Russian Romance – I Love You
Romance and Russia, the two words just go together. Unless, of course, you are trying to speak in Russian.
The Russian language is not one that is typically considered a romance language. Based on the Cyrillic alphabet, there are a lot of stops and starts not to mention the occasional harsh noise. Given the fact that I was from California and thus could barely speak proper English, it was all the more a challenge.
In that I was living in Russia for a year, it was inevitable I would pick up a Russian girlfriend. Hey, there had to be at least one crazy one in the city!
Russian women are much sought after for their beauty and grace. Indeed, 9 out of 10 desperate men prefer to order addresses from a Russian mail order bride web site versus all other nationalities. Okay, I made that up, but you get the idea.
In truth, I found Russian women to be all they are touted to be and excellent cooks. As a single male in Siberia sans microwave, the cooking part was critical. Due to the lack of Pepto in Siberia, poisoning oneself is not recommended.
Still, Russian women do suffer from one flaw inherent in all women. Upon finding a boyfriend lacking in certain areas, a Russian woman will endeavor to fix them. In my case, the improvement involved the Russian language and love.
Ya tyebya lyublyu! This is the Russian phrase for “I love you.” At no point in time could I pronounce it correctly. I could declare my love, but never in the right direction. Because of the nuances of the Russian language, my inability to profess my love would lead me to say the equivalent of:
“I love tree”
“I love door”
“I love dog”
Of course, I could cuss like a local, but that was frowned upon by the girlfriend.
After months of aggravation, my girlfriend became determined to resolve this flaw in my moral character. Practice was the key and practice I did. Like that odd person in the bookstore, I mumbled “Ya tyebya lyublyu!” everywhere I went. This often led to random Russian women smiling at me and less enthusiastic Russian men giving me harsh looks. I won’t even mention what the occasional dog tried to do to my leg. Despite my efforts, my immortal soul could not be fixed. We gave up. Still, she had the determined look in her eyes, so I knew I wasn’t out of the woods yet.
One fine Siberian winter morning, which is to say it was –30 degrees, I was groggily greeted by an excited Tatyana. I was ordered to say “yellow blue bus.” I did. I was told to say it faster. I did. A yelp of triumph was heard across the permafrost of Siberia.
I had learned how to say “I love you” in Russian.
The door to which I had professed my love so many times went into depression.