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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…!

Letters To the Homeland

thI started making inquiries in November, asking the children who wanted to write letters to Russia for the New Year. Everyone there celebrated “Novwee Gohd”, with Russian Christmas not happening until January 7th.

“It’s that time of year again,” I explained carefully.  “You may wish to keep in contact with directori, vaspitateli, any kind of orphanage workers whom you remember.  Or, you may want to drop a card to extended family members….”

“Do we have to?” one asked, who shall remain nameless for no good usa-z-russian-christmas-cardreason.

“Nope, not really.  However, when someone has been kind to me, or helpful, I certainly like to let them know that I appreciate their kindness,” I explained.  “Listen, a lot of adopted kids face the situation of parents hoping for them to stay in touch with abusers.  You know that Mama and Papa are not like that.

“If someone has mistreated you, I don’t think it’s a good idea to try to contact them,” I shook my head.  “Instead, I’m speaking of good people who fed you, or were a blessing to you.”

“Nope, nobody,” this one summed up, while the other three told her she was nuts.

hny599She was also lazy, having the least recall of Russian, and the least desire to keep it up.  Anytime she was given a choice, she would jump for the path of least resistance, even if the jumping required some small effort on her part.

“I can help you with the Russian, if that’s a problem,” I offered, knowing she had the best life of any of our kids.  “I look over everyone’s Russian.”

“I wouldn’t know what to say in English.”a1b03ec5a40202336363ad22acd40eb0

“Usually, everyday life is what would be meaningful,” I gently suggested.  “What do you do each day?  Do you have a garden, or a hobby, what are your favorite foods, what do you study in school, how are the dogs?  You know, simple stuff, not that we jet around the world, live in various locales, speak many languages.  They can’t really relate to that.”

“No, I’m good—“ she insisted.


It was our initial foray into the subject for this year, and you know what?  I kinda hoped they might all forget, but I mentioned it once or twice more.  Around December 24th, when holiday preparations and russianchristmascelebrations had reached a fever pitch at our house and we were traveling once again, four-page letters in Russian started appearing for me to peruse and correct.

Two of the teens turn in nothing.  I feel that one might, but he is not a master of time management, either.  Our youngest remains happiest when she is bothered by nothing and by no one.  Both maintain a low profile, feeling put-out by any undue demands.

With one of the kids, I suggest that they rewrite the tome in English, their Russian was so hard to comprehend.  Nowadays, many of them were translating directly, word-for-word, and that never worked.  I showed them how to substitute words such as “class” for “grade” when discussing school, along with earning 5s instead of As, in order to make it more understandable.

In another one’s case, I could work straight from the Russian.  Our male family members tended to be95fd21a47303768051c10026ca6c2e6f short and sweet, while the female side of the family suddenly forgot what paragraphs were and rambled on and on, each claim to fame more over-the-top than the next.

“…I am now studying nuclear physics, working on a cure for cancer and world peace in my spare time, along with learning to be a pastry chef and veterinarian.  The whole family loves to speak Urdu and Mandarin PC140013Chinese, but we generally write letters in Sanskrit and text in Morse Code.  I am learning to play the bagpipes, mandolin, accordion, and harpsichord in a world-renowned academy of music.  To stay fit, I engage in ballet, gymnastics, ziplining, bellydancing and snowboarding….”

“Okay,” I glanced it over, picking up on the stream-of-consciousness style, and outrageous claims to fame.  “I’m going to help you sound good on paper, but do you really believe that since you saw a harpsichord once, you should say that you play it at the virtuoso level?”

“Well, I was thinking of it like this—“ the prime perpetrator starts, going off on a hare-brained Christmas 2013 Eve Celebrations In USA Russia New Yorkexplanation that does no justice to bunny rabbits’ brains.

We waded through.  I helped them to craft works of art.  One mailed off his letter, another is thinking through which photo might make her appear most like Marie Antoinette.

30f2e8123b0dca7a897e03c81fc8b7b8I give it a month or so, alright, maybe a week when she understands that the calendar stands still for no one, and it is indeed turning 2014.  If all goes well, maybe those back in the homeland will have the letters in hand by January 14th, in time for Old Russian New Year’s.

They will know that these Russian-American teens are alive, well, and thriving in their new life.  And for that, we are all very grateful.


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