Russian women community in Texas
How We Celebrated New Year and Christmas
To begin let me tell you that here in Arlington, TX and the cities nearby there is a large community of Russian women and their American husbands. I have lived happily with my husband for 6 months before I discovered the luck of socializing with Russian speaking folks. I wrote an ad in Russian Women Magazine asking Russian women to reply. This is how I met Inna who was from Yoshkar-Ola and who introduced me to all other women from her native city.
Just right before Christmas, on December 21 we were invited by Oksana and Lowell to be part of their Christmas Extravaganza. They sent invitations to guests by e-mail. The home was extremely cozy as they had just completed renovation doing everything with their own hands. There was a buffet with original, delicious and healthful salads and finger food. The table was decorated tastefully and beautifully. Russian women were wearing evening gowns and suits, men all looked elegant. Lowell, the owner the house, also invited his coworkers: 3 women and 2 men. Because the group was so diverse everyone tried to stay in the company of those he or she was most familiar with. American women didn't`t try to converse to Russian, Russian women stayed in their circle. Our American husbands were getting along very well and at the same time they were attentive to their wives. ….
Everybody was supposed to bring a small wrapped Christmas ornament. All of the nice looking boxes were placed under the tree and every guest was supposed to take one box according to the lottery number. The box had to be unwrapped and shown to everyone. The rules allowed you to take any unwrapped gift from any guest whose turn had to pick up a new gift from under the tree. I picked up the most amazing, as I thought (and I was not the only one who thought so), gift of all. There were 3 beautiful ornaments and a glass vase. One of the American women asked me to give it to her. I gave that box to her with no regrets. Russian women and all other guests probably due to the modesty, didn't`t take advantage of the rules of the game and everybody kept the present they received. Everyone agreed that it was a cool party. We communicated and found out many interesting things about each other. We were drinking wine, eating and having fun. We didn't`t want to leave.
Christmas we celebrated at the house of Lena and Allan. I met Lena at the English-as-a-second language school. Since there were only Mexicans and Vietnamese and not any Russian in my class I was looking for a country-person in the hallway and in the school yard during the break. My search was successful. One day I noticed a gorgeous blond woman and it was not a mistake, she was Russian. She was also very glad because for two years of study she has not seen another woman from the old country.
So Christmas day we met with Lena and a few friends. I introduced Lena and her husband to 2 other women from Yoshkar-Ola and their husbands. We had a very Merry Christmas in that warm and friendly house. Lena cooked lots of delicious things and we brought salads and other dishes. So we ate enormous amount of food and were treated with great hospitality. Lena and the other woman Irina have daughters who are about the same age. The small table was set just for them. After the meal girls were playing in the children's room. And we adults were wondering how many Babies that little girl had. And not just the dolls, but all the accessories, from clothes to cars and houses. We couldn't`t even dream about such luxuries when we were children. Christmas went so fast and we didn't`t want to part with each other again.
We organized several entertaining and amusing games. One woman, Luda, organized 3 games. We wrapped men in toilet paper, making mummies. When they had to be unwrapped with the help of teeth only, no hands. Paper tried to tear and it was fun for players and the spectators. My husband and I also contributed 3 games. The best game involved placing banana into the jar on the floor. The banana was tied around the players waists with the string. It was very funny to watch how two men tried to get banana into the jar.
But the most interesting surprise was still to come. Suddenly exactly at midnight voice of Russian president, the bells of clock on the red square and the Russian hymn was heard. As it turned out Garry recorded it on the Internet when it was 12 AM in Russia and turned it on for us at 12 AM in Texas. Everybody was very happy. We started to chink glasses and to kiss. Every woman with her own husband of course!
So, we celebrated New Year almost as if we were in Russia, far from our relatives, but so close to our husbands.
January, 2003. Arlington, TX
The story is translated by Irina King
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