Saturday, November 27, 2004

updates, english classes

Today I bought internet/phone cards and the adapter that i think i need to connect to the internet from my laptop at home. Although the at-best 56 kb connection is going to be a bummer, the good news is that i'll be able to start posting pictures directly to my blog once in a while. In any event, it should be a lot faster than the connection at the university, and a lot more convenient than trekking to netzone or the recently-discovered internet library on my block. somehow i never really noticed it earlier, and when i did notice it i thought it was just a computer supplies store. and now for something completely different-

On friday Andrei invited me to help him give a test to his freshman english class, and had me write and dictate a little passage in english about my entirely fictional little sister. She is tall. She likes to play tennis. She speaks english in the present tense. etc. I was supposed to pretend that I didn't understand any russian, but i think some of the girls in the back figured me out because I smiled a few times when they were all speaking russian. Anyway they'll figure it out sooner or later because i'm taking a class in russian at the history department (where they study), and i made a narrow escape at avant garde last night.

After their test, Andrei also had me talk about myself, what I like to do, and all that, and then had them ask me questions. I never really realized how terribly i speak english until I started trying to speak slowly and intelligibly to a bunch of 1st year students. the one guy in the class (who apparently didn't speak a word of english) got one of the girls behind him to translate "do you like russian vodka?" for their part, the girls wanted to know if i had a girlfriend, and why not, and what's my ICQ number? In a week or two, I'm going to come to the second year class he teaches too.

While i'm on the subject, english textbooks for russians are really, really funny. Either stuffy old british people are writing them, or russians who were taught english by stuffy old british people are. And by old, i mean david copperfield old. when was the last time you heard anyone ask, have you a brother? have you a sister? So there's that sort of english, but then the text is about Mary Johnson who is a young beautiful long-legged actress in Hollywood with lots of boyfriends and 5 cars. To his credit, Andrei is teaching them to ask "do you have..." and basically more realistic english. Maybe i'll get him to loan me one of the books so I can share a few passages. Maybe i'll just leave you to dream!