Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Russian 101: First Class

Nervous all day, I fled work as soon as my shift ended despite the fact that I could have pulled some overtime, easy.  Got home, grabbed my books from the Jeep (brought to work in case I somehow hadn't had time to run home before class), my husband warmed me up some dinner and then I got ready again - this time for school.

Leaving about an hour early, I had knots in my stomach the whole way.  Yes, I knew the way, but before Monday I had never driven the whole way alone.  I was so scared I was going to miss my turn.  I didn't.  I arrived at school fine - found the administration parking lot just fine : - ) found the next parking lot and found what at the time seemed to be the very last parking spot in the back corner.  Managed to find the room without asking anyone, half a dozen students or so waiting outside, although the room was open (door closed though, guess everyone was intimidated).  Wow, did I feel old, that group was so young!

The teacher is this lady from Moscow, not young, but not old.  The class is very diversified, really young students, to students older than me ( just turned 31).  It's a very full class.  She had about 35 on the roster and then another half a dozen or so on the waiting list, and then several more looking to add, who weren't on the waiting list!  She added them all!  I found this...interesting.  Sure, a full class is cool, but the room is tiny (and I'm not joking) and the chairs are the high school ones - teenager small with tiny little desk attached.  I can sit in the desk okay, but when I turned around to talk with my class partner, I couldn't move.

Many in the class was more advanced that I would have expected, knowing "hello," "my name is," and more, although most of them didn't know the Cyrillic alphabet.  The teacher only introduced about half a dozen letters or so that we're supposed to be practicing between yesterday and tomorrow.  One of them is the Russian "o" which gives me no end of trouble.  It's an "o" if it's stressed, otherwise it's an "a" unless they decide differently and just don't tell you.  Love it.

What did I learn?  #1: Definitely need to arrive early - and even if the door is closed, go in and get a seat!  Do not want to be crowded into a bad seat.  #2: Participate in class, however painful it might seem.  That's going to be hard - I learn by absorbing and then practicing with maybe a few close friends, not in front of 40 people.  We'll see how that goes.  #3: Do my homework.  That one shouldn't be too tough.  I hope.  No other classes, no other after school activities, unless you count my poetry page, my Wheel of Time Re-Read and my Second Chance or Second blog.

Next class - Wednesday.  I think I'm looking forward to it?  We'll find out.


  1. I take it that you didn't know simple phrases but DO know the Cyrillic alphabet? Who is the “they” in this sentence: "...otherwise it's an "a" unless they decide differently and just don't tell you." So, 35+ students on day one... How many will there be next week and the week after that. How do you say... um... dropped class? Maintain focus and "stay on target" ("Gold Five", Star Wars: Episode IV, 1977) and you'll be just fine.

    It's hard to believe that YOU might have trouble speaking up or participating. To test your boundaries and stress your comfort zone, try sitting "Front and Center". It might be that this whole process will easier than you think.

    Next up: Round #2

    P.S. Good luck with your education and writing projects!

  2. No, I knew most of those phrases also, but was surprised that others knew them as well. The "they" in that sentence is just whoever makes up Russian phonetic rules. As of the second class, everyone was still there +1.

    And yes, I do have trouble participating when I might get it right the first time. If this weren't a language class, you'd be right, I'd be okay speaking up and being opinionated, but if there's a chance I could get it wrong, I'm less likely to speak out. Tonight's another test - first day, second week, yay!