Monthly Archives: July 2011
I’ve been home for a couple of days from Fulbright PDO.
Oh my lord. I met so many amazing people. So many. I met people from all over the country who are going to various places in Europe and Eurasia…primarily Eastern Europe. Many of them are going to Russia. I got to learn about their plans and aspirations. It was so exciting and intense. Oh yes, very intense, I’m still worn out from such a week. But it’s more than worth it.
I feel I may have made some lifelong friends there.
So to describe the week in as short a span as I can: The first two and a half days were for ETA training–essentially, how to teach language. It was interesting and a good opportunity to get the creative juices flowing. I can’t wait to have time to sit down and create lesson plans (although I have a couple already completed thanks to some of the sessions at PDO). The next two and a half days were more technical stuff–adjusting to being in another country/cultural differences, health issues/medicine/insurance, social networking, and general Q&A sessions with returning Fulbrighters. In the evenings we were mostly free. I visited two of my good friends who are both in D.C. on internships on two nights and on the others went out with some of my new friends. I tried different kinds of food, like Moroccan and Ethiopian. Did a little sightseeing. Absolutely incredible stuff.
I get the sense that the connections I have made and that I have yet to make will be with me for the rest of my life. My life is about to become richer for it. That realization that took my breath away.
To other Fulbrighters and other world travelers who might be reading this, you know what I’m talking about. And you know how hard it is to convey the excitement and anticipation of the future we are facing. I know I’ve never been more excited about anything in my life. I don’t know about you, but to me it’s different from the kind of anticipation I’ve had for anything else.
Takoe prekrasnoe budushchee vizhu. What a beautiful future I can see.
This reminds me of a song that I’ve been listening to for a while. It’s called “Nash Put'” (“Our Path” or “Our Way”) by a power metal band called Catharsis. However, this is one of their slow songs. I love it.
For those of you who speak Russian, here are the lyrics in Cyrillic: http://masteroff.org/10826.html
For those of you who do not speak Russian, I’ve transliterated and translated the lyrics for you below. I think you’ll find them extremely beautiful, as is the song itself.
That’s it for now. Until next time, moyi druz’ya, take care.
Dyen'... [Day...] Vot i noviy dyen'. [There's yet a new day.] T'ma otpustila. [The night has let go.] Na Zemlye [On the Earth] I v moye cud'bye [And in my destiny] Dyen' - solntsa sila! [Day - of a strong sun!] Nash put' [Our path] Yesho dalyok! [Still far!] Poka ne vlasten nad serdtsami lyod - vperyod! [Until ice masters our hearts - onward!] Svyet... [Light...] Vnov' nebesniy svyet [Again heavenly light] Nam cmotrit v dushi. [Peers into our souls.] Dan zavyet - [A given covenant - ] Inogo nyet [There is no other] Svyet - vot oruzhiye! [Light - there's the weapon!] Nash put' [Our path] Yesho dalyok [Still far!] I prodolzhaetsya streli polyot! [And still the arrows fly!] Nash put' [Our path] Yesho dalyok! [Still far!] Poka ne vlasten nad serdtsami lyod - vperyod! [Until ice masters our hearts - onward!] Tol'ko ne ver' [Don't just believe] Toskye poter'! [Lose your sorrow!] Nyet, ne clomit' [No, don't break] Stal'nuyu nit' [The iron thread] Myezhdu nami! [Between us!] Plamya zvezdoy gorit, [Star fire burns] Siyayet slava utrenney zari! [Glory of a morning dawn shines!] Angel yeyo khranit - [An angel saves it - ] Smotri: krilya yevo - kak myech i shchit! [Behold: his wings - like sword and shield!] Znachit, nash put' dalyok! [So, our road is long!] I prodolzhaetsya streli polyot [Still the arrows fly!] Nash put' [Our path] Yesho dalyok! [Still far!] Poka ne vlasten nad serdtsami lyod - vperyod! [Until ice masters our hearts - onward!]
I’m here in our nation’s beautiful capital city for Fulbright Pre-Departure Orientation (PDO). Washington is a zamechatel’niy gorod (wonderful city). I have never been here before, but I never knew how beautiful it is. I look forward to seeing more.
PDO hasn’t technically started yet, but I’m already meeting wonderful and fascinating people. I’m sharing a room with another Fulbright ETA to Russia. She and I hit it off right away. There were so many questions to ask one another! Where did we begin? It was so hard to decide and it all just came tumbling out. Here we are, unified by an interest in the same country. The same language. And similar goals. What a wonderful soul I have found in her! As I write this, we’re listening to our collections of international music and chatting in Russian. She has more languages in my music library than I do…and I have over 40! (Do not die of shock, moyi druz’ya! Many of you would never have thought this possible. But we have so much to talk about because of it!)
