03 February, 2010

Первая любовъ

I don't know what's going on with me. Last week I picked up that Russian book and it opened a door in my head and I'm tormented and thirsty for more.

Russian was my first language love. There have been other languages since then; languages which I have appreciated, respected, some of which I've gotten to know intimately, but none will ever hold a candle to that initial spark and then all-consuming passion that I felt for Russian.

We spent several tumultuous years together-- sometimes we got along, sometimes we didn't. In the end our paths diverged and I came to the painful realization that Russian just didn't fit into my life anymore. I moved on as was necessary, but have always thought back wistfully on the days when it all flowed so easily and I was still blissfully intimate with this rich, poetic language.

Since last week I've been haunted. I don't even know what purpose it would serve, but I need to, I MUST rekindle some kind of relationship, even if it's just for old times' sake. I've been reading everything I can get my hands on. Listening to the radio, watching videos, ordering music.

In my head it's pure chaos. I've never been good at switching between languages, and now that the floodgates are opening everything is sloshing together and I am rendered completely incomprehensible in any language. At some point the dust has got to settle, but for now I'm holed up at home, muttering to myself and feeling the ache of nostalgia and lovesickness for my first great language love...


Goofball said...

do you know this song? is it in Russian?

Nje kati, Njaberne katoeska, Nje kati njabernekatoi, Nje kati i njabernekatoeska, njabi itsoe, Njabernekatoi Hoi

Betsy said...

Hahahahahaha! No clue. Except for the fact that Katja is a popular name in Slavic languages it's short for Ekaterina.

Katjoeska is diminutive, so like the suffix -tje in Dutch. (i.e. some people call me "Betsytje")

I don't think it's Russian-- the words are similar to Russian words but don't mean anything to me. It could be something related like Bulgarian or Ukranian or something like that.

anno said...

Must be in the weather or something... came home from school today & M. was playing Vissotski and I was suddenly possessed by a craving for vodka; probably a good thing that we don't keep any in the house.

Enjoy the turmoil, a very russian state of mind!

Betsy said...

Dear sweet Annushka: I'm missing you!

Goofball said...

damn my elementary school teachers fooled me...I always thought it was Russian. It had an illustration of a cossack dancer.

anno said...

and in yet another amazing coincidence, the copy of Dr. Zhivago that we ordered a week ago arrived today, so we started watching it tonight! Wonderful movie.

Betsy said...

Goofball: Njabr njabr njabr. Are you writing this from memory? Because it's very well possible that it was originally Russian, but just that it's adapted over the years in your mind into "Goofball-speak". ;-)

I like the HOI, though. That lends a nice Cossack touch!

Anno: WOW! This is almost getting spooky!

Enjoy your movie!

Goofball said...

euh I googled what I thought the lyrics would phonetically look like and found this text right away. It exactly represents the Goofball sounds I produce when singing this childhood song :)

why...are you doubting my Russian spelling capacities :p?

Betsy said...

nyabr nyabr.

Betsy said...

Oh my God, Goofball! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

I was curious about the lyrics, so I looked them up just like you said, and found them.

Now if you'd only read THE VERY NEXT LINE of the text it's on you would have seen this:

"Je zal het wel opgemerkt hebben: dat liedje is in brabbeltaal (die taal bestaat gewoon niet)"


Goofball said...

yeah I saw that too....but who believes what's written on blogs anyway?

and what's that nyabr gibberish?

Betsy said...

Oh sorry. Njabr HOI!

Goofball said...


how are you?

Betsy said...

Hi! :-) Good, just busy.

I've got the perfect storm of activities going on here-- seems like everything is happening at once! help!

How are things on your end?

jennifer said...

a woman after my own heart... thank you for your comment. I really appreciated it.

Anonymous said...

Hi folks,

I came across this blog, in search for the song "Nje Kati", wich is actually a Russian wartime song called "Katyusha".

The lyrics from Nje Kati are used by Flemish youth clubs, and actually are non-existing words that only sound as if they are Russian. And we all did believe we sung real Russian... :)

Anyway, these are the real lyrics:

Rastsvetali yabloni i grushi, Poplyli tumani nad rekoy Vyhodila na bereg Katyusha Na vysokij bereg, na krutoy Vyhodila, pesnyu zavodila Pro stepnovo sizovo orla Pro tovo kotorovo lyubila Pro tovo ch'i pis'ma beregla. Oy, ty pesnya, pesenka devich'ya, Ty leti za yasnym solntsem vslyed I boytsu na dal'nem pogranich'e Ot Katyushi pyereday privyet Pust' on vspomnit devushku prostuyu Pust' uslyshit' kak ona poyot. Pust' on zemlyu berezhyot rodnuyu

Just search Youtube for "Katyusha", and your enjoy your childhood memories. ;)


Betsy said...

Thanks Yves! :-) Happy New Year!