In our neck of comparatively multi-cultural suburbia, there is a fair percentage of people who hail from the former Soviet Union. Kimmy recently relayed an anecdote that illustrated that rather amusingly.
She was having lunch in her middle-school cafeteria. A few girls sat together, as usual. Kimberly, Danielle, Gabriela, Emily, Nicole – common American names, proper English-language conversation.
At the nearby table, a boy with a distinctly Russian name Artyom (easily converted into “Artie”, of course) was bragging to his non-Russian-speaking friend how he could say anything he wanted in Russian and no one around would understand a word of it. To prove his point, he switched to Russian and started chanting rather loudly “No one can understand me! You can’t understand me! No one can understand me!”
Distracted by the noise, Kimmy turned to him and said in her perfect Russian, “I can understand you”.
Then, Danielle, Gabriela and Emily, all with Russian-born parents, said each, “Me, too”. Only the Italian-American Nicole was left out of the proceedings.
Kimmy says Artie’s jaw almost literally hit the floor. His family moved to the area very recently.