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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

A Funny Thing Happened on Our Way to Russian Class

173437302You know that we believe in keeping our kids’ Russian language alive. Well, at least lukewarm. I could quiz them myself and put them through the paces, but then that would simply build up more reasons as to Why Mama is Ruining My Life.

Better that we pay someone and they can be the object of their contempt.

Only it never turns out that way. Our Skype tutor is an absolutely delightful young woman who could not be more encouraging when it comes to Russian language learning. The kids enjoy her, and while it takes work preparing for lessons, it’s still a pleasant learning experience.

As a highly-mobile family, sometimes the inevitable happens and we are on-the-go during a previously-scheduled lesson.carriage-600 This week, we stopped in a picturesque town full of history and horse-drawn carriages. The boys planned to Skype with the tutor on their i-Pad Mini.

So far, so good.

I decide that their father should stay with them, the two boys, and of course, the two dogs. First, they had to drop me off with the two girls, because the fewer people in an SUV during a tutorial with an open mike, the better, I reasoned.

20110702-071131“We’ll go off and have some girl-time fun,” I told them conspiratorially, having no idea what I was saying, nor how we might occupy ourselves for the next hour, but we went our merry way and they seemed to enjoy my diversions and banter along the way, strolling arm-in-arm, Euro-style.

Which left Benedetto trying to find an appropriately-shady parking spot in town, as spring temperatures and bright sunshine threatened to bake them all in a car whose windows should not be opened due to the open microphone situation. After all, a Russian tutor might become concerned hearing horses clomping past, and wild dogs barking like banshees at said horses. It would not enhance the learning experience, shall we say.

My husband was holding the i-Pad in one hand, driving and explaining the situation to Ms. Natasha, just in case she heard 2888261049_b823a036abany ambient noise. As he made a turn on a street that should have sufficient parking, the two Scotties, who had taken over my passenger-side front seat, began to stir. Grisha the younger saw something out the window, jumped on the armrest, which activated the automatic window, unrolling the window and proceeding to escape….

Petya leapt forward from a middle seat, and grabbed the lunging dog, as Benedetto held onto the electronics, while turning the steering over to his knee for a second, and rolling up the power-window with his other hand, locking it against the potential jail-bird.

Without missing a beat, the boys started their lesson, Benedetto found a park and walked the dogs, trying to keep them away from any horses, squirrels, or Russian lessons.

We never knew Russian could be so adventuresome.


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