Friday, October 11, 2013

A Dark Forest for Me

I was recently introduced to a Russian expression that pretty well sums up my perpetual state of confusion in this country: “Это - темный лес для тебя.”  Literally translated: “It's a dark forest for you.” But in my quest to escape the dark forest of incompetence, I am taking 20 hours of Russian classes a week. The benefits are threefold: 1) Being able to communicate with words instead of hand gestures 2) Meeting fellow foreigners and 3) Having a reason to put on pants before noon.

My class is primarily made up of foreign men who came to Moscow after being ensnared by Russian women. There are two Frenchmen, a Dutchman, and a German guy, plus a Korean girl and me.  There's also a Spanish girl who makes cameo appearances, so I'm in no danger of losing my lisp anytime soon (¡grathias a Dios!).  Everyone speaks English fluently, which is convenient for me when the teacher wants to translate something, but slightly embarrassing when the foreigners grasp English grammar better than I do.

But language gains aside, I still haven't been able to wrap my head around this sign I came across in a park last week:

It says, “SWIMMING PROHIBITED” across the top, followed by a number to call in the event of an emergency below.  Have there been so many drownings in 3-inches of grass that they really needed a sign?  Hypotheses are welcomed.  In the meantime, I won't go near any fields without a pair of water wings and a lifeguard.

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