Tanya the Russian
I stayed at work pretty late tonight, and I'm glad for Tanya's sake that I did.
I had just turned my car on and was about to pull out of the parking space, when I heard a soft tapping on my window. I turned my head, and there was a petite young woman staring at me. I was so startled, I nearly screamed, and she hung her head in laughter. I laughed, too, as I rolled down the window.
She explained that she missed her bus, the last bus of the night. In strained English, she asked what direction I was traveling and whether I could drive her to the nearest Caltrain station. When I realized that we were both headed south, I said, "That's silly. I'll just drive you home!" I don't know if I ever saw anyone hop in a car so quickly! She kept saying thank you over and over again, and all I could think was, "She Russian. She's got to be Russian."
As you probably all know by now, I like to pick out dialects and guess where people are from, so when the young woman said her name was Tanya, I thought, "Oh, definitely Russian." As it turned out, she is Russian, just as I suspected. I must admit, though, I felt a little bad for guessing before she had a chance to tell me herself because she said, "Oh! I was hoping my English was good enough that no one would know!"
Tanya and I had a nice chat during the drive, and I marveled at two things: 1) her olive skin and honey-blonde hair (Aren't all Russians fair with black hair???) and 2) the amount of education she has for looking so young. She looks no older than 20, yet she has a Ph.D. in math! (What am I doing with my life???)
When I dropped her off, I told her to look me up on Google's Intranet site and said we should go to lunch sometime. She asked for my full name, and when I told her, she lit up with excitement. "Oh, your name is . . . like the pretty things that fall from the sky? I wish that was my last name!" Haha! It was such a wonderful moment.
As I drove off, I marveled at how many incredibly interesting people are all over this huge world. And I remembered how much I love meeting strangers and chatting with them and guessing where they're from and discovering what they do with their days. People are so amazing.
Thing I'm thankful for: engineers who take the time to explain things