Okay, not with actual bombs, but it was a nice attention-grabbing title. Lately, I have been around more Russians than ever before. The problem? Even among polite and educated people, they really love their language…and well, I might know how to point things and call them by their name, but I’m nowhere near understanding conversations (yet!), so if you don’t remind them to switch back to English, you can get isolated pretty fast. In particular, if they start drinking, I’ve seen they are much MUCH more likely to switch back to Russian. Also, if there is some slightly complex task, like learning how to play a board game, brace yourself to be bombarded by Russians speaking Russian.
It makes me want to understand their language even more…and I start wondering about babies and how just by listening to a language every day, they start understanding it…wish something like that could happen to me (c’mon dear brain, you can do this!), but unfortunately I’m pretty sure my learning will be a lot harder and troublesome.
At least I get happy every time I’m in the middle of two people speaking in Russian, or watching a soccer game of Spartak vs (basically anyone), and I’m able to catch some keywords to broadly know what they are talking about. It is motivating. Nevertheless, at the same time, this double-bladed sword also makes me sad sometimes, because it is very hard not to feel isolated.
I also have a group of friends where most of us are Spanish native speakers. I have heard American friends from the same group complaining because they say we (specially Argentinians tbh hehe) switch to Spanish out of the blue, and they feel excluded. I completely understand how they feel now, and it is horrible and uncomfortable.
Lesson of the day: If you happen to have friends who speak different languages, please try to stick to the one all of you have in common. It might be tempting to go back to the language you are more comfortable with sometimes, but it will mean a LOT to those around you.