Sunday, November 30, 2008

Me talk pretty one day

today i had the longest conversation in Russian that i have ever had. and it was with a complete stranger in the metro. there was a little old Russian lady - i will call her "babushka", which in Russian means, "grandma" - in the metro sitting next to me and as we came to a stop, she turned to me and asked,

какой станция : "Which station is this?"
это черная речка : "It's Chornaya Retchka (Black Creek)
(babushka smiles and nods to thank me)

and i assumed this would be the end of our "chat", as this is the average length of most of my attempts at Russian. (especially with strangers) but! ...she continued.
and i bolstered myself for some intense listening and concentrating, because now the train was moving again, and i was not only having to concentrate hard on a foreign language, but it was really loud, to boot. here follows our conversation. (and i apologize to anyone who can read Russian because spelling is not my strong point.)

(babushka motions toward the book I'm reading - obviously written in English - and asks...)

babushka: ты читаешь? (You're reading?)
me: да. (yes.)

(i can't remember exactly how she phrased this next question, but basically she wants to know where i am from)

me: я американский, но я живу в санкт петербург : i am American, but i live in St. Petersburg.

babushka: ты говориш по русский? (you speak Russian?)
me: чуть чуть (a little)
babushka pats me on the arm and laughs)

babushka: сколько лет? (how old are you?)
me: тридцатъ один (31 years.)

(then babushka corrects me, because she has asked how long i have lived in St. Petersburg, not how old i am.)

babushka: нет здесъ. сколько лет? : no, here. how many years?
одна года. : oh, about one year.

babushka: нравитсья : do you like it?
me: да. хорошо. (yes, it's good.) (what else could i say?)

(she asks me something else, but i don't understand the question.)
me: извините. я не понимаю (sorry/pardon me, i don't understand.)

(she asks again and motions toward my book, but i still don't get it, and apologize again. she smiles knowingly, laughs and pats my arm again. then we got back to sitting quietly and waiting for our stops.)

my stop came up first, so i got up to leave.

me: очен приятна. до свидания (it's nice to meet you. goodbye.)
(she smiles)
babushka: до свидания (goodbye.)

and there you have it. maybe someday i will speak Russian well enough that little chats like this won't seem like such a victory. but for now, i am going to savor it and bask in the glory that is called learning a new language.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

sometimes news is too close to home

10:17am, Tuesday November 25, 2008
A car explosion in Russia's second city, St Petersburg, has killed three people including a small child.

Andrei Alybayev, spokesman for the local branch of the emergencies ministry, said:"A car exploded near the metro station Udelnaya at 8.55am.
"Three people were killed, including a three-year-old child."
He added that the explosion could have been caused by a "grenade", without giving any further details.
A fourth person has been seriously injured by the bombing.
Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is currently in the region around St Petersburg to inspect a new border post with neighbouring Finland.
Although there have been a number of terrorist attacks in Russia in recent years, usually blamed on Chechen extremists, they are rare in St Petersburg.

Sam and I are both fine. We live near Pioneerskaya Metro Station which is on the blue line. Udelnaya Station is the next station on the blue line, but it's not one that we usually travel to. Sam has to travel under Udelnaya to get to the hospital he's currently working at, but the blast was on street-level so it didn't effect the underground operation at all. Please pray for the families of those who were killed in the explosion.

Guess who?

Guess Who?

Guess Who?

Guess Who?

Guess Who?

Guess Who?

Guess Who?

Guess Who?

just at home

Guess Who?


Monday, November 24, 2008

Saturday, November 22, 2008

in no particular order...

things i have been thinking, wondering, pondering, or have seen, experienced or been surrounded by in the recent months.

* Does IKEA in America sell hot dogs for 50 cents? Because here, they do.
* We now have snow on the ground. I had to wear long johns today.
* Crab chips are awesome and Sam is not very happy if you eat the last of 'his' chips.
* We bought a wok and cooked stir fry in it yesterday. yum.
* I also found the most perfect (and so cute) one-cup french press to replace the one Matt gave me and I have used every day since then, even though it sustained a substantial crack on the initial journey to Russia.
* I am working 7 days a week now. It's a little overwhelming, but the money sure helps, especially since I wasn't working for 3 weeks when I was in the States.
* By God's grace we have paid Sam's first semester tuition. THANK YOU: Chuck and Carol, Karin Magnussen, Lititz C.O.B. Builder's Class, Chris from Lancaster General Hospital, Gary and Terry Schmidt, Mom and Dad Fabiano, Mom and Dad Zeiders! and thanks to those who have been praying for us and please continue praying for Sam's tuition fee ($3,000) for next semester.
* I had an amazing time in the States, (although I missed Sam a lot!) but I felt like a VIP the way I was totally spoiled by my family and Amber and Josh.
* We finally have a second door for our apartment. Sam sanded and painted the inner door yesterday.
* Russia doesn't seem as unfriendly as it used to. Does that mean I have adjusted?
* I was totally able to give people directions today. Yay, me. Even with my very limited Russian skills.
* I am savoring the Pumpkin Spice coffee that Reenie and Eileen bought for me. SO VERY YUMMY!
* Also savoring my Celestial Seasonings Tea from the tea factory in good old Boulder, CO. Morrocan Pomegranate Red, Red Safari Spice, Bluberry Green Tea, Sleepytime, and Sugarplum Spice.
* Books I have enjoyed in the last month: "Kite Runner", "The Shack", "Never Suck a Dead Man's Hand" I'd recommend them to anyone. Although, you'll need a strong stomach and sense of humor for the last one.
* My next great read will be "Long Walk to Freedom" by Nelson Mandela
* Sam once woke me in the morning with a kiss and a cup of hot coffee brought to me in bed. That was just about my favorite morning ever.
* This story has been sticking around in my head all week: Bone Marrow "cures HIV patient"
* I am really enjoying my new Zen V
* I've been enjoying the memories of Victoria Falls, and our walk along the edge, aching to go back at the Zambezi's low season to do this!