first week of school

Hurray, first week successfully completed! (Here I use the word “successfully” with a more conventional meaning than previously.)

On Monday, Vickie and I met Anton, our contact. He’s a doll. Super patient and helpful, and he even came to our dorm to see if he could fix our nonfunctional internet router. He took us around to meet professors, the vice-rector of the university, and even a RFL (Russian as a Foreign Language) class full of international students. That quickly turned into all of the students talking with us in English, and then even more quickly turned into us teaching a class on Russian possessives.

Vickie and me in front of the class trying to teach possessive pronouns while we also try to figure out what they already know. Improv!

The student newspaper ended up running a story on us, which is kind of cool.

After that one spontaneous Russian class, it was all English for us. What this looks like:

  1. Professor from the department says, “Can you come to my Year 1 class tomorrow at 1pm?”
  2. We say, “Sure.”
  3. We go to the class and awkwardly stand there while the professor tells the class who we are.
  4. We show a photo slideshow/powerpoint about who we are, where we come from, and our families (because the students are learning that vocab).
  5. We ask them to introduce themselves.
  6. After much hiding of faces behind books and rolling of eyes, the students do in fact introduce themselves.
  7. Then the students ask us questions, ranging from “How old are you” to “What do you think about Vladimir Putin” and which 90% of the time include “Why Ukhta.”

Vickie and I have now given our “About Me + My Hometown + My Family” presentations so many times that we have not only our own but also each others’ memorized. I have also discerned several parts of my presentation guaranteed to get a reaction: all the boys think my sister is cute (she is), all the girls giggle when I mention that one of her hobbies is Instagram (#calledit), the students from Nepal love that my dad grew up in the Philippines, and everybody everybody loves my dog.

Us with one of the classes. To my right is Vickie, to my left is Nastya (a Fulbright to America last year, and a teacher at USTU). Around us is the class. Yes, all men. Also yes, I need to learn to Russian-photo smile.
Us with one of the classes. To my right is Vickie, to my left is Nastya (a Fulbright to America last year, and a teacher at USTU). Around us is the class. Yes, all men. Also yes, I need to learn to Russian-photo smile.
Talking about Notre Dame, and how pretty all the buildings are, and snow.
Talking about Notre Dame, and how pretty all the buildings are, and snow.

Nothing too eventful happened in relation to our classes, unless you count getting on the right-bus-wrong-direction afterwards and ending up at the airport instead of our dorm. Casual.

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