Anya and Valentina

 

About a week ago I got to go to Krasnouralsk to visit Anya's grandmother with her and do some filming for my project.  Her grandmother, Valentina, is close to 90 years old and just one of the most pleasant old women you'd ever meet.  She took us on a tour of her small town, showing us some of her favorite places and introducing us to every person along the way.  Each person we walked by, she tried to convince them to let us interview them.  She, of course, was too shy to be interviewed herself, but really wanted us to still have people to talk to.

She was so excited (and originally nervous) to meet Americans.  Everybody in the town was.  Someone even called a friend to say they were talking to  two Americans (Tree and I).  The person on the phone did not believe him and insisted that we could not possibly be "real Americans".

One thing that I never really realized about Russia, is how many languages are spoken here.  It makes sense as the country is so massive and old.  Valentina spoke a language that I cannot remember the name of, but it is the native language of Krasnouralsk.  She tried to teach Anya simple phrases over dinner and laughed quite hard when they were completely butchered.  She did the same to me in Russian.  But nonetheless, she still spoke slowly and was very patient with my quite poor Russian language.  Between that and he delicious cooking, she would be the perfect Russian grandmother.  I asked her if she would be my adopted Russian grandmother.  She, of course, agreed to it.

We were the first foreigners she has ever met.  And, luckily for her, we are quite nice and pleasant people.