(It occurred to me that it is Tuesday, but that this is not a Torah Tuesdays post. I plead sleep-deprivation and mommy-brain. Hope you enjoy the following post, regardless of its out-of-order appearance).
A Russian son calls his mother three times a week and she asks him why he’s not calling more. An American daughter calls her mother three times a week and she asks her why she’s calling so much.
Generally, the idea is to marry someone with a lot in common with you. This is supposed to cut down on misunderstandings So, as a staunchly Midwestern creatively-minded girl who came to Jewish observance post-college, I should have sought out someone with a similar background. Who did I marry? A science-minded doctor who immigrated from the Ukraine, was raised in the south and became observant in high school.
So, what happens when two people with divergent backgrounds come together?
Well, for one, I found out that there are other ways to eat a banana. My husband starts from the bottom (he would say it’s the top). He uses the stem part as a handle. Even though I still find it weird, it has a certain practicality to it. I mean, that stem does look like a little handle.
Also, Russian fairy tales are creepy. Apparently there is a little lullaby which ends with something along the lines of “and if you sleep too close to the end of the bed a little wolf will come and bite you.” This is not in the forest, people. This is in your room. Besides creepy lullabies, there are stories which end rather dismally. There’s one about a piece of straw, a boot and something else, and the story ends with everyone dying while frogs are laughing at them. There are others with titles like “Who lived in the skull?” and “Tale of the dead princess and the seven knights.” At least the Brothers Grimm are a little less obvious about their creepiness. (My husband wanted me to mention that he doesn’t actually read any Russian folk tales to our children)
Another difference is in our opinions of whether or not to smile in official, government I.D.s like driver’s licenses, passports, etc. My husband maintains that you’re not supposed to smile; it obscures your features or something. I have always smiled in my photo I.D.s.; it just looks better. I can’t really blame him for his opinion, though. My mother-in-law did tell me that when they left the Soviet Union, they were told not to smile for their exit visa thing because “no one was supposed to be happy to leave Russia.” For real.
Besides for providing these cultural enhancements to my life, my husband, through a combination of coming to the U.S. and becoming frum in high school, is unaware of various American traditions.
Like grilled cheese belonging with tomato soup. Or breakfast food being served for dinner.
Yes, it probably would have been simpler if I had married someone who was my carbon copy, but it would be so dull. I mean, would my carbon describe certain Sesame Street characters as “the weird-looking fuzzy red thing” (That’s Elmo, by the way)?
It’s much more entertaining this way. да, очень