Posted by: jmarleneh | October 24, 2008

Do you hear that? Sounds like “Пятницу”!?

My grammar class meets for an hour and half four times a week but sometimes it feels much longer. Today I was especially irritated because I had gotten so much of the homework wrong. I tried to keep my dread to myself but I couldn’t help sighing after every answer’s explanation and I cringed when it was my turn to share what I did wrong. I understand better now of course (I hope!) but why must I get it so wrong the first time?!! Anyways with 15 or so mintues to go we started to hear the sound of an accordion and singing. Another group practicing for the international fair next week! I confess I’ve been really jealous seeing my Korean friends practice with their elegant costumes and dance routines. And what will the 4 Americans present? Good question! We couldn’t come up with anything. We had a meeting. It was awkward. “Do you any of you dance?” No. “Sing?” No. They finally told us we can give a short presentation about the city we’re from. Where was I going with this . . . oh, yes, we heard the accordion playing. And I listened enviously except suddenly I realized they were singing Russian songs- will the teachers participate like they did in the tug-o-war tournament?

 Finally class ended and we discovered the noise was from a group of Russian performers who were preparing for a concert about to start. They wore traditional costumes and played traditional instruments. I took lots of pics but the light was bad. My favorite part was when they invited students to join in the dance. I got invited to dance in front of everyone. They put a crown on my head. The older gentleman gave me a bow and qued me to follow his lead. I awkwardly bowed too but not too awkwardly since I was delighted by how ridiculously fun this all was that I didn’t have much time to think too much about what I was doing and whether it was really bad or not.  It was a lot of fun to pretend I knew what I was doing. One must just “go with the flow” with these things because it just makes them more enjoyable.  I really enjoying dancing when I am not suppose to know what’s going on. Later they invited everyone to dance in a circle and play some games similar to “duck duck goose” (except better, of course!). It was really fun to not just watch but participate.

Later I dropped by the American Councils office here in Vladivostok. They have an English library and I started reading Brothers Karamazov in a cafe today. I am so elated! I really regretted not buying a copy before leaving and here it is- IN ENGLISH! That’s so rare to find here!  American Councils advises Russian students about studying abroad in highschool or applying to American universities. Lewis & Clark should have more students from Russia studying there! The organization keeps some English fiction for their returnees to borrow (but it’s also open to students like me!). Rebecca bumped into some consulate workers (and the ambassador?!?- I still don’t know I have to ask) and I noticed them on the street and we chatted together with them briefly!

Altogether (or at least since I began this post) it was a lovely day . . .



  1. Jessica! I love reading your posts. I’m so glad you are having fun. I really liked your two previous posts. Do you have any pictures?

  2. I love watching you dance! Did anyone take pictures of you?
    P.S. Way to be Tao about the dancing, just go with the flow.

  3. what is this ?what our you thinging abou t.there’snothing for you to worry about .why are you hinding

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