In my opening post I wrote about my arrival in Kyiv to begin my life’s second adventure. I am an uncommon farm boy from rural Montana where less than a million people live. As you might expect I had a few adjustments to make living in a city of a several million foreign speakers. However, language wasn’t one of them because my wife speaks English quite well. She shepherded me every where I need to go in the beginning.
How many people do you know that takes his wife to a job interview with him? Yep, you read correctly. She sits in on all my interviews and I tell them she is my agent and she gets 95 percent of my salary as her commission. When the question of salary comes up I turn the interview over to her to negotiate the terms because she speaks the same language as the interviewer. It is fun to watch her negotiate in spite of not knowing what is actually being said.
My wife is quite special. We are very much kindred spirits in our moment in time. We always joke that it feels like we have been married for 35 years. Yes, we have our problems from time to time because of the differences in culture of the two countries we were raised. It all makes for an interesting life.
Another joy I have not speaking my wife’s native tongue is dealing with my mother-in-law who lives with us. We are both talkers and neither have a clue what the other is saying. It is quite comical our daily three ring circus. You know life is good when you can’t understand what your mother-in-law is saying!
My wife’s father has remarried and is a retired former colonel in the Soviet army. It was hard for him when his only child was to marry of all things an American. If that wasn’t bad enough, I committed the cardinal sin of all sins when I didn’t drink vodka with him when he toasted me on our first meeting. His daughter graciously told him before that I didn’t drink alcohol and I wasn’t being disrespectful by refusing. I had a glass of juice and he had vodka. I wasn’t what he expected an American son-in-law should be. I should have been one of those two fisted Hollywood type drinkers.
I believe he has forgiven his daughter for her mistake of marrying an American. He likes it when we come to visit because he knows that I don’t mind working. He always has a lot of projects lined up for me to do. It was his way of testing me. The two of them liked to sit under a giant walnut tree on a bench talking and watching me work. From time to time my wife would bring me some water, wipes the dirt off my face and tells me not to get so dirty. Her father thought I worked too hard. It was then I realized he had accepted me into the family.
My father-in-law has a good sense of humor. I recall my first visit to his village. Prior to our coming he told his neighbors his daughter had married an American and I was coming to buy land in their little village. Shortly after our arrival it wasn’t long before people from the village were looking over the fence to get a glimpse of me.
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