Sunday, December 27, 2015

Christmas Fail

Apparently, this is pretty much the most ill-wishing, evil-eyed, bad-omened thing that you could buy for someone from Crimea.

Maybe you're already looking at it and nodding your head, thinking of COURSE! I'd NEVER buy that for a Russian! Duh!

Well, I thought it was cute. And useful. And a doormat.

Not a gateway of evil.

But here's what happened and why a doormat- esp this particular one- is such a bad gift idea.
(Oh, hindsight!)

We presented it rolled up and tied with a ribbon. The recipient didn't even open it. They put it in the corner of the room and then tried to "forget" it when they were leaving.


Let's talk apartments. Have you noticed how public areas tend to be super-neglected and dismal-looking on the outside, yet fabulously maintained once you get through someone's front door?

My friend's stairwell. 180° from her actual apartment.

The mentality is to save all your efforts and beautiful things for what actually belongs to you, not space that you share with a bunch of other people. So there's strike one for a doormat: it's going to just sit in the hall. Your (shudder) neighbors will see it and judge you on it. Maybe someone will steal it.

Anyways, we physically put the doormat in her hands and she left with it. That wasn't the end of it, though. When she got home and actually unrolled it... uh-oh.

I totally didn't see it when deciding to buy the doormat.

My thoughts: so cute! A woodland theme! 

Her thoughts: POISONOUS mushrooms!!!! What the @#%^ were they thinking!

So, yeah.
Poor D got an earful about that.

Just skip the woodland theme when you're buying gifts for a Russian-speaker and only buy something that goes inside the home or on the person. Lesson learned.

In other holiday-related news, we got my parents' dog a rain jacket. As you can see, her reaction was similar to D's relative who got the doormat ;) Our gift game was definitely off this year.

This was a busy, dual-family holiday, since my family lives in town and his family came to town. D made borsch on Christmas Eve for my family. They first poked at it a little suspiciously, but everyone finished their bowls. Then we went back to our apartment and hosted his family overnight.

My mom made a Christmas bread for his family and topped it with sprinkles in the color of the Ukrainian flag. His family operates at hurricane-strength speeds so they didn't notice the sprinkles (but did enjoy the bread). Then his family left for church and we returned to my parents' home. After food and gifts we went- for the first time ever- with my parents + brother to the movies on Christmas night and saw The Martian. It's SO good. D and I have seen it several times already. I especially like the dialog in the end: You solve enough problems and you get to come home. That's how I've felt about life ever since we left Ukraine, but I'm really slacking on the problem-solving.

Hope you've had a good week and any gifts you've given or received have been welcome ones :p


  1. Your dog made me laugh out loud. And also I laughed/cringed through your doormat story. And that's why I buy all of my gifts at the liquor store or the book store! Haha! Merry Christmas!

    1. Those places sound like a safe bet for gifts, haha. I think we'll be shopping there next year!

      Thanks for dropping by, Stephanie :) Hope your language studies are going well.

  2. I totally didn't know the thing about doormats! People here have them. Anton's apartment has several. But the mushroom thing! So hilarious! That's like something you'd see in a movie where the person who received it hated it! I'll have to ask Anton about it!