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Sally, Serafima and Me

Serafima gettin' crazy


i feel like you all should know about this subject. its too much a part of our lives here for you to be left in the dark. we live with an old woman named Serafima, who speaks no english. she is a widow, and about 70 years old, i think. she feeds us one meal per day. we are responsible for breakfast and lunch, she gives us dinner. sally and i are convinced that it is her mission in life to make us fat. its not enough that traditional russian food contains lots of oil and butter, she will watch us eat and point to whatever we havent finished as if to say "you need more", even when our bodies are screaming for us NOT to take another bite. sometimes its just comical. we see the bread in front of us that we havent eaten yet, but she still points to it to remind us that it is still there, and needs to be eaten. "Kushitz! Kushitz!" she barks, which means to eat, eat. she has a very intimidating voice for an old woman. and, when shes home (sometimes she prepares our meal and then leaves), we can feel her ever-watchful, Babushka eyes upon us, just waiting for us to clean our plate so she can offer us seconds. from stories we've heard from students of their Babushka, this is very common. one girl even said, "you have to take a stand, be firm, with your Babushka, or she'll walk all over you." of course, she was kidding, but not really. when sally and i are full, we just have to draw the line and say "nyet, spaciba", no thanks. when you turn down food, no matter what it is, the look on Serafimas face is horrible. its almost as if shes let down, dissapointed and surprised. so then, in order to please your babushka, you eat more out of guilt. what a glorious day it was when we learned how to say we were full!! she finally understood that our tiny little american stomachs had no more room left.

those of you who know me realize that im making this out to be more than it is. it isnt this dramatic, but we make it out to be because it makes us laugh. she is very kind and hospitable, and we are grateful. we think its just the nature of an old woman who has lived in a dark, poor country for so long that causes her to behave this way. there was a time when food was not available. now it is, and im sure she cant imagine for food to go to waste. she wants us to be healthy, warm and fat. so she tries her hardest to feed us as much as possible. soon, we will be in countries where food may not be so abundant. it is then that we will regret not taking the advice of our Babushka.

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