The last few days I've played the role of tour guide, introducing you to all the places we visited. But our trip to Russia was much more than a waltz past countless beautiful buildings. It was total immersion into a completely different culture. One with a language that doesn't resemble English in any way shape or form. It wasn't like going to Canada or Mexico where the language base is similar enough that we get the jist of what is happening around us, nothing about the Russian language is similar to our language.
When we started this process with Max, they told us not to bother learning any Russian. It's a hard language to learn, and it's much easier for his little spongy kid brain to learn English than it is for our crusty adult brains to learn Russian. So we learned enough phrases to get by... please, thank you and STOP IT! That's about all you really need when dealing with a child, not so much when addressing the airline stewardess who doesn't speak any English. The phrase "nyet pa Russky" came in rather handy during our stay.
If I had one thing to take away from my experiences in a culture where little to no English is spoken it's this. There is a lot to be said for nonverbal communication. We held our own with a few well placed points and gestures. But boy were we ever glad to be back on our home turf. I don't think I've ever been so thrilled to ask a stranger a question without having to plan in advance about how to get my point across.