Brief encounter in the phone shop

Today on the way to work I stopped and successfully bought a new SIM card. Although it was a relatively quick and easy process, I was surprised at all the questions posed by the shop assistant not related to my purchase. Upon seeing my passport I was immediately asked about where I was from, why I was in Russia, even how old I was. Then the shop assistant who was helping me called over another shop assistant and began to tell her that I was American. Immediately their looks changed and I was no longer glanced over as an ordinary customer but they looked at me with inquiring eyes, almost as if they expected me to be unusual in some way. The second shop assistant began asking me a whole other slew of questions such as where I was from in America, if it was a big city, if I lived in the town or in Moscow and whether I preferred big cities like Moscow or if I liked smaller cities like this one. There were other questions but some of them I didn’t completely understand or I understood them but didn’t know how to answer them in Russian.

Finally when my purchase was ready I was told to activate my SIM card and then wait two hours and it would work. I left the shop feeling triumphant but a little uncomfortable for all the attention showered on me as a foreigner. Although I assumed that it was normal for people to show curiousity toward foreigners, some of my Russian friends assured me that the shop assistants were out of line and shouldn’t have asked me so many questions. But to be honest I’m glad they did because it was an experience worth having.

On another note, there is a lot to look forward to this weekend. On Friday some of the teachers are going to the banya/sauna for Teacher’s Day, Saturday will be spent in Moscow and Sunday we’re gong to have a housewarming party. Nina also told me what to do about the washing machine so I hope it will work soon. However my phone still isn’t working. It’s been more than two hours and I’ve even put some money on it. We’ll see what happens with it tomorrow…


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