As my boyfriend and I were drifting off to sleep a couple of weeks ago I mentioned how when we finally make it to Australia in September this year it would be great to head to Tasmania. Startled, he asked ‘Tasmania is in Australia??’ This is not the usual question I get when the little island at the bottom of our great country comes out of my mouth. Either you’ve heard of it, and an inbred joke is coming, or you have no idea what I’m talking about. Confused, I asked ‘where did you think it was?’ ‘I don’t know,’ he responded, ‘i never realised vampires came from Australia.’ After a moment or two of trying to work out what the hell he meant, and at first questioning whether he was confusing the Tasmanian Devil (something else I was shocked he’d heard of) I worked out what he was referring to… Transylvania. Yes, the castle in Romania where Dracula lives. Definitely different from TAS-MAN-IA. It’s going to be a long time before he lives this one down.
|Where Dracula ‘reportedly’ lives. No, it’s not in Tasmania.|
This is one of my favourite things about being with someone who is from a completely different culture to me – he makes me laugh at things that before were just a normal part of my thought process and identity. And being around his parents is much of the same. His sister just says random English words and then i try to put them together as thought it’s a puzzle. It’s like being on a quiz show, and we get to use hand movements as an added bonus. Though the other night she did suddenly come out with ‘see you later alligator!’ as she was leaving. She was so proud of herself for remembering it we laughed together for a good few minutes.
Meanwhile, his parents more enjoy watching me do, or attempt to do, shots. We have a term in Australia – where you have a ‘face like a cat’s ass’ – and your whole face, i.e. eyes, cheeks and mouth, basically completely screw up towards the centre of your nose (do feel free to try it if you’re reading this in private, it’s quite an uncanny comparison!). That’s exactly what I look like when I do shots. And for a group of Russians who are used to vodka and whisky every 20 minutes I’m a constant source of entertainment for them while we all partake in the ritual. And then, after 5 the boy will step in and protect me from anymore as i start to feel woozy and hot and my legs begin to tingle. I’ve actually moved from being able to do 4 shots to 5 – my tolerance is increasing!!
Meanwhile we seem to find a common ground in speaking German to one another – I’m still not confident and while his mother can speak fluently his father can’t yet so it’s good to just say random words to one another and it makes sense, much like his sister with me. After dinner the other night, which I cooked for everyone – they had never tried stir-fry before and were amazed at how easy it was to make! – we sat around laughing at funny pictures of turtles that I found on my Facebook newsfeed. It really is the simple things that make a night when you’re on limited language terms.
|This is funny in any language|
But the love they’ve shown me since getting to know me has been clear despite our lingual differences. They seem much more keen to live in Australia than the boyfriend at the moment with his father extensively googling the beaches available in the country, and every night I get strange questions from them like, ‘what is your address at home so we can look it up on google maps and find out where you grew up’… it seems they’re as interested in the different culture in me as I am in them and should this continue to blossom, then his family accepting me without any Russian blood or the ability to speak any language they understand makes them a pretty wonderful bunch.