Posted by: jmarleneh | November 13, 2008

Not enough time

I can’t believe it’s already mid-November!

4 months really isn’t long enough.  There’s so much I will miss here!  How much better a year here would be!   Rebecca and I met Evan’s former roommate Kota here. He will return to Japan by the end of this November and speaks Russian very well! How much better my Russian would be after a year! I stongly recommend students try to study longer than a semester. Maybe during the summer and a fall semester at least?!?

Yesterday we had our first test in Russian Grammar covering 10 chapters in our textbook! 10 chapters! To be fair, our professor told us we didn’t have to study everything from these chapters but her tips on what to study weren’t comprehensive and to be candid I didn’t do very well. 😦 I wish we were tested on smaller increments in the book. I understand most of my mistakes though and I think I will feel more confident about our next test.

On a completely unrelated note . . .

More than one acquaintance, once comfortable enough with me, has asked me about my “sun tan.” No, I am not a really tanned Whi-I mean “Caucasian American.”  In the winter I do not “return” back to a pearly white tone. I really stay this way all year around. And yes, my parents are also Americans from the U.S. “But do you get darker during the summer?” I was asked. I laughed. The answer is that I do of course, although I am still not quite sure if we understood eachother. I am often entertained by what “ethnicity” people think I am in the U.S.  I am from Portland, Oregon- mentioned in the book Stuff White People Like for having the largest proportion of White people for a city its size! Still I miss seeing different faces on the streets.

Vladivostok’s history can’t be studied with out noting all the role foreigners played. One of the main streets in the city was even once named after Americans!

People really like to ask me about my nationality. “I am American” I’ve told them. “Yes, but what nationality?” I puzzle so many people. When I can I like to show a picture of my parents together. Eyebrows raise.  A picture says what words can’t (especially with my Russian!).



  1. I prefer European American, I am not from Caucasia =-P That’s great you can take people’s eyebrows in stride. I can’t believe November’s half gone too! Staying longer would be wonderful, but this way I get to see you soon! I got street cart food on 9th today, and I always think of you when I go there. I imagine seeing you around campus too; I swear I’m not losing it!

  2. I experienced some of the same issues when I was abroad. In fact, my spanish friends had a really hard time understanding how I could be both mexican and american. and people had a really hard time “placing” my nationality. i was contstantly thought to be italian, spanish, greek, even indian and pakistani. very interesting to come up against peoples ideas of what it means to “be” an american.

  3. Lol… I find it hilarious that you think Kota speaks “good” Russian. When I was there, his Russian sounded like Japanese – in the sense that both were COMPLETELY incomprehensible… no offense to Kota… <:-)

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