18 March 2011


I hear "devochka" all the time when I go out, especially in the bazaar.  It means girl, but it's also what strangers use to refer to a female who is younger than or the same age they are.  If I rode marshrutkas more often, I'd hear it even more, but Tokmok really isn't big enough for much marshrutka riding.

So when you walk around the bazaar, the laghman people call out "Devochka! Laghman?" and the potato venders call out "Devochka! Kartoshka!" and so on, and on, and on.  It's not my favorite thing to be referred to that way, but it usually doesn't bother me, except when it means, "Girl, come here, because you did something I didn't like and I'm going to tell you all about it!"

And that's what happened when I took this picture.  It generally seems safe to take photos of houses, but after I'd taken this photo and walked 50 yards down the street, I heard "Devochka!"  Since I was the only person around, I turned around I discovered an older Russian woman who seemed less than pleased that I'd taken a photo of her house (which was for sale, which somehow seems to invite photo-taking, at least to my American mind).  She clearly was going to wait for my return, so I went back and she demanded (at least, it seemed that way to me- Russian always sounds rather demanding to me (maybe that's part of why I don't like the language, but that's another post)), anyway, she wanted to know why I'd taken a photo of her home.  I told her it was because it was for sale and asked if she wanted to see the picture, but she said no and left without saying anything else.  Goodbye, babushka.

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