When I first arrived here, I was happy to go grocery shopping and know what a LOT of things were. Not only were the familiar looking, but lots of things were in English. This, of course, was not the case in Kazakhstan. As I went through the store though, there were certain things I could not find. For example, butter. People here do not use butter? I mean, where was this?? I tried to ask the woman standing in the aisle, but she did not understand English and I was unable to charade my way out of this one. I moved onto the deli counter. The woman said hello and I responded. She just stared at my funnily though. Then it dawned on me why...I had said hello to her in Russian! I apologized and said hello in Chinese then.
A bit later, as I was checking out, I said thank you to the cashier. Again, I got a funny look. And again, I realized I had used Russian! Wow. I guess some things stick. When you are in another country and are overwhelmed by learning a new language, you just go with what you can. Heck, I've even answered people in Spanish here! I haven't spoken Spanish in years, but when you are stuck for a word, your brain just resorts to what you have stored.
I now know how to say hello and thank you in Chinese. A few more sayings and I should be good to go. :)