(Wednesday 14th September, written same day)
Today was a straight “work day”, so not many photos. Lessons in the morning, administration at lunch-time, homework and prep in the afternoon, presentation on “Siberian Cities” in the late afternoon.
The day started with a lady friend of my landlady’s arriving for breakfast. She spoke some English, but we spoke Russian. It wasn’t an exciting conversation, but we communicated. I used my pre-prepared stories, she told me a little about herself. I’m starting to understand things. It’s limited, but I’m improving.
School was more individual work. This time I had a man teacher. I think it is good to move between different teachers. Different tones and vocal styles help my understanding.
The first exercise was about Ireland! It was conducted in Russian. At first I didn’t really understand what was happening, but it was very good. The objective was to teach me, what I knew already about my home country, and how to express that in Russian.
- How big is Ireland?
- How many people?
- Famous people?
To my surprise I found I was holding a conversation, in Russian, about a subject I hadn’t prepared. You wouldn’t call it “fluent”, but I came away with a resource sheet, which I had completed, in Russian which I can use as the basis for small talk. The exercise was useful, and the product was useful. I also learned the equivalent facts about Russia.
Then on to more grammar. More on personal possessive pronouns and Nominative, Accusative and Locative cases. Don’t worry if you don’t understand, because I’m not sure if I do. I do the exercises and I think I’m learning, but it isn’t clear yet.
This is followed by an exercise in aural comprehension supported by written comprehension as well. It’s all about some ghastly little boy’s plans for his birthday. The boy may be horrible, but the exercise is good. Part of the homework is finishing off the written translation and checking/completing the answers to questions.
The rest of the homework is conjugating verbs (don’t worry…) and the prepositional case (…).
When the 3 students escape from their lessons, we all go to eat in Vilka-Lojka. This is the McDonald’s meets a works canteen. It’s good and cheap.
After lunch we go back to the school. One of the other students has the same problem as me, his cards won’t work. With the help of the school we identify another bank to try, and also go armed for my “Plan C”, which is to exchange some of my emergency stash of Euro’s and Sterling.
We’re in luck! We find a bank which accepts our cards. We have access to money. We can eat! The other student suggests a celebratory beer. I think that’s an excellent idea. So we do. Half a pint of (keg) London Pride, with a Frenchman in an Irish themed pub in the middle of Siberia. And it feels great! I haven’t felt so good about getting the equivalent of 25 Euro out of a cash machine since I was a student (and they didn’t have cash machines, I cashed cheques)!
Back to the school where I spend the afternoon doing the translation and answering the questions.
Then we have a presentation on “Cities of Siberia”. The teacher giving the talk has an excellent style. Not slow, but clear as a bell. Even though I can’t understand it all, I can make out the words. After the presentation, I explain that two of my reasons for being interesting in the City of Tomsk. One is the name: it stands on the River Tom. The other means that I have try and explain “The Wombles” to the Russians! It got a few laughs anyway.
At home, after tea, it was conjugating verbs.
Then write up the journal, and so, to bed.