Numbers, Art, Spoons and Trams

(Tuesday 4th October 2011 written and posted 5th October)
The lesson today was about numbers. Numbers of “things” in Russian present special problems for a foreigner. The form of the word “thing” depends on the details of the “thing” (masculine, feminine, neuter, animate, inanimate) and the number:
  • One thing is “nominative”
  • 2, 3 and 4 things are “genitive singular” (yes, I know that 2, 3 and 4 are plural), and
  • 5 and more things are “genitive plural”
  • And the game starts again at 21, 22-23-24, 25+, 31, etc!
If someone really understands it, contact me off-line, you may be able to earn yourself a drink!
Another exercise was a lady telling me her recipe for happiness: “A dollup of this, 5 tonnes of that, a smidgin of something else”. You can probably see how it relates to the earlier stuff about plurals. Part of the homework is to produce my own recipe.
After lunch I went on a trip round the a Novosibirsk art gallery with a lady called Nastia. The association of the name in English is completely wrong. She’s a 21 year old Literature student, who speaks better English than my Russian, but won’t while she’s with me! We went round the gallery, and I learned about her taste in art (she likes paintings of the sea, and so do I) and she learned that I used to work in a steelworks (because there were Soviet era engravings of coke-ovens and a blast furnace). I enjoyed the trip and I hope she did too. We spent over an hour and a half in the gallery and I haven’t concentrated so hard for a long time.
Then it was back to school to do some of the homework. I did formal “numbers of this and that” exerises I had to do, but just couldn’t get to grips with the “recipe for happines”.
Fed up with the Recipe for happiness (which was making me unhappy), and armed with a flyer I found at the school, I set off to find a souvenir shop. A bus ride and a short walk later, I bought some carved wooden spoons with painted decoration. I think they are very pretty.
On the way home, I decided to go by a different route and take a trip on a tram. The trams in Novosibirsk are pretty old. You have to climb a long way up to get into them. This one took me pretty much the whole way home. I could get it (the other way round) to the school, but I think that would be a waste of effort. (Minibuses cost 35 r, Metro 15 r, buses and trolley-buses 14 r, and trams 13 roubles). If you want the real, post-soviet experience, travel by tram.
Dinner was pork cutlet, mashed potato, tomato and cucumber.
Boosa is 12. She’s getting pretty old. I hope the “accident” was an isolated incident, otherwise her days are probably numbered.
I still couldn’t think of a suitable “recipe, so I “played hookey”, and watched “Pirates of the Carribean” (in Russian), and had a bottle of strong beer (that’s what is says on the label, and it is 7%).

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