Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Catch Up/Ketchup

Okay. This is what my world looks like. Just so you know.

Recognize this product?

If you said "spaghetti," that's right. It's spaghetti. Which, in Cyrillic is СПАГЕТТИ. One more example of how ridiculously easy Russian is. S-P-A-G-E-T-T-I.

Once you decode the Cyrillic, so many words are the same or practically the same as in English.

Or at least French.

Or, in this case, Italian.

Can you find the word СПАГЕТТИ on the package?

You can't?

I'll give you a clue. Here it is.

What's that you say? It doesn't look like СПАГЕТТИ to you?


That's because it is in italic or cursive Cyrillic. Which is the bane of my existence. Those two letters that look like lower-case Ms . . . those are Ts. Uh-huh. They are too. And that letter that looks like a backwards S? That's a G. Which in printed Cyrillic looks like this: Г.

It used to make me cry when I encountered italic Cyrillic. It happens a lot with restaurant menus. Now I'm sort of on to their nasty little game, so while I can't say I really read it, I do make a sort of symbol swap in my head, kind of like how I used to read Chinese. Back when I could read a little Chinese. Which was many years ago.

But because the spaghetti people know that their labeling makes me sad, they have included a little gift for me.

Did you see the gift? It says right on the package that they have included a gift from the nice people at Calve.

Yes, that's right. It's ketchup! Preservative-free ketchup to boot.

I know I sound snarky. Actually I'm rather tickled that I can read this much Cyrillic. And I was happy to have the ketchup. I just hope it's not expected that I will put the ketchup on the spaghetti.

In Banya Follow Up, I neglected to mention that during yesterday's banya tour, I confessed to Larissa and the Sanduny rep that sauna always makes me have to pee. So where are the toilets in the banya? Because I will need them.

Larissa and the Sanduny rep pointed in unison, "Oh, toilets are there."

Then Larissa had a thought. "Waaaaaaait a minute!" She got a funny look on her face. "You shouldn't need to pee because you should be sweating out all your fluids!"

Oh. Right. Like on a really hot summer day when you are doing something physical. Once I helped a friend judge a horse show in August. We both drank can after can of soda, but neither of us needed the toilet even after an entire afternoon standing in the sun in the middle of the ring.

"I get the Kobe-beef thighs," I said.

"Well, that's just weird," she couldn't figure it out. "You must be blocked or something."

Then Larissa had a eureka moment. "YOU'RE AMERICAN!" she remembered. "You like your drinks cold! That's why they run right through you. DON'T DRINK COLD DRINKS AT BANYA!"

The Spouse thinks that's all horse shit. Like how the Slovaks think drinking cold carbonated drinks will give you a cold. Or that a breeze, especially one across the small of your back, will cause you to die of the bloody flux. Or sitting on a cold stone bench will cause problems with your uterus.

Now, in the interest of fair and full disclosure, every time I have used a sauna, it has been after swimming. So maybe the need to pee has something to do with being submerged first. Or maybe Larissa is right. I'll have to conduct an experiment and get back to you.


Kelsey said...

In Korea they eat their spaghetti with a ketchup-based sauce, so I wouldn't be surprised if that is the case with this packaging combo.

valentina said...

Mr. "As you wish my darling,"used to drink a glass of cold water if he were going out into the cold to accommodate his internal temperature to his external one...Yeah, like this helped if it were below zero or snowing? Hell he was from the desert, what did he know about cold? "I'm from Paradise my darling!" "Eden to him, hell to me"... And I never did figure out what he did in summer? Probably the reverse... "Anyway"... Your language skill amazes me! xov

The Expatresse said...

Heck, all I can do is read the Cyrillic. And not very well.

katbat said...

ugh - the cursive/itallics kills me - especially the t - pointy top m is m, curvy top a t - or is it vice versa?

I ALWAYS have to pee after swimming. not sure why. Maria does too. I swear I dont drink the pool. Never happened in the banya - although I only go in at the gym after working out so I am dehydrated anyway. . . .

my dad always made us pour cold water on our wrists before drinking it if we were hot - so our body wouldnt be "shocked" by the cold.

Someone told P just yesterday that he had a cold with a sore throat because he drank cold water.

I also endured my fair share of finger wagging for letting Natasha sit on a blanket on the ground this summer.

all good fun!

Rabbit blogger said...

hey, Jacques Pepin uses ketchup in some recipes, so it's got to be OK for some things. come on, cocktail sauce? and yes, the lower case handwriting cyrillic is the devil's work.

The Expatresse said...

I use ketchup in a great rib recipe. I'm not anti-ketchup. Just not on pizza (as I've seen in some places) or on pasta.

valentina said...

Oh I definitely agree that pasta and pizza should be ketchup free zones!xov

Ashira said...

Some of my college age Russian friends put ketchup on their pasta because it's cheaper than sauce :) I tried it once, but it was rather strange...

By the way, I've been reading your blog for a while now, thanks for all the funny stories about Moscow! I'm moving there in a month - I can't wait!

Kugo said...

Okay, I could never learn this language. I can't learn any languages, I'm thinking it's a mental block or just stupidity on my part.

You know in some countries they eat ketchup on their pizza so apparently ketchup is big in all countries.

Jojo, Julz, Julianne said...

I played Jacks on the cold sidewalks, and I drew my hopscotch games on them as well. So thay explains my broken uterus..Thank God for adoption...
Now I freely plop my big behind right down on any surface, worry free!

Anonymous said...

Cursive Russian is just a bunch of joined up 'M's. They are extracting the Micheal if they expect us to believe it's anything else.

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