I have a private lesson with four girls who are 10 and eleven. They all have incredibly good English for their age. Three of the four are Russian and take every opportunity to remind me of that, by translating the word into Russian for me (who knows why- I don’t speak a word), talking about Moscow, or comparing anything and everything to the Russian equivalent. It is interesting and I do appreciate another perspective on things, but sometimes their enthusiasm about speaking in English about Russia gets a bit off topic.

The fourth girl is Czech whose mother is a hairdresser for mostly Russian clients. That is the connection for her being in this private lesson. She doesn’t speak Russian or know anything about Russia and is typical Czech (I guess). One time I had a full one and a half hour lesson with just her. The other girls didn’t show or give any warning that they wouldn’t be there. The Czech girl is normally the quietest, but she was super eager to talk about anything and everything that lesson.

The Russian girls are clearly from affluent families. At the beginning when I asked what their parents did, the response was a shrug and ” my vather is businessman. my mother stays at home.” They take frequent trips across Europe and between their Czech homes and Moscow homes.

As I said, the Czech girls mother is a hairdresser and she seems to do the normal cottage weekend trips that Czech’s do. Her walk of life seems to be on the average side of things without the extravagant travel of the other girls.

What really shocked me, but didn’t come to too much of a surprise, was when we discussed fashion and clothing. The Russian girls love to talk about their favorite dresses and how they love shopping and what their parents buy them. But last lesson when they were telling me a story about buying shoes in Germany, I was flabbergasted. These 10 or 11 year old girls have over 50 pairs of shoes. Just in the Czech Republic. Who knows how many they have in Moscow! They then told me they had over 20 dresses. Yes, they could be exaggerating and probably are, but I would not be surprised if their exaggeration was not as inflated as it should be.

The Czech girl and I were looking at each other open mouthed. She is clearly the sane one of the group. Along these lines, it should be noted I have never seen them wear the same thing. Ever.

When I think about the sheer quantity of their clothes I am floored. I mentally added up each of my articles of clothing that I have with me and I probably don’t have over 50 items. That would be just their shoes. And my 50 items is lucky, many people have less.

I do not know designer clothes or labels, but these girls clothes are definitely high quality. My boss has also noted on their expensive brands of shoes in the hallway. One pair of shoes was over 2000 Czech kroner (about 150 US dollars). So that isn’t a massive amount to some people, but these girls will out grow those shoes in two years and maybe wear them twice if they have as many options as they claim. It is shocking how their are so many people with so much. If I were in Georgia, the shock would be even greater, because they really have very little to nothing.

It would be interesting to see how they would fair in Georgia living a Georgian lifestyle. I will never know.

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