How do you convince a guy to text you every day and hangout with you every week without giving him the wrong idea?
Why would you want that, Katie?
If you want that much interaction you must like him!
False. There are circumstances were frequent platonic exchanges between two single people can mean nothing. Learning Russian would be one of those circumstances.
Yes, I have taken on the Cyrillic script and am attempting the lofty goal of fluency in a year. Why? Résumé-building, duh. And also because I really like learning languages… Spanish and Sign Language are next on my list.
So here is how the guy fits in:
Two Sundays ago I popped into the church kitchen to see how I could help my friend fulfill her Munch & Mingle responsibilities. I got to chatting with the M&M committee and somehow it came up that I was going to be starting my Russian class that week. A gentleman that I had only recognized as one of the ward organists excitedly stepped forward and uttered a few incomprehensible phrases. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that he is an RM from Eastern Ukraine who served Russian-speaking.
Truthfully I had been asking around for a while for someone who might speak Russian. I even got so desperate as to contemplate posting a request for help on the listserv. To accomplish my language goal, I had decided on a three-pronged plan of attack: 1) Sign up for a class offered by a non-profit in D.C., 2) use the free Rosetta Stone software available through my school daily, and 3) find an RM who speaks Russian and convince him/her to be there for general exposure and to answer questions. This guy’s unmasking was incredibly serendipitous!
I talked to him a bit more about my goal and as if he had read my mind, he offered to help if I ever needed it. All-business on my end and wanting to capitalize on this acquisition, I suggested that he should text me random Russian phrases that I can work on translating. He said okay.
Saying you will do something tends to be more of a courtesy today than an actual assurance of action. This guy was a refreshing surprise. He texted me the very next day. We ended up texting the entire week in Russian. (Though you should know that it took me almost a full day just to figure out what he said and then figure out how to say what I wanted to say back.) I was impressed and also entertained. It is like doing a cryptogram–the letters are strange but represent english letters. You just have to figure out what they are.
So things were going great until the dinner.
Near the end of our first week of officially knowing each other and texting only in Russian, he briefly switched to english to ask me if I wanted to attend a dinner he was holding with some friends. After overcoming my gut reaction to make an excuse, I said yes. I found out a little later that these “friends” were primarily a married couple and an engaged guy. His roommate joined us for the dinner as well but left right after that.
I was suspicious of his interest before but the Sunday night dinner confirmed it. Upon my arrival, his married friend questioned me like a good friend watching out for his buddy. My Russian-speaking friend introduced me to the couple’s baby right away, and I got the feeling he was testing my level of comfort with kids. He conveniently sat right next to me at dinner and then his friends decided to put him and I on the same team for the game we played after.
At the end of the party, when everyone said they had to get home for one reason or another, I figured the evening was over. So I stood at the back of the line as everyone filed out of the door to his apartment. When I got close, I reached for my bowl on the counter but put it back down almost immediately as my friend half-closed the apartment door and said he wanted to show me a few Russian things. “Do you have a minute?”
“Sure!” I replied. We ended up talking, looking at pictures, etc. for another 45 minutes at his place. He then walked me to the metro and we talked about how being a doctor in the military works. (Oh, yeah. He is in med school and being paid by the Army for it. His buddies and roommate are also at med school and are part of the Army, Air Force, and Navy, respectively.) Soon enough we reached that awkward moment of goodbye. Generally after a date you hug. You do the same after hanging out with a good friend. But what do you do after something that wasn’t a date but had obviously had the same intention of a date? The equation in my head also factored in the fact that we had only learned each others’ names seven days ago.
It was too much. I generally err on the side of being too friendly rather than too mean. I initiated the hug. Luckily I was holding a bowl in one hand so I only had to commit one arm. He seemed happy after that and kept reiterating how glad he was that I could come.
If you know me well, I am sure you can guess my catch phrase: He is a great guy but I don’t think I am interested in him.
Yes, this post has kind of turned into a dating story but remember how the whole beginning of our friendship was based on my grand goal to master this language that will be key to my future career? Dating hadn’t popped into my head once. All of my interactions with this kid were based on this one goal. So the Monday after the date <excuse me> dinner, when he texted me in English, I was so frustrated.
Why would you text me, “How was your day?” in English when that is so easy to do in Russian?! That phrase is in Chapter One of every language book!!
“How was your day?” in Russian is business.
“How was your day?” in English is flirting! AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT!
So this whole week (Week #2 of our odd relationship) he has been texting me in English. Only English! What is this kid doing to me?
What really kills me is that he doesn’t even get my jokes. I figured that if we were going to talk in a language I was familiar with, I would at least throw in a few witty remarks. HE DIDN’T LAUGH. Insult to injury.
Ironically, tonight I was rushing home from my Russian class (you could say I was rushin’ from Russian) to meet my home teacher and was surprised that he had actually brought a companion–an attractive companion.
Let’s take a moment to count the blessings here:
1. My home teacher is assigned to my whole apartment but his lack of communication had caused me to miss him when he came solo to deliver a message to my roommates, so tonight it was just me. Zero interference.
2. This particular home teacher NEVER brings a companion. (I think it is because he has a crush on my roommate.) But after yours truly forced him to commit to a time, place, and companion before I would meet with him, he brought someone.
3. This someone is the “hottest” guy in the ward. I don’t mean to sound shallow but that is the actual word around the Relief Society. I don’t compete for guys either, so I was able to do my own thing on my own turf. Home field advantage, if you will.
4. I was having a great hair day. We were up on the roof and there was even a breeze.
I may never talk to this guy again, but a girl can appreciate a good home teaching visit. 🙂