Sunday, April 29, 2007

The District Conference

Got back this morning from the District Conference. It was an entertaining time even if I didn't see the light of day for 48 hours. I arrived there about 9:15 Friday morning and was helping with some set-up stuff. It was a pretty fun weekend actually. Let me just start by saying the main thing we outbounds did was train. Intensive training is a better word for it. We had blocks of several hours where we discussed, debated, and were lectured on a wide variety of topics that included, but were not limited too American foreign policy, Gun Control, American Education System, Capital Punishment, and the way Americans look at the world. It was a trip, let me tell you what.

Probably the highlight of Saturday was the Talent show. This talent show was put on by the Inbounds and it was pretty much awesome! It featured a wide variety of dances including Chilean, Chinese, and more modern. Several people singing or playing the piano, a juggling routine, and a comedy sketch.

Both Friday and Saturday night was spent just hanging out chatting, playing random games. It's pretty entertaining to watch a bunch of teenagers playing Simon Says and Duck Duck Goose. (Yes, I participated, I am not ashamed of it. It was pretty awesome.) We also played Mafia, which was interesting in itself just because it was played with youth exchangers. (Everything is more interesting when you play it with In and Out bounds.)

At one point on Saturday I realized that Rotary does a one to one exchange. How could I forget that? I talked to a My country contact, asking if there was someone coming to our district from Russia next year since I'm heading there. She said yes, there was a Russian girl coming. That's pretty sweet, though I won't get to meet her because I'll be gone, but I really hope that she enjoys it here in Ohio.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Some Good Yakutia Sites

Yakutia is the region (Obviously) of which Yakutsk is the capital. Anyway, While touring Google Earth to get a bird's eye view of the city where I'll be spending the next year, I found a nice little link that took me to a site about Yakutia and from there, I found another site. Both are in English for those of you who'd like to learn about my adopted country. (Hee hee hee). Hope you find them interesting.

Yakutia Travel
Yakutia Today

Sunday, April 22, 2007


This is the city I'm going to be in. District 5010, Russia, Yakutsk Rotary club (For those of you who don't read/speak Russian. LOL!)

We had a parent orientation today. Basically we sat around with our parents and the other outbounds and heard a bunch of stuff about all things Rotary exchange. It wasn't all that exciting except for the fact that I got to see my outbound friends which was nice. I had talked to my country coordinator about if she'd heard anything from the Russian contact yet and she said no. This evening I got on the computer, checked my e-mail. Lo and behold, there was an e-mail that said:

"Congratulations! In checking my e-mail after the Orientation, I received a note from my Russian contact. You will be placed with the Yakutsk Rotary Club. I checked the area out on the web and it looks absolutely fascinating."

Incidentally, it is a fascinating place. The average winter temp. is -42.8C (-45F). Yet in July the temperature can be as high as 32.2C (90F). I think I'm going to die! AND I'M SO EXCITED ABOUT IT! Yakutsk is also home to the Mammoth museum and it is the largest city built on continuous permafrost. If any of you are interested in learning more about the city that is to be my home for the next year, you are welcome to check it out on Wikipedia. Now, if you'll all excuse me I must e-mail my country coordinator with my passport status.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


I was indeed able to add some of the words to the youth slang post. Check them out!


sorry, had to name this post 100 because it is officially the 100th post in this blog. Isn't everyone proud of me? Also, in case anyone cares to date (or at least since I installed the stat counter) I've had 1,060 visitors to the blog. Hooray! Okay now on to the official blog on topic stuff.

Yesterday our Russian Week Seminar was a panel discussion about Russia with some grad. Students. It was about the best thing ever. Especially since Justin, who's American gave us lots of "tell-it-like-it-is" insight into what Russian culture is really like. One word of advice he gave us?

"Don't try to compete with Russians because you will lose and probably die. The only thing you can beat them at is English. Don't try to beat them at sitting in the banya and don't try to outdrink them."

There was lots of other interesting tidbits that we learned yesterday but I can't remember them at the moment.

Tonight's seminar was all about Russian drinking culture. While there were some informative things in it, it wasn't nearly as exciting as the other seminars have been this week. I still need to update the slang post with things I learned. Except right now I don't have the time so it'll have to wait another day.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Russian Youth Slang

I'm at a college class and so I don't have my handout from yesterday's seminar. When I get home, I'll update this post with some of the words we learned. Yesterday was, of course, the seminar on Youth Slang. The participants got to hear all about culture of the high schools and universities in Russia. We also learned about Cheat Sheets. Apparently, Cheat Sheets are a cultural thing in Russian schools. Technically you're not supposed to have them, but everyone does. Kids get pretty good with making them and keeping them hidden. It also seems to be a cultural thing that everyone helps everyone else. I guess in class the better students help the worse students. It's kind of a comunal thing. Everyone makes sure that everyone else succeeds. It's a really interesting attitude.

пара- Class at university, also the grade of F
универ- University
шпора- Cheat Sheet
контроша- Test
Аллё гараж- lit. Hello Garage. Used to check if someone's paying attention
Мне до лампочки- I don't care, Whatever
Чайник- dummy, beginner, newbie
зачетка- grade book
Вечеринка- Party

The above are some of the words that were on the hand out we received at the seminar. Interesting, no?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Russian Week, and More Understanding

So this coming week is the yearly Russian Week at college. Basically what happens is the Russian department organizes a series of seminars every night of the week. This culminates in a food preparation workshop on Friday followed by a Russian party Friday night. There are all kinds of seminars (Tomorrow's is Youth Slang) and an Essay competition (Which Marina is making us compete in) and just cool stuff in general. Hopefully I'll be updating every night this week with all the cool stuff I'll be doing.

In other news, last week I was so proud of myself again! I was sitting in class working on something when Nastya asked a question. Now when Marina speaks to us, she speaks slowly. Nastya is Ukrainian and so she is, of course, amazing at Russian. She basically is fluent. Anyway, I wasn't really paying attention to what Nastya asked, but then Marina started answering her question in very fast Russian and I realized I understood a good portion of what she was saying. She said something about all verbs ending in a soft sign, and stuff that I don't remember now, but understood at the time. I was so excited! I guess it just keeps surprising me how much Russian I actually understand. Okay, that's all I've got for now, like I said there will hopefully be lots of updates this week and stuff. For now, I have to write a Russian essay about my health and re-write and edit a French essay. It feels so good to be able to write essays in foreign languages!

Sunday, April 08, 2007


I have come to look forward to Russian class every other day. I can't say the same about Phonetics and Diction, but I love actual Russian class. Maybe it's the people in it, maybe it's the teacher, most likely it's a little of both. It's so much fun and I feel like I've just been inhaling the language in a way. I'll probably be frustrated with it again in a few days, but for now, I love it, and I realize how much I understand and how much I'm able to say.

The other day we did a partner activity and talked and I realized the words that my friend was saying were Russian. I mean duh, it's Russian class, but it was like I was understanding what she was saying, but at the same time hearing it as if I wasn't able too. It was an odd feeling, but I was so proud of myself. "Hey, we're speaking Russian, and I'm understanding it." It's a good feeling.