Well I’ve officially been living in Vladimir for a week. Yay! It has been a busy, busy week. School has been a little rough. Everyday is long and tiring. We start at 9am and end at 2:30pm, with a break for lunch. It is intense. We have 5 50- minute classes a day with 10- minute breaks in between classes. We don’t switch classrooms so we relax in the room during the breaks. I think I’ll need to walk around the school during the breaks eventually, for a change of scenery, but for now, everything’s fine. Or as we would say here всё хорошо. After school my brain hurts from all of the Russian, however, listening and speaking in Russian doesn’t go away after classes end. My fellow classmates and I sometimes take breaks from Russian, but we end up going right back without really trying.
The good news is that I can understand a lot of Russian based on context. I usually know most of the vocab and so understanding what is going on isn’t a problem unless I am tired. When I’m tired nothing makes sense (in both English and Russian). The bad news is that I can never formulate what I want to say either, in a timely manner or at all. Conversation is not my strong suit, but I have lots of time to practice! Ура! Masha has been making a list of things she can do and I like that idea. So far, I can find my way around the city, I can buy things at the store, I can almost order food at McDonalds, I am learning how to cook different dishes, and I know some things about the city! It’s an odd list but a good one. Necessary for daily survival. The one thing I have not done is really ‘found my voice’. They say when you learn another language you have a separate character. So in the U.S., I am loud, laugh a lot and usually do dumb things. In Russia, I am extremely quiet, laugh a little and am not a hooligan. Not that I’m a hooligan in the states haha. My host mom, Alla, called me a hooligan the other night when she as teaching me how to make breakfast because I took a picture of her cooking. She’s hilarious. I love her. About laughter, my laugh has gotten louder every day, which is hilarious. It makes me happy that I’m still obnoxiously loud no matter how hard I try not to be haha.
Fun things that I have done while being here…well besides going to school, I have gone to the mall and other stores looking for a сумка (bag) for Mash. We still haven’t found one. I have gone to Глобус, which is equivalent to Walmart, but only if Walmart had a huge cafeteria. In going to Глобус and going thrifting with Mash (yes, I have already gone thrifting in Russia <3), I have gone to her side of town, Доброе (Dobraia). Vladimir has three different regions or circles (most cities in Russia were developed in these circles. I would draw you a diagram if I could. I’m sure Wikipedia has it somewhere.). So Masha lives on one side of the city and I live on another. That may seem awful but it’s not because of public transportation. I only have to pay 15 rubles to get to Masha’s bus stop. The beauty of public transportation is that it’s one fee and you ride it as long as you need to. Switching buses without repaying isn’t a thing though, but that’s not a huge deal. I have a cellphone here to keep in contact with everyone in the group, Alla and my tutor, Nastya. I wanna keep the phone because I can text in Russian! It’s funny because my fellow classmates all have smart phones, except Carson, and so they were commenting on the fact that the phones were old. I’d totally be fine if I had my Russian phone in the states. It’d be the same as always! Haha Thursday night all of us went out together with a few of the tutors. Going out here means going to a bar, which involves drinking and smoking, go figure haha. Being able to hang out in a chill setting is awesome though! It’s also good for practicing Russian.
Yay first week!