Thursday, October 04, 2007

Guessing Game

Okay, now it's time to play a little game I've put together. There is a picture at the top of this post. Do all of you see it? Good. Now here's the game. Can any of you guess the place where this picture was taken?
(No peeking to the rest of this post)
If you said Yakutsk, give yourself a point.
If you just said Russia, you need to learn the name of my city and you only get half a point.
Now, Can you guess when this was taken?
If you said this morning, you automatically lose. No. Actually you just lose a point.
The correct answer is yesterday. If you said yesterday, go you! you get another point. Now, do you know what the date was yesterday?

October 3rd.

Yeah, that's right. I got up yesterday morning and was doing my thing and Raisa says "It's the first snow!" and I was like "What?" She goes "You didn't see it?" So I look out the window and sure enough, there's snow on the ground. When I went outside to walk to the bus stop I found out it was a decent covering of snow. It stayed most of yesterday before melting into muck. This morning when I woke up, there was no snow on the ground. I went outside to go to the bus stop and guess what? It was snowing. Hard. It snowed all day. Basically. It stopped snowing around three and all the snow melted into muck. But all day it snowed. And snowed and snowed. It was like midwinter Ohio, only less cold. It was snowing hard enough that if this were Ohio they probably would've cancelled school. Here they cancel school when there's no heat in the building. Or when it's too foggy. My guess is that it's probably going to snow tomorrow. Let the Yakutian winter begin!

In other news, I'm doing much better here for those of you who don't know. Things got better my fourth week here, and I'm enjoying myself a lot. I feel like I'm integrating better with my classmates, and I can understand spoken Russian better. Sometimes I can understand better than people think I can. I'm proud of myself because I can have conversations outside of just the basic small talk. Sure, I have horrible grammer, and sometimes I pantomime a lot, and I really need a thesaurus to improve my vocabulary, but at least I can do it. Last night I was telling Raisa about a poem I read for literature, that I didn't understand and what the teacher said it was about, and then I told her a little about Bunin. Today I sat and talked to a girl from school for about twenty mintues. Some of it basics and some of it not. Oh and I recounted my Great Bus Adventure in Russian. Twice.

And now for your enjoyment

Here's how it went down. There is one bus that stops at the station nearest the apartment complex where I live. That bus is number 17. When I first started riding the bus in the mornings, Nadia, my classmate, said that I had to be careful to not get on the wrong bus because there are two bus 17s and one goes to the wrong side of the city. So today guess which bus I got on?

Yup, the wrong one. Personally I handled it very well. I remained calm, and honestly it didn't really matter to me that I was going to be late for school. The school doesn't really care if your late and I don't know, I just have this really lax attitude about school while I'm here. I'm on the wrong bus and I'm like. "Okay, it's an exchange adventure." and with that I rode the bus. I had it all planned out when I was going to get off, and then the bus driver goes "It's the end of the line, everyone off!" or the Russian equivalent so I gave him my money and got off. Do you want to know where I was? I was at the opposite end of the city. No joke. I was seriously on the opposite side of the city from where I started. In some was, the school was closer to where I lived than I was. I didn't have a ton of money with me to get back on the bus so I started heading towards the general direction I thought the school was. Did I mention it was snowing...Hard? Yeah so by the time I got to school I looked like the abominable snowman. I was only about ten minutes late. I looked at the schedule, realized that our first lesson was math, not literature like I had previously thought and promptly decided that I wasn't going to math.

I don't skip classes. Seriously, it's not a habit I have. I accidentally skipped gym class once here, and on Wednesdays sometimes I skip, but that's technically not skipping because I go to the Rotary meetings. It was just. I was tired from walking across the city, and hot because I'd been wearing my coat and my sweater and so I'm roasting and decided that I couldn't take sitting through math class. So I didn't. I sat and talked to a girl from one of the other 11th grade classes and you know what? I think I got more out of that than if I'd sat in on Math because it gave me a chance to practice my Russian.

This is kind of off topic, but what amuses me is when I start thinking in my head the way Russians speak English. I don't talk to native english speakers here. Why? Because there aren't any. Well except for Judith that one time, but she's in Vladivostock now. Anyway, so when I hear English I hear English the way Russians speak it. (Except for Leilia because she speaks English with a German accent because she just came back from Germany but that's another story.) So today I was walking to the city center and I was thinking about something, and I thought about how tomorrow is "the day of teachers" That's seriously the way the words were in my head. Not teacher's day like a good native english speaker, but day of teachers. It made me smile. I did it yesterday too. I said something about "In Sakha Republic" the Russian speakers tend to leave out the "the" in The Sakha Republic". It's just something interesting.

Okay this is a really long post, but just wanted to give you all a thorough update on my life while I have the chance. To end with here are some entertaining mistakes I've made the past few days that either I've caught or the native speakers have.

Me: "Yeah, the restaurant is in the old year"
--In Russian the word for year is "god" (long o) and the word for city is "gorod" I was speaking quickly and accidentally said "god"

me: *pointing to the crosswalk signal for go" The alien is my friend!
--Leilia laughed at this one. The crosswalk signal for go is a green colored person that looks like they're walking. So I said "The green person is my friend" or "the green man is my friend" I found out after I said it that "green man" (In Russian zelonii chelovek) is basically the phrase for Aliens (UFO not aliens from another country)

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