Today I had not one but two incredible opportunities to speak Russian. Of course there are numerous opportunities every day but I find that it’s always better, more challenging and more fulfilling to speak Russian with someone who doesn’t know English very well or at all. It makes me stretch my mental muscles and I always end up learning a lot of new words, phrases and constructions. Plus the other person isn’t interested in improving or practicing their English with me so they’re happy to speak entirely in Russian.
The first interaction was with the woman who comes to clean our school. Alisa and I were working late as usual and she came and began cleaning the class rooms. We began chatting and she was really interesting, telling me about how she studied German in school instead of English and asking me a lot of questions about my Russian learning. She seems genuinely curious about me when she found out I was Americana and even asked how to say certain things in English. I think I was a bit surprised by this as many older Russians aren’t especially accepting of foreigners and seem set in their ways. I know it’s a bit of a stereotype but in my experience it rings true more often than not.
After that, I came home and one of my roommate’s boyfriend’s friends dropped by. I’m still not used to people just showing up at my flat unexpected. Back home most people would consider this rude. I love the Russian attitude toward friendship where they believe if you are good friends, then you don’t mind if your friends drop by and visit you. I think this is a great way of looking at things but I’m still caught off guard when it happens. So he came over and my roommate has been teaching him English and his English is really good but still at a low level. This translated into speaking Russian almost the entire evening and I also had the opportunity to translate back and forth between him and my roommate.