Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Language Barrier

Russian or Ukranian; it is all the same to me, but not for Nina.

Today the housekeeper came. She offered for her to stay with Nina so I could go shopping because I don't have warm clothes for her...they are just different from what they wear here, I have realized that it doesn't matter what she wears, they just don't think they are good enough because they wear different clothes. If only they knew it gets a lot colder in our neck of the woods than here! Besides, I don't know her, I cannot really communicate with her, I would not leave Nina and go somehwere.

However, as soon as the housekeeper walked into the room, Nina was excited. Not just a little excited, but very excited. It didn't matter what we were playing with, she wanted to show her, to talk to her. She spends all day with a mama that can't understand her, and that she cannot understand, but here comes lady who she can actually talk to!

It did make me a little jealous, she definitely does not talk to me like she does to the housekeeper, or Kim and Jerry. I understand why, but it is a little hard to see. At least with Kim and Jerry they can tell me what they are talking about. With the housekeeper I am clueless! I realized that I could have very well left and Nina would have been fine. Not that I needed to, or that I would be comfortable with that, but Nina would have been fine.

I know Nina was singing songs and saying rhymes with the housekeeper. That worker at the orphanage really did care about the kids, she did her best to teach them things. Nina is Ukranian after all, this is her culture, and she knows it. She is not just an orphan girl with no idea about the customs and traditions.

It was a reminder that Nina's world is changing, and that it is hard for her. Do I think she likes having a mama, and that she is happy with me? Yes I do. Do I think she is having a hard time transitioning? Yes I do.

It is part of the process, and we take it one day at a time. The more she hears English the more she will pick up words her and there, and eventually, her Ukranian will be gone. It is kind of sad.

On the meantime, I am glad that she can have those connections and that she can talk to other people.

Also, she seems to be getting a cold. Please pray that she gets better and stays healthy!


Nan and Dan said...

Danny dropped his Russian within weeks of coming home and he was 2. If someone tried to talk to him in Russian he would cry. He understood it was different once home. In country he seemed clueless about language. We used sign language and a few select russian words to help us. But he also talked very little, just nodded and went with the flow. I am sure it will be totally different with Svetlana as she is 5.
Praying for good news soon :)
Just smile at the babushkas and say hello, it will drive them crazy :)

Robbie and Heidi said...

Hi Ellen!
I really have no related experience in which to offer advice or encouragement. I just wanted to let you know you are still on my heart. I too am bummed that you will not be home for Christmas, I was really hoping, too. But, I am also blessed by the peace God has given you as you adjust. May you be blessed with a unique, wonder-filled, and memorable Christmas, both on the 25th and when you get back to IA.

Maria E Armendariz said...


Estaba pensando que deberias de grabar conversaciones en ruso de la nina con alguien alla, para que ella escuche eso de vez en cuando y no se le olvide. Tambien quiza sea bueno que compres peliculas de Disney o asi en ruso para que ella las vea cuando se sienta frustrada y al menos entienda algo.
Pidele a tus amigos los misioneros que se queden con Nina cuando vengan a visitarte por un par de horas y ve de compras y compra musica para ninos y peliculas, quiza uno pueda ir contigo de compras y el otro se queda en casa. Ya no la saques con el frio por la posibilidad de la gripa.
Hoy llega Andy y las ninas segun su email,e staremos agurdandolos y pasaremos Navidad juntos.
Un beso,

Darla said...

Hi, Ellen,
I have been thinking about the language situation and was wondering if you had thought about buying CDs with kids song, stories, etc, in the local language? It might be a way for Nina to hold on to her current language while she is learning English. It might be fun for Ellie & Nichole, too. Nina could teach them a new language. Just a thought...looking forward to seeing you all soon!!