“I’ll do it tomorrow”, “Call you back later” or just “Time and Russia”
Hello, dear friends! We are Marianna and Nastya - the students of Khabarovsk State Academy of Economics and Law. We are glad to have an opprtunity to exchange our posts on this blog! We look forward to meeting you at the videoconference!
“Time is free, but it's priceless. You can't own it, but you can use it. You can't keep it, but you can spend it. Once you've lost it you can never get it back”.
It’s true, that time is one of the most expensive resources we have in life. Time is what we have to grow, to develop, to learn more, to stand out, to express our individuality. But it’s amazing how differently people in different countries perceive this notion. “Time is money that should be saved” – Americans would tell you. “If you respect yourself and your partner, respect your and his/her time - don’t be late for a meeting or date” – German people say.
In Russia you can often hear the following sayings: “The morning is wiser than the evening”, which means don’t worry now about what you’ve got to do, relax, and fresh ideas will come to you in the morning; or “In order to work well you need to have a good rest” – especially it is used among the students before the exams.
We are late very often! We may be late for classes, for some meetings, for appointments, for dates. However, our being late never means we don’t value others’ time or don’t respect other people. It just means that we “take our time” or are not used to managing it.
Time and relationships
There is a popular quote in Russia “a good guest doesn’t come on time”, which means that a host may not be ready on time and being a little bit late is kind of a polite sign, so you give some extra minutes to the host to finish his preparation. Also, we don’t discuss until what time the party is going to be. It ends when guests have enough fun and feel like leaving.
Every Russian girl knows that “A girl should be a little late”, so the boy should wait for her, worrying, if she is going to come or not. However, it’s obvious that if the girl is late all the time, it may frustrate the guy, so it’s better not to be “too often” late.
• Meetings with friends
If you come to Russia, many people would probably invite you to many different places. So, every person you would make a new friend with would probably say “lets have a party”, “let’s go to the cinema”, or “lets have a dinner together. We have many ideas, but if the EXACT time and dates are not arranged, it would probably mean that the event would probably happen. We have a habit of postponing, so if you are invited somewhere and after you’ve never had again about the event you were invited to, means that everybody is waiting to someone’s initiative to really plan.
When we actually planned something we may be also late. Here is a case which happened to 2 our friends. One of them was 45 minutes late for a meeting, and, coming to the place, she didn’t even hope to see her friend. But while she was coming, she noticed her friend running to the place from the other side. When they met, they hugged each other and started apologizing. Girls have laughed for a long, when realized that both were 45 minutes late for a meeting.
Time and daily activities
It is quite usual in our country when a professor is late for beginning of a class for 5-10 minutes. That is why last week we heard a surprised exclamation from one of our group mate “Wow! She is already here?”, when the professor entered the room 1 minute after class had started. Professors’ being late doesn’t bother us, as it gives us a chance to be late, or we just use time for preparing for the class or just on enjoying being together.
Sometimes we can be late for reception to doctor or hairdresser. And we know that we will be undoubtedly excused for being late. Here is a story from our mate: “I was rather disappointed when once, being late for manicure for 15 minutes, I was not served. They apologized and refused to take me, because they had another client in a half of hour and they couldn’t guarantee that manicurist will be in time to finish my procedure. It was the 1st time when I was not served because of being late and the last one, because now I always try to go out little earlier”.
What is more, sometimes, when we make a call to a taxi to order a cab, we may hear: “the cab may be from 5 to 20 minutes late, will you be able to wait?”. So, for us it’s quite normal. So, if we have an important meeting, we order a taxi 20 minutes earlier than we need.
So, what are the reasons why people are late so often in Russia? Don’t we respect our own or someone else’s time? No, we wouldn’t say so. We do appreciate our time recourse and understand that it is better to do everything beforehand – be it our search paper or going out from home to the classes. Is it probably our manner not to plan our time and just follow the circumstances? Perhaps it is, but still many Russians have dairies to plan their daily activities. Is it our confidence that we are always waited for? It may be so, but there are more and more cases when we are not.
Still, even though we have our special “Russian” attitude towards time, we manage to be in time for our lives.