Life turns on a dime

Spider's webI had to look that up to make sure I had the saying right.  But the shallow pit of despair that was threatening to turn in a bona fide abysmal mine shaft of treacherous rock has miraculously filled with a spring-like buoyancy.  I’ve been spit back up into the land of (almost) sane and solid ground.  In other words, life turns on a dime.  How does that happen?  Over and over again I am reminded of the lovely words of the lovely poet Jane Hirshfield who boiled Buddhist philosophy down to three sentences–Everything changes.  Everything is connected.  Pay attention.

Good words to live by.  I went to traffic court today for a speeding ticket.  My plea–not guilty.  We’ll see how the trial turns out in March.  Then I had a meeting for a new work venture which went really well.  More on that soon.  I ate a delicious chocolate cupcake from Jamaica’s Cakes on Pico.  And came home to Kristina, our Russian foreign exchange student making Russian crepes.  Really delicious and her first time cooking them.  She even promised to clean up the kitchen.

And this brings me to the real point of this post.  Having Kristina living with us has been very cool.  She’s a funny, smart, talkative girl.  We’ve done some traveling to introduce her to America, shared our home and gotten to learn about her culture.  It’s also been a chance for me to remember some of the key values I hold as a parent.  We had to set up rules, expectations and introduce a new girl into our crazy life.  Things like bed time, meal time and other daily routines had to be figured out to make Kristina comfortable and feel like this is her home.  I was a little nervous at first.  We were all on our best behavior for a while, but now we’ve reverted to our messy sort of life.  Thankfully, she fits right in, otherwise the strain of behaving would just have been too much.

Kristina’s English is good and getting better all the time, but little sayings still give her pause.  Here’s a list we compiled of some Russian superstitions/sayings:

You don’t go back into a room you’ve just left.  It’s bad luck.
If you’re nose itches, you’ll drink alcohol.
If you’re talking and the other person sneezes, then what you’re saying is true.
If you drop a fork from the table, a woman is coming.  Drop a knife and a man will come.
Spill salt and someone will argue with you.
You can’t eat in front of a mirror or you’ll get fat.
Don’t brush your hair before bed.  It’s bad luck.
If you have a bad dream, you should tell someone before 12 or it will come true.

Kristina always mentions her dreams to me in the morning.  Good or bad.  I think it’s her insurance policy.

There was a little spider in the bathroom one night and I said I wasn’t going to kill it.  “That’s right,” Kristina said.  But she was curious as to why I don’t kill spiders.  “Because they eat mosquitoes.”  This cracked her up.  “I never heard this before.”  She kept laughing.  “You are so funny.  If you kill a spider, you won’t have any money.  Everyone knows this.”  And then she walked away repeating my line about mosquitoes and laughing.

Hmmpff…Maybe it’s not the spiders that bring money, but ridding the world of mosquitoes that’s actually good fortune.

14 thoughts on “Life turns on a dime

  1. Deborah:
    What a delicious story. Time is running by so enjoy what is left of this amazing tansformative year for you, Kristina and your family.’

    • We definitely will. I think June is going to come up very quickly. But thanks for the reminder, we all want to get as much as we can from this year and our connection.

      Take care.

  2. We had a German exchange student live with us for a few weeks when I was a senior in High School. All she wanted to do was hang out with her boyfriend. I like yours better. She sounds funny.

    • I never really thought about hosting an exchange student, but Kristina needed to make a change from the first family she was with and my youngest daughter invited her into our lives. I’m so glad she did. It’s been worth giving up my office so Kristina could have a bedroom!

  3. What a great story! My husband is Hungarian and believes all types of superstitions likes these! Like Kristina, he believes it is bad luck to go back into the house once you have left….unless you make a scary face in the mirror when you go back in to ward off the evil spirits. :)

  4. Lovely story….we’ve never had an exchange student live with us but we did live overseas for almost a year and were exposed to a variety of people and cultures with differences : )

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