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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…!

Sashenka-isms: Words & Phrases That Make No Sense

Sashenka is our youngest, a cute blond girl turning twelve soon.  She has a mind of her own, that is generally unlike any other mind I have had the privilege of meeting.  Plus, she talks a lot.  This particular combination may prove dangerous to the mental health of any unsuspecting  bystander.

“They’re Germans,” she whispers to her siblings about some nearby persons while out on a grocery shopping trip.

“They’re Russians,” the others whisper back.  “Didn’t you hear them speaking Russian?”

“I heard one say, ‘Yah,’ and only Germans say, ‘Yah.’”

“‘Yah’ means ‘I’ in Russian-!” the others are incredulous.  “We say ‘yah’ all the time.  Are you forgetting Russian?”

“Whatever,” she shrugs it off, undeterred by the truth.  “But I could ask them if they speak German, and then we’d know for sure.”

“Oh?” one of her brothers asks.  “How would you do that?”

“I’d ask, ‘Speakity Deutsch?’”

“Speakity Deutsch???   Speakity Deutsch-?!   Papa, can you talk some sense to her?” they plead.

“It would make no difference, no difference at all,” he concedes.

In school, as well, things come out differently for Sashenka.  She insists, when answering a problem incorrectly, “But I read it four or three times!”

“Four or three times?” I echo.  “Is that like three or four times?”

Sometimes, when our family takes an outing in the car, the kids try to point out this or that.  I’m always unsure if they know right from left, so I ask in Russian, “Nah prah’vah?  Nah lyeh’vah?”

Sashenka pipes up.

“I know left—Left, Right, South, East, West!”

“Um-hmm…” I say, unimpressed, realizing that we’ll have to explain directions another hundred times, now that she was adding compass directions to right or left.  “You WRITE  with your RIGHT hand….”

These things take time with Sashenka.  She’s generally too busy talking to listen to reason.  After a quick “Dah, Mama,” she totally ignores anything that’s just been said, and goes back to the error of her ways.

Speaking of her future, Sashenka declares that one day she’d like to become a “sheffer”.  A sheffer?  Certainly:  as in a driver drives, and a sheffer chefs!

We stop one day into a retail store’s bathroom.  Sashenka calls from her restroom stall to my restroom stall.

“Mama, what’s a polyanthropologist?”

“A what?  A polyanthropologist?  Why do you ask?” I wonder.

“It’s one of my terms that I need to look up, but I can’t find it in the dictionary.”

“Well, I’ve never heard of that term, but you know that anthropologists study human beings and their behavior, whether it’s how different cultures behave, or what social organizations develop over time or in different parts of the world….  But polyanthropology?  Poly means ‘many’…. And of course, archaeology is a sub-discipline of anthropology….”

“And what about dinosaurs?” she asks.

“That’s paleontology.  Most people think that archaeologists are out searching for dinosaurs, but that’s what paleontologists do….”  I say, still figuratively scratching my head over polyanthropology.

We emerge from our stalls to greet another woman changing her baby’s diaper at the change station.  It was still early August.

“Has school started already?” she inquired.

“No, I don’t think so,” I laughed.  “We’re homeschoolers, so we study pretty much year-round….”

“I see,” she replied.  “I used to be a school teacher and just wondered.”

I considered what she might be thinking about our classical discussion in the ladies’ room.  For all I knew, maybe she knew what a polyanthropologist was, but we declined to bother a woman with babe-in-arms.  I sent the kids back to their father in the car, while I picked up a few items, telling Sashenka to ask her father for the definition.  When I entered the car a few minutes later, the truth came out.

“So what’s a polyanthropologist?” I started.

“Don’t ask,” Benedetto answered.  “It’s a made-up word that she can’t look up, because she refuses to copy it correctly.  The term is ‘paleoanthropologist’.”

“PALEO,” I shake my head, “not poly….”

Yet another Sashenka-ism.

Speakity Deutsch?




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2 Comments : Leave a Reply

  1. avatar Shelley says:

    So funny, Sashenka must keep things hopping around your place! She sounds delightful.

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