Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Passport Saga

Yes, that's right. It really was a saga. You see I applied for my passport the first week of March. The nice ladies at the office said that I would receive my passport in ten weeks at the most. They said I'd have it in plenty of time before my trip to France. I was thinking that this would be good, because frankly I was hoping to get it in time to send my stuff to Bokoff-Kaplan to start with my Russian Visa before going to France. It's not going to happen though because I received my passport on Saturday. We leave June 9th.

You think that's all to my story? You've got to be kidding! I said this was a saga didn't I?

I waited and waited for my passport and it didn't come. I found out you can track them online. So I went to the happy little website and I typed in my information and do you know what the little screen told me? "your passport is being processed." so I tried to call the hotline, so that I could tell the people at the passport office that I needed my passport so I can start with my Russian stuff. Wouldn't you know it? I couldn't get through! I had to sit through a whole big long recording about the high volume of Passport requests. Then I had to pick a number to talk to a live operator. After a brief message about how the operators are busy and would I please hold, I had to listen to another recorded message about how "Due to the high volume of passport requests, all operators are busy at this time." I didn't believe it for a minute. I looked at my parents and said "I don't think they have live people to talk to"

Needless to say, I kept trying different things, and was having a difficult time because I needed my passport and I couldn't get through. Finally Madame, bless her heart, told me to try calling the state rep's office and see if they could help me out. I gave them a call and the lady was absolutely wonderful. She told me that the passport centers were not taking calls. (So I'd been right!) and that she would send them and e-mail to see if she could get it expedited. Thankfully, they said they would and I received the passport on Saturday. You have no idea how excited I was, and now I can go on and get things going for Russia. Hooray!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Movies and Goals

When I first started taking French, one of my goals was to read "The Little Prince" (Le petit prince) by St. Exupéry in French. Mostly because my freshman French teacher told me that it was hard to read in French. Four years later and I'm fulfilling that goal. I'm very proud. We're reading it in AP French and every day I think "Wow, I've met a goal." YAY!

Okay now on to movies. Our latest from netflix was the 1994 film Burnt by the Sun. For those of you who've never seen it, it's a Russian film that is very symbolic and sort of satirizes the Stalin era. I'm not going to lie, for some inexplicable reason, the film scared me. It's not the horror slash and burn Texas Chainsaw Massacre sort of horror or anything like that. I think it was just the fact that the movie reveals how nasty the Stalin era actually was. Burnt by the Sun is not the best movie I've ever seen, but it was an eye-opener that was worth seeing once.

Tonight there was a Russian film on TCM. It was made in the fifties and was really well done. It was called "The Cranes are Flying" It's about a girl in WWII who is waiting for her love to come home from the war. It's actually more complicated than that, but that's the basic idea. Mom found it and it was about half-way through, so technically I haven't seen the whole movie. What I did see was excellent. Especially the was it was filmed. This is definitely a film you all should see.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Sorry Please Mister

Mom and I were talking about how when I go to Russia and first start speaking, I'll probably have really bad grammar and not make any sense. The things that I say I'm probably going to say are pretty amusing. We have one Classic though.

The nice lady who works at the travel agency that helps Rotary Exchange Students told us not to wait until we get to the country to learn some of the language. She said that we especially need to learn enough to be able to tell someone we missed a flight and need to get on the next one. I realized that I didn't know how to say this and so if I miss a connecting flight in Russia, I'll be in trouble. I kept thinking about it, trying to figure out if there was a way I could say something like "Excuse me, but I've missed my connecting flight, would you be so kind as to put me on the next one?" And I finally figured out that I can say something sort of like that. The sentence has horrible grammar and doesn't use the right verb, but loosely translated it would be something like.

Sorry, Plane went by foot one direction without I

I told mom and she laughed and said that if someone said something like that to her in English in an airport, she'd be able to figure out what they meant. Hopefully I can fix up the sentence and make it sound better. In fact I probably will since now that Russian Class is over, I need something to amuse myself while still practicing.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

A quick Russian lesson

Complements of through YouTube.

For those of you who hear me say those random Russian words. Here are some possibilities of what I might be saying. I make no guarantees, but at least if you meet a Russian, you can say hello.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Lord of the Rings Meets Vodka

Honestly, when I saw this I laughed. A lot. In case you can't figure it out, it's a vodka ad.

Another E-mail

I wrote a response e-mail to Nina, the Yakutsk youth exchange coordinator. She e-mailed me back and gave me more information. The most exciting thing she told me was a little about my first host family.

I'll be living with three different host families while I'm in Russia. My first hostess is named Raisa. She has two daughters. One is in St. Petersburg studying at University, and the other is 16 and from what I understand will be in Michigan at the same time I'm in Russia. Nina gave me her e-mail address so we could share experiences and stuff. I'll probably e-mail here as soon as I figure out what I'm going to say. (I want to write both in English and Russian.) Anyway, I'm really really excited! I can't wait to go!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


Firstly though here's another cartoon for you. Complements of YouTube. (Have I mentioned how much I love YouTube?) In this cartoon the best has to be the sheep/goat thingy. He's like a poet. anyway after you check out the cartoon, I'll get to the meat of the post.

Okay, the meat of the post is as follows:


She told me some things that I already knew but it's all good because at least I had contact. I hope my passport gets here soon so I can start my visa application and everything!

Nina (the exchange coordinator) told me she was glad to hear that I've been studying Russian. She said that the more I know before I come, the easier it will be. That was encouraging. When I wrote back, I said that even though my Russian class is over for the semester, I'm going to be reviewing lots of vocab and grammar before I come. (Which I am.) The only thing left in Russian class is our translation portion of the exam which we're taking on Thursday. I'm excited because I bought a nice Russian dictionary at Border's a week or two ago and I get to use it on the translation because Marina said we could use our books and dictionaries. AHHH! I can't wait to go to Russia!!!!

That's all I've got for now. I'll keep you updated.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Russia's Winnie the Pooh-Винни Пух

Actually I think the Russian version is cuter than Disney's version. Plus it's in Russian so it's much more interesting. Anyway, I've decided that I absolutely love YouTube because not only can you watch Russia's vinni Puh, but you can also watch a whole host of other Russian Cartoons. Hopefully I'll be able to share some over the next few days. Just as something a little different. Me putting This video in the blog makes me feel so special. I feel like the blog has just had a technology update. Hee hee hee!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Oral

Today was my oral exam in Russian. I was pretty nervous because it meant sitting in Marina's office speaking Russian for fifteen minutes. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Plus she made me feel good. She told me that it's okay that I make mistakes when I speak, the point is to just keep speaking. She says she still makes mistakes in English all the time.

She did freak me out a little bit because she goes. "I Don't think you're going to get an A in this class." Immediately I was thinking that it was probably a B and though I'd be sad, I could deal with it because it is better than a C after all. Then she goes. "If you do okay on the grammar test, you'll probably have an A-" She was serious too. I think she thought I'd be sad with an A- but personally I as like "Whoo Hoo!" Friday is our grammar test and then next Thursday is the translation portion. I really need to get out and buy a Russian dictionary.