Thursday, July 12, 2007

St. Cyril's Magic Pen

Yet another byproduct of the move is that we have to switch daycares. The one we've been using since Abby was three months old is this really fantastic one where everybody is super nice. They don't feed the kids gruel, they don't make them stitch clothes or butcher chickens or anything. Really top notch. It's run by a Russian family and all of the daycare workers are Russian.

As a farewell, Nikki got cards for the women, particularly Vita, who has mainly been responsible for Abby for months. Abby and Vita both smile whenever they see each other and that's a really nice thing that assuages the guilt of daycare. But Vita doesn't speak that much English. "Wake up...bottle...caca..." and that's about it. Which, of course, is much more than I know in Russian.

So Nikki wanted to write Vita's card in her native tongue and found this English to Russian translator online. But writing the message entails a quick mastery of the Cyrillic alphabet and that thing is no joke, man. I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "Oh, come on. There's a backwards n and an upside down r. It's easy!" Listen, pal, there's a letter that at first looks like an asterisk, but upon closer inspection is more like two Ks lining up back to back. One letter looks like those beachfront houses that are on stilts to stay dry at high tide. And one letter looks like a slaughtered pleasant lying in a fallow field. I think that's their Q. And they have four differents Os. You don't just pick up Cyrillic on a rainy day.

Maybe it's not like the Chinese alphabet, where you can change the character for "happy, loving mother" into the character for "abused street whore who doesn't charge enough" by making one line three centimeters longer, but still. I have the feeling this Cyrillic card is either going to amusingly awkward and sweet, or just totally illegible.

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