Tuesday, July 5, 2011


For the last week I've been casting around, unsuccessfully, for something to write about that isn't purely extraneous. The days are very full of the Russian language, seasonal fruit (plums and nectarines and raspberries this week), walks in parks, plans for future letter-writing, along with the usual soup├žon of tiredness and procrastination. I owe about four letters, and there's a trip to Russia that needs planning. But I'm finding it difficult to write. I don't know why.

Perhaps if I begin to describe my day, I'll find my groove. So here it goes.

Classes start at ten in the morning, which suits me well. I can sleep in till eight and have a leisurely breakfast. Usually, it's toast and plunger coffee (specially couriered from Melbourne, thanks to a generous mutti); lately, with the prevalence and goodness of fruit everywhere, it's berries and stone fruit too. The school I attend is a 15 minute marshrutka ride away. However, I try to walk most days, since the mornings aren't too hot and the exercise is necessary, so it becomes a 50 minute commute. This morning, I listened to Glenn Richards and Josh Garrels on the way, and the music made me glad; the former, because it was so thoroughly and poignantly Australian, and the latter because it helped me to pray as I walked.

There are three classes in a day, all one-on-one tutorials - Grammar, Reading, Conversation. I like Grammar the best, because my dodgy pronunciation doesn't matter so much, and because the teacher is patient and maintains at a pace I can match. The other two teachers don't speak much English, and they plough full steam ahead regardless of whether I understand or not. My speaking is getting better, though I still struggle with some of the heavy sounds and where to put the accents in words. The classes are eighty minutes in length, with ten minute breaks in between, hence the feeling of having been run over by a freight train at the end of the day. Also, they are fond of giving me enough homework every night to fit into a wheelbarrow. Still, it leaves me a couple of hours of leisure in the afternoon, which I like to spend in the park, or reading, or both.

I went to a pot-luck dinner this evening, hosted by a Swiss family in my organisation. It was very pleasant to eat salad under a shady apricot tree and find out how other people are spending their summers and to be encouraged by good fellowship. The other pleasant thing that happened today was that my hot water was restored - after several weeks of cold showers, I very nearly kicked my heels for joy.

Well, perhaps tomorrow I'll find a groove to write in!

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