University and More

Today we got our test results back…didn’t do too bad. Then we had a reading lesson and it was amazing! I never had anything like this at university…I guess it’s a testament to how beneficial small classes and 1:1 interaction with a teacher can be. It was incredible to read and discuss things in Russian. Reading comprehension also came into play and of course there was a surplus of interesting cultural material in not only the readings (they are fairy tales) but also in the use of the language to illustrate different points.

Then on the way back home I was chatted up by a guy on the street. Nothing especially good or bad but it was refreshing to have a conversation with someone (a “real” person!) in Russian and outside of class…not a teacher I suppose. The interaction and communication (understanding and being understood) is exhilarating and can really make your day. So thanks to that guy, wherever he is, for making my day!

Tomorrow we have an excursion to Peterhof. I’ve seen some really amazing photos of it and can’t wait to see it in person.
Some more things I’ve noticed along the way:
The elevators are incredibly small. Sometimes only four (quite small-average sized) people can fit inside. Claustrophobics would not like Russia at all.

When paying for something money doesn’t touch hands. Instead, there is a tray where you put your bills and coins and then they take it. The same is done when giving change, they don’t directly hand it to you. I was told this has something to do with not wanting to take money from people; it is more like they are giving the money to you. I’ll have to investigate this one further.

On the buses there is a person who walks through and takes your money. I must say this person (called the “kontroler”) has very impressive maths skills as they often take your money (sometimes quite large bills; fare is 17 rubles) and instantly calculate the change in their heads. Then they give you a small slip of paper which is your ticket or proof of payment. Really different compared to America and less stressful than having to pay as soon as you get on the bus. Here you can leisurely find a seat, get out your wallet and pay when you have the money ready.

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