Since high school and more so in college, I’ve known what a party pleaser it is to have my tarot cards with me and that many people love to have their cards read, whether they “believe” in them or not. When I went to Russia, during my junior year of college, I made the mistake of leaving my cards at home in Denver. I was luckily able to find another deck in St. Petersburg, and although I couldn’t really read the booklet at the time they were a beautiful deck nonetheless.
When I moved to Ukraine after college I was smart enough to bring one of my decks with me. And I also picked up a another more complex deck during my time in London, which is the one I still read with today. I read the cards a little bit in England, but when the cat got out of the bag in Ukraine that I read tarot, that was pretty much my extracurricular activity for a while.
The twist?… I had to do the readings mostly in Russian. **Please note: I lived in eastern Ukraine where they speak both Ukrainian and Russian, so I was able (mostly) to communicate with the locals.** The most frequent requests for readings came from Kostya, the night security guard (whose day job was a history teacher at a local secondary school) and Sergei Ivanovich, the financial director of the school I taught at.
Although Kostya knew English well enough to have some normal, basic conversations, the vocabulary for tarot was a little more complex than he could handle. Therefore I had to resort to some Russian to try and explain concepts. Kostya and I got by with our special form of Russlish, but with Sergei Ivanovich, who learned his limited vocabulary from the film Madagascar (he really liked to “move it, move it!”), I had to attempt to explain it all in Russian.
As exciting as that sounds it’s actually could get rather difficult. Case in point – one day I was telling Kostya that he fears feeling oppressed but I didn’t know the word oppressed in Russian then (it’s угнетать, in case you were wondering the same thing). 🙂 In order to explain the feeling, using various other words and phrases I could muster, I said something to the effect of “like how the Soviet Union oppressed its people”. Kostya stared at me and asked “Why the Soviet Union?!” I told him that’s what we learned in school in the United States of course. He laughed and said, “We learned that the United States oppressed its people!”
So there you have it… all the world really needs in order to understand each other and dispel misinformation is a little intercultural communication via the Cards. Or at the very least it makes for a great story to tell later on. 🙂
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