Crazy Ira is on my list of great friends I have come to love so much. Two of us were very honored to be able to stay with her in 1998. She blessed my life then, and continues to bless it today!
Several years ago, Ira and her husband got an opportunity to move to Germany. She is Jewish by birth and Germany has many lucritive opportunities for the Jewish communtiy to live there. She really likes her living situation but misses Ukraine, too. She has the opportunity to Skype with Jane on a regular basis, and that is where I got to talk to her once again.
I have to tell you in 1998 her English wasn't too bad! She carried an English/Russian dictionary with her or used the very large, very old dictionary that she kept at her flat. It was not easy to talk to her, but we could communicate enough to carry on a half way decent conversation.
In her flat in Dneper, she always had a million questions about pronunciation and definitions of words. She was eager to learn English, and she wanted to speak it. One of the things that she would do is lapse into Russian in the middle of her sentence...sometimes in the middle of a WORD! It made for a hilarious afternoon sans interpreters!
It just so happened that on Thursday she Skyped Jane while I was at home in the flat. She was delighed to talk to me, and couldn't get over the fact that I was there, and how much she wanted to see me.
It didn't take me long to realize that her English had gone down hill fast! I could only understand about 1 out of 10 words she was saying. And that includes the basic words I remember from high school German!
She was Skyping (we had her on video), and she was trying to ask me questions about my stay. Jane and I were sitting at the computer trying our best to make heads or tails of what she was saying.
You have to get this visual...Jane is shouting at the computer screen...Ira is wringing her hands and running her fingers thru her hair in frustration...Jane is trying to interpret what she is saying and she keeps switching between German and Russian with a stray word or two of English thrown in!
"Ira, you are speaking in German again!" says Jane.
"Wieghets (I think this means 'why')...
"Again with the German...you must speak Russian or English..."
"I am...(then on to a short conversation in Russo-Germ-ish)"
Jane shouting in Russian...Ira answering in pseudo German...me laughing and asking "what did she say...what did she say...?"
I don't think we got more than a couple of sentences out, but it brought back those delightful days with Ira, Karye and myself sharing sweet times on Karl Marx Ave!
Karye...this one's for you!