Tuesday, July 13, 2010


I am not much of a photographer, but every so often when something seems pleasing, I try to take a photo.  Usually, the result manages to capture whatever stuck my fancy - enough to satisfy me.
Not in this case.  Anastasia has been taking Russian lessons from a friend of ours - Nastya came here before she started school in Russian, so while she can speak, she never learned to read and write.  Anyway, as she and her teacher worked I attempted to take photos of the tea things, and the book....with little success.  In person it all seemed very idyllic and beautiful.  The weather was lovely - and the setting, in Sveta's garden, so peaceful.  The tea things beautiful in their simple way. No hint of that in the photos, I'm afraid.

The sad little addendum is that somehow after only a few lessons, she dug in her heels and refused to go any longer.  (And she had requested the lessons in the first place!)  I cannot figure out why.  She loves to study and work.  She couldn't really articulate it, either which is not like her.  All I can think is that somehow it makes her sad...that she can't read and write?  That she isn't in Russia?  But even as she was telling me that she didn't want to go anymore, she was looking sad, but listening to Russian pop music, so it beats me.


Rachael said...

I'm guessing she is discouraged that is it hard, and she thinks it should be natural to her. Just a guess.

My Katya resists anything that she is not naturally good at...she hates to fail at anything.

Does Anastasia still speak Russian fluently? I suppose it would be easier to keep up in your house since she actually has someone to speak with in Russian on a regular basis.

We have kept Katya's lessons up and the result is that she understands Russian, but answers in English. She can read in Russian, but not on the same level she can in English, and I sometimes wonder if she understands all the words she is saying when reading. (She of course says she does, but I have my doubts...) Anyway, that is good enough for me. If I can keep it in her head, keep her exposed, I think she can pick it back up if so motivated as an adult.

Essie the Accidental Mommy said...

Well, I think the pics look nice, especially the tea pot. But, I am partial to dishes and accessories!

I agree with Rachael, it would be that way for Genea too. If she struggled consistently and failed, she would not want to go. On the other hand, if she were determined, nothing could stop her. Maybe A thinks she has something better to do? Or her friends would think Russian tutoring was "weird" ? Who knows.

FaerieMama said...

Annie, I LOVE that top photo. its what made me come to read the post before any other blogs! ( It showed up in my blog feeder with the photo). Sorry Nastya changed her mind about Russian. My Nastia would nEVER study it. The only thing that kept her fluent was the once a week call to her sister. I also learn best by only conversing. Maybe she could simply "converse" with Sveta instead of book-learning? That's how I learned!

Elizabeth said...

Context? I have tried to teach myself languages before, and it got pretty boring on my own. I also didn't particularly like the times when I showed up alone for Russian class. It's much more fun when there are classmates and other people to interact with.

You really have to have a need to use it, or else it is hard to be disciplined. Maybe if she had a Russian pen-pal or wanted to reach some of her relatives? But still, it can be such slow progress.

Diana said...

Does she still use Russian as her main language at home? Whilst we all speak Russian in our house, Andy and Max are the only ones with decent reading and writing skills. Both Natasha and Rowan left Russia at a younger age - and same as Nastya, they have trouble with reading and writing. Natasha can read and write some, but at a much lower level than her age demands.

However, I guess being conversational is half the battle, we'll look into reading and writing as they get older.

Tina in CT said...

By keeping up her verbal maybe a light will go off when she's in college and she will pursue the reading/writing.

Tina in CT said...

P.S. You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink.

Jess said...

I'm guessing that it was too personal for her. Music she can disassociate herself with. Language, using words to express thoughts, feelings, emotions, well that is darn right intimate.
I would give her space.

Jess said...

ok what I didn't say earlier, and may be completely off on, is that perhaps the russian stuff is too painful.
Even if she asked for it, perhaps she started and then remembered things?
Having come from an abusive environment, I can see or smell or hear something sometimes and it drags me back to that time when things happened.
I'm all for holding onto culture, but I also believe that if that is the culture which allowed you to be mistreated, then perhaps it's ok to wait a while and handle it.
Think broken leg.
If your daughter had a broken leg, would you let her run track? Even if she asked for it? Probably not.
Emotional wounds are soo hard to gauge sometimes.
I may be way off for your situation.

Annie said...

Maybe it is something "deep", but generally it is "all Russia all the time" at our house and the kids are generators of this.... But I don't know. Maybe Sveta talked too much Russian with her and put her off. Maybe she hadn't done her homework! I may never know. Actually reading and writing Russian (if you can speak) it ISN'T hard. That's why we waited this long. It is altogether phonetic. I'll share if the mystery is solved.