4 weeks in Russia: Too much, too soon!

One day in and my brain is full… I wonder what the Russian for “I’ve bitten off more than I can chew” is?

Having worked extra for Moodle on Sunday in order to take some time out registering at the school and doing the placement test on Monday,  I duly turned up at 8.45, did the test and a small oral exam and was placed in a group with two Germans, a Korean, a Swiss, an American and an Italian. One of the things I’ve loved about the language school is the diversity of the cultures. The first session revised time prepositions and the second was conversational vocab related to nutrition and food preparation – making me acutely aware of how many verbs and kitchen words I have simply never learned. Too many, in fact to actively memorise – I mean – how often am I going to need снять пену с бульона ?

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At two pm I went with my son or – as the Russians delightfully say “We with my son went” to the university to sign up for the exams. This is where it all went wrong. Fine for my son who is going to do the 3rd certificate (C1 level) in May but my carefully constructed plan of studying for three weeks and then in the final week of March taking the exam was abruptly  destroyed when they said the room was full with a group of Chinese students and there was no availability. Could I do the week earlier -that is, 20th and 21st March? Well I could – I can – I don’t want to – but it was either that or not do the exam at all during this lengthy stay. So I booked it. Arrghhh.

However, psychologically I then figured that if I don’t pass all the elements I can simply say both to myself and others “Well – I didn’t have enough time – I was’t ready”… and I can rebook for May, when my son does his. And it will also mean that the fourth week I am here, I can continue the Russian classes but just for the pleasure of learning, not with a significant goal in mind.

Then at five pm I had my private lesson with the lovely Lilya and by 7.30 pm I was utterly shattered, so the homework for today has hastily been done this morning  just like my students who used to rush it at the last minute. Moodle has had some of me since 6 am and the rest of me from 2pm – roll on next week when I have booked some leave…

One comment

  1. In the example ( снять пену с бульона) it’s worth noting that these are high frequency words that can crop up in lots of different contexts:

    Снять is the same “take” in take a photo (снять фото) “take off” in take off your hat (снять шлапу) or “rent” in rent a flat (снять квартиру)

    Пена (foam) can also be bath foam or shaving foam, or the foam on a wave in the sea.

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