Today was an amazingly productive day in my book. I started off by knocking out a series of work and home chores. Riding on that energy high, I went out into town to get my phone fixed. It's been barely alive for a few months now, but I've been too nervous to get it looked at. I was afraid to go on my own because so often does it happen that people try to squeeze extra money out of foreigners, whether it be a taxi ride, market haggling, or our babushka landlady.
Moreover, a friend said that it would be better to go with someone who speaks Russian, as a certain amount of conversation is required. So far, I've experienced a spectrum of reactions to my foreignness in Russia, from exasperated frustration at my non-Russian speaking abilities to mutual curiosity and cooperation from similarly non-English speaking counterparts. Luckily, the iPhone repair man I found nestled in an electronics shopping mall was one of the latter. With MINIMAL russian vocabulary, I communicated that my phone needed repair (remont) and that the battery needed replacement. He wrote down the price (only 20$ for the repair and the battery) and said "10 minutes" in English. Wow, easy. It doesn't have to be that hard!!! We make things hard on ourselves. After only three months in a Russia, I realize I can do what I need to do. Getting a medical exam, fixing an iPhone, scheduling a hair appointment- check. Things to I need to remember, though
1) It's okay that I can't make grammatically correct sentences. With the vocabulary that I have, my needs will be communicated if the other person is willing to cooperate. Try!!!!
2) In the event that the person I'm dealing with is unhelpful or frustrated, move on. There will be someone else happy to have the business. Try again!!!!
3) I stand in my own way by telling myself that I can't do have the power to do X Y or Z. While it's okay to ask for help, it's more important to me that I TRY myself first. It usually feels more rewarding in the end, too.
So, yet again, try. Then try harder!!!!