Banya

Today I met the French teacher at our school. She’s Russian but teaches French and doesn’t know English. So a perfect opportunity for speaking Russian! We spoke a bit in Russian and I tried to revive my French but it just wasn’t there. It’s amazing how quickly languages can disappear. I couldn’t even string a sentence together! All I remembered were set phrases that I’d memorized. So perhaps some French lessons are in order!

After classes we all went to the banya. It was really nice and very modern, not at all what I was expecting. There was a room with couches and a table, a big screen TV and even a karaoke machine. Then if you walked down some steps there was a pool complete with a waterfall. In another room was the sauna and yet another room housed some showers. So we had food and drinks, sang some karaoke, swam, had a steam, and just had a very enjoyable and relaxing evening.

When I first arrived I felt a bit intimidated because I was the only non-native Russian speaker there. But I realized it was a great opportunity to practice my Russian and hear others speaking Russian. But I found everyone spoke so fast that by the time I understood everything, the topic had changed completely and I didn’t really contribute to the conversation. Plus, I’ve noticed that when I speak Russian everyone seems to put their attention on me and they’re all so fascinated by how I speak, what I saw, how I pronounce words, etc. It’s very unnerving and uncomfortable, like living under a microscope almost. I miss just being. It’s difficult to explain but I never realized or noticed my mere existence before. Now it’s like everything I do is magnified times 100. Like I’m in colour and I’m walking through a black and white world. Every small thing is observed with such curiosity and scrutiny. It’s excellent experience for getting to know both my own and different cultures, but at times it’s simply exhausting.

But despite it all it was a lovely evening and I had a wonderful time. The only negative is that two days later my phone still isn’t working. Tomorrow I’ll find the number for MegaPhone and try to find out what’s wrong.

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