Life At Point C

Experiencing Life along the Silk Road

You’re Not From Here!?

1 Comment

Tsum, which in Russian is short for Central Universal Market, is a shopping center (somewhere in between a mall and a department store) that sells everything from electronics to clothing to souvenirs. One March day we were doing some souvenir shopping there and while it was chilly outside it was really warm inside. It was so warm that my cheeks started to burn and I knew they were red. I tried to ignore it while I looked at some souvenirs in one booth, while Derrick walked on. I asked the lady, “How much for this?” She responded but I didn’t understand her. I asked for the price of something else and again did not understand her. I thought, “Surely, I understand numbers. I’ve only been studying Russian for almost a year.” I was starting to get frustrated. I decided to confirm that I knew the language so I asked the price of something that had a price tag on it. Again, I did not understand.  What blows to my confidence! But wait….did she just say that price in Kyrgyz? Why was she responding in Kyrgyz to my Russian? Then it dawned on me: She was giving me the local price. There are a band of Kyrgyz that have bright red cheeks and I assume she thought I was one of them. Oh, what revelation and relief flooded my soul. A year of Russian was not wasted after all. She soon picked up that I didn’t understand Kyrgyz but continued to give me prices for things below the marked price. I thought to myself, “This is my lucky day!” and did not let on that I wasn’t local. Derrick returned to the booth and the lady quickly asked him, “Where are you from? What is your nationality?” He answered, “I’m from America. You know the Apache tribe?” Her face lit up. He went on to tell her that I was his wife and that I, too, was Native American. “She is also Native American?!” she responded shocked and I knew my cover had been blown. I had been found out. The realization that I wasn’t local made her feel a bit foolish as I could see it in her demeanor and smile. Without wanting to disappoint and make her feel worse, we went on and bought a few things from her. I walked away from her booth with a little silly smile on my face satisfied that my bright red cheeks got us a discount.

One thought on “You’re Not From Here!?

  1. Love it!


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