What I have already noticed is the wonder of meeting so many people from all around the country and learning about where they come from and where they’re going. I find myself awed to be surrounded by people like me–international-minded–who want to make a difference in the world. I am blessed with this opportunity to learn from others, to teach others, and to see the world. I am being immersed into a world I never could have imagined.
What I love about knowing Russian is knowing exactly what the words mean. I am going to give you two examples here that are extremely relevant and fascinating.
The first is the word “priklyucheniye.” I have titled this blog “Sibirskiye priklyucheniya“: “Siberian Adventures.” I did this for a reason. A priklyucheniye is an adventure. But when you break down the word, it means something more. The prefix “pri-” indicates coming upon something, arrival. The word “klyuch” means “key.” An adventure, a priklyucheniye, to put it in the best English sense of the term, is an “unkeying.” When you think of that, don’t you think of opening a door? That’s exactly what this experience is and will continue to be.
The second word is “myezhdunarodniy” (“international”). There is an important aspect to this word that truly gets lost in translation. The Russians have two words for “nation”: “strana” and “narod.” The first, strana, means a nation as in a country. The second, however, narod, means a nation in the sense of the people. “Myezhdu” is a word meaning “amongst” or “between.” So myezhdunarodniy means “that which occurs between peoples.” Wow. What an interesting concept and distinction. I believe the Russians have the right idea here. It implies a feeling that it is the people of nations who drive international affairs, not merely pravitel’stva (governments).
This is the type of thing I hope to continue to learn when I go to Russia. I hope to be able to grasp how they live and how they view the world. I want to be able to return to my country and tell people what I’ve learned. That’s what this is all about. My teaching duties won’t stop after the Fulbright program–they will merely change and evolve into fostering understanding of another culture. Which is what we need for peace.
Well, it is late and I must sleep. It has been a long day and I rise early tomorrow…or rather, today, haha.
Until next time, moyi druz’ya, take care.
Hello my friends! / Привет мои друзья!
So this is my first post. I’m here at home in Ft. Lauderdale setting this up because I CAN’T WAIT.
All things Russian are so exciting to me, especially right now. If I run into a native speaker when I’m out and about, I talk to them, thrilled that I have that ability. I look up pictures of Russia online frequently. I am a frequent visitor of the Yandex website, looking up words in their dictionaries and encyclopedias. While I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of the vast amount of Russian literature out there, what I have read, I like A LOT and I wish to read more (in the original, of course). I smile when I see matryoshki, the nesting dolls. I have a few in my room. They smile down at me from my shelf, knowing that soon I will be returning to my roots.
For those of you who do not know me personally, I’ll give some background about myself. My name is Danya (my Russian nickname, which I will use here), I’m 22, and I am going to Krasnoyarsk, Russia (smack dab in the middle of Siberia) for 10 months on a Fulbright scholarship to teach English at Siberian Federal University. I chose to go to Russia because I wanted to see the country that my ancestors came from. I wanted to teach English because I love languages and language learning, including my native English (though some of my friends might raise an eyebrow at that one). I am a bona-fide Language Nerd. Yeah, that’s right, with a capital L and N. It is a title long-earned. I speak four languages: English, Spanish, Russian, and Turkish.
A few other tidbits: I graduated from New College of Florida with a degree in political science/economics (focusing on international relations), I am a Tae Kwon Do-ist (a second dan to boot), I love to read, I love music (especially in other languages), I love movies of all kinds, and I have a great set of family and friends who support me.
I’m not sure what to expect, other than that it will be cold and it will be one of the most amazing experiences of my life. (Even about the cold part, I still don’t know what to expect. I’ve never been in below-freezing temperatures before…so this should be interesting.) I am told that even though the weather is cold, the people are warm. I believe it.
Next week I will be in Washington, D.C. for Pre-Departure Orientation. There, they will tell me more of what to expect. (Not that there’s been any shortage of that, seeing as they sent me a–literally–60-page packet on what to expect, which I immediately sat down and read cover to cover. Most of it was oriented towards Fulbrighters going to Moscow and St. Petersberg, so I still don’t entirely have a clue on what to expect.)
Even so, I look forward to recording my adventures here. I hope to share with you the wonders of the places I see while I’m in Russia, to help you see it through my eyes to the best of my ability. I hope you enjoy reading them. I hope you enjoy learning Russian words (which I will certainly be throwing in there), learning different aspects of the culture, and seeing my understanding grow and change during my time there.
Until next time, moyi druz’ya (my friends), take care.