portrayed to the West as a cold, hard place with some magical architecture, myriad vodka shots, and a leader who dances with bears and who, for some unfathomable reason, never wears a shirt. Whilst it is cold, vodka certainly exists, and calendars featuring a shirtless Putin and puppies are not in short supply, there are a thousand misconceptions about Russian culture and people.
The people are portrayed in the countless American films featuring Russians as spies or members of gangs who continue to refer to each other exclusively as comrade (which, incidentally, is a word that came into English via the Romance languages and is not at all a Russian word! After living here for long enough to catch a decent glimpse into Russian culture, here are the things that I want you to know about Russia and Russians: Before I get stuck into this point, I want to make it clear that I do not condone any “traditional” view of women that involves domestic violence or any kind of behaviour that devalues, disrespects or degrades the importance of the woman’s free will.
I am guilty of forgetting that this level of fluency isn’t the norm in Russia and have made more than one assumption of understanding only for it to come back and bite me since I got here. 🙂 I asked my friend if he likes spicy food, he assured me that he does.
Unfortunately, he thought that “spicy” food was food prepared with spices and he was taken aback by the heat in the Mexican beans that I had prepared. I have learned to be a little more careful with the way I phrase things in the dating scene. Firstly, if my advocacy subject at University taught me nothing else, it’s that you should be wary of questions you do not know the answer to.
Secondly, whilst native speakers understand that this question means , a non-native speaker might (as I found out) think that you’re asking whether he has any kind of feelings about you, like whether he finds you funny at times, or friendship.
In this post she shares about her experience as a woman dating in Russia while learning the language.
This is a topic I have a lot to say about personally as I had a Russian girlfriend during my time in Kazan which I partly credit with helping me learn the language so quickly (links to my story below).