There’s a playground outside of our new apartment in the city of Karakol. My son, Ryan, loves it. I see him playing on the crude, cold, welded metal playground equipment that you see in every play place in Kyrgyzstan. The weather is cool this evening. Ryan runs in shorts and a t-shirt, while the local kids are clothed in long sleeves and pants. We are obviously the odd ones out on the playground. Not long outside, Ryan takes a pretty good fall and gets up crying. “Get up Ryan. Don’t cry”, I tell him, but with little effect. Then from behind me a woman says “Ryan, ne plach”, and Ryan immediately stops his whimpering and continues to run and play.
The lady behind me is a local Kyrgyz woman who watches over the kids who live in our apartment complex. She tells me that my son looks just like a Kyrgyz boy. We carry on a small conversation until it is time to go home. When I get home I tell my wife, LaVena, that our son understands “don’t cry” in Russian from a lady he barely knows. We think that it is a bit funny that Ryan obeyed the Russian command and understood it completely.
I think it’s time to start commanding Ryan in Russian. It will be great practice for the both of us.