Russian Roundup – October 2019

with 4 Comments

Счастливого Хэллоуина! 😀

Have you had any interesting chances to use Russian lately? This summer I had several cool random opportunities to use Russian.

On a Portland – Seattle flight, I sat next to a friendly husband and wife from Belarus who had flown to the US to visit their daughter and grandchild.

On a Hawaii – Portland flight, my seatmates were traveling to Russia for the very first time to take a Viking river cruise (Moscow – St. P – Finland). We spoke the entire 6-hour flight about their trip itinerary and had a beginning Russian lesson: Здраствуйте, меня зовут ____, мы из Гавайи. Unbelievably… toward the end of the flight, I heard the family seated across the aisle also speaking Russian. They turned out to be from a small village in western Ukraine and spoke 5 languages: Russian, Ukrainian, Romanian, English and “our own language [dialect]”!

And at the grocery store in Portland one day, I heard an older couple chatting in Russian as they weighed a bag of cashews. My usual opening line is pretty awful, prepare yourself. “Вы говорите по русский! Как хорошо! Я изучаю русский язык!” I told you it’s cheesy. But it usually works. It’s ridiculous enough to disarm most people’s natural suspicion of strangers. Although there are about 50,000 Russian speakers in this city, these shoppers happened to be from Odessa, Ukraine and the students of one of my teacher friends here in town (also from Ukraine). Мир тесен!

In other news, I’m very slowly getting through a novel in Russian. Currently on page 185 and posting occasional updates on Instagram. We also watched the first part of HBO’s Catherine the Great miniseries. The verdict so far: costumes = amazing, plot = eh. And a movie I’ve wanted to see for a long time – Притяжение can now be streamed for free on Amazon Prime… but only dubbed into English.

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What is one thing you did this month to improve your Russian? What are your language goals for November? Leave me a comment below! 🙂

4 Responses

  1. J.T.
    | Reply

    My November language goal is to produce two polished personal statements in Russian. For…reasons…

    An interesting-but-pricey opportunity for students: Study Abroad: USA in Eastern Europe: Winds of Change.

    Pricey, yes.

  2. Teango
    | Reply

    Wow, that’s so weird…one of my wife’s maternity nurses said she and her friends booked a Russian Viking river cruise like the one you mentioned! Unfortunately the travel agency which was supposed to arrange her visa let her down at the last minute, so she was unable to join her friends for the trip and had to cancel. She seemed very disappointed as they had a whole itinerary planned and I think she mentioned something about flying to Portland too. Could this be a case of “small world”?

    • Katherine
      | Reply

      Wow, it definitely could be!! That’s a bummer that things didn’t work out with the visa arrangements though.

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