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Friday, December 3, 2010


A sigh of relief, including some triumph as well! The first test of this schoolyear is behind me and it went okay. It is not going to be the test of my life but it will be sufficient to continue. I have the excuse of not having had much time to study the last few days (new job, ill kids). Do I need an excuse? Anyway, this is not the place to analyse my procrastrination behaviour. And certainly not the time. Right now, I want to just enjoy the fact that I can now lay back for a while. Hahahaaa. And enjoy other stuff...
For instance: a course on Russian history. In four Saturday mornings, we are guided through Russian history. (For the Belgians: organised by Davidsfonds, taught by Wim Coudenys, very well done!!).
And also: the book 'Montagne Russe' by Pieter Waterdrinker (also for the Dutch-speaking among us, short stories).
And even: hanging in the sofa and be braindead. It can be sooooo gooood.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Ballets Russes

Last week I bought a dvd about the 'Ballets Russes' for no price. It turned out to be a captivating, interesting documentary. These are the moments that my heartrate goes a bit quicker, that I know that this is what really makes me tick. Beautiful and interesting things. I want to go to the theatre more, I want to watch more dvd's, I want to read more, I want to see, know and enjoy.

Those 'Ballets Russes' people had a different lifestyle. They had a passion. They did everything for it. Ballet was their life. Sometimes - during the world wars for instance - they were hardly paid for it. And now, more than half a century later, they still teach, write, perform about ballet and dance. They all seemed happy and satisfied, those 80- or 90-year old people, looking back at their early years. I hope I can say the same in 50 years.

DVD: Ballets russes - by Daniel Geller and Dayna Goldfine, 2008

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Could these be motivators?

A few weeks later...

Things are getting worse. Last week I was absent for the first time. It makes it only worse to get back on track. After autumn holiday we will probably have a test; it is going to be a disaster. But what is worse: it seems I've lost the pleasure - only the pains are left. Ooohhh... But no, seriously: I remember reading books and watching dvd's on Russia last year and enjoying it! I remember having the intention of making this blog a lively one, with links to books and other stuff I would have discovered in the meantime. Nothing of all that. There are other things going on in my life that ask too much time. And to make studying Russian a pleasure, one should make it a priority in one's life. Maybe I should skip a year and then go back. Give myself a break. The only reason for not doing this, is that my classmates are a bunch of funny, nice people! (time for a group hug now :-))

Monday, October 4, 2010

Interim evaluation

So after one month of Russian evening classes, I can conclude that:
- studying every Tuesday is not going to work,
- the facts are that I studied once (the first lesson) and made my homework twice (out of three times),
- my Russian knowledge is not going to improve enormously that way.
But the good news is...
I spent last Sunday afternoon studying Russian in a very concentrated, devoted, structured way and caught up with the grammar we've seen so far. One more session like this and I will have caught up with the texts and listening exercises as well.
Hurray and goodnight!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

О Боже

Had a training at work today, went to the supermarket, put the kids to bed, went through my work e-mails and answered some. Almost 21.00h now. Don't feel like studying Russian. Had made the decision to study every Tuesday though.

Should have studied more during the previous years and during the summer period. Should listen more to the cd's as have problems understanding and talking Russian. Feel in the wrong place during lessons as don't understand basic conversation. Should work on this 'gap'.

Will go to bed now. Probably more focussed and positive tomorrow (or the day after tomorrow).

NB: Received our new textbook :-) No glossy papers = good; easy to write notes on. Nice image of it added to this posting.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Some reasons not to quit Russian evening class

Second lesson already tomorrow. Last week was good to see everybody back. Well, not everybody. Quite some (ex-)classmates had decided to take a break for a year or not to continue with Russian evening course at all. Understandable, after three years it is tempting to do something else, something new. On the other hand, for me, giving up after three years would make those three previous years some waste of time. I don't have the level yet to continue with Russian on my own, to use it in certain circumstances already. And if you don't use it, you forget it. That would be a pity!
I have another particular reason. We haven't learned the plural case endings yet. I love grammar and I just cannot stop Russian course without having learned the plural case endings. It would feel 'incomplete'.
And on top of all that - for those who were ready to refer to self-study etc. - it is FUN to go to Russian class.

NB: I would have done better last Thursday if I had rehearsed more than 5 lessons (remember?) so I decided to make a good start and I did my homework for tomorrow. Good girl!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The moment of truth

5 lessons it was and 5 lessons it still is. Out of 24! And tonight is our first REAL lesson!!
Saying that I didn't make it, is more than an understatement. It makes me feel a bit uncomfortable about going to class tonight. Will we rehearse in class? Experience tells me not; we're supposed to come back knowing what we knew end of June. And I don't.
What excuses do I have? I had other 'more urgent' things to do. Back to school season: registering the daughters for dance and gym classes, schoolbags and clothes to buy,... Fair enough. But then I also started trying to bring order in my house, which was definitely less urgent than going through my Russian books (chaos is in my house for a few years now).
Procrastination, they tend to call it. I have nothing to add.

NB: Despite my guilt feelings... I am still looking forward to the new textbook...

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Last night I went through lesson 5. I was in my first year of Russian evening class when we learned this chapter and as I already told you I was pregnant at the time. At Easter I gave birth to a lovely daughter. During the holidays... that was convenient, as I wasn't going to miss Russian classes then. But then my eldest daughter got one of these childhood diseases and my husband urgently needed to be operated on his arm. On top of a few weeks old baby who needed to be breastfed every few hours. Who makes it to Russian evening class then? I didn't. After a few weeks, I sent a panicky mail to my teacher stating that I thought I would never be able to catch up anymore. I have an experienced teacher :-) and she calmly proposed me just to come to one of the following lessons to find out whether that was the case. This did the trick...
Yet, lesson 5 never really made it to my memory. Going to a shop, ordering things and paying for it in rubles and kopeks... it will never be my strongest skill. A plea for going to the classes as much as possible.
And in the meantime, the countdown goes on. 5 lessons out of 24 and less than two weeks to go. Doesn't look good, does it?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Русский экспресс

I did it! Yesterday evening at about 6.30 pm, I took my Russian studybook and rehearsed 3 ypoka. Taking into account that the book contains 24 lessons, it is not exactly something to be really proud of. I like some basic statistics and they tell me that I did 1/8 of the lessons. Which doesn't necessarily mean 1/8 of the study material and certainly not 1/8 of the time necessary to go through the whole book, as the first chapters start with cute, little sentences as Kто это? Что это? I feel some nostalgia when thinking of these first lessons. They look so easy now. Yet, at the time we were struggling with the cyrillic alphabet. It struck me yesterday evening that despite the holiday period, the cyrillic alphabet was still fresh in my mind. Don't ask me to have a short conversation in Russian, but I do master the cyrillic alphabet. Which is something, isn't it?

Anyway, for those interested, the studybook we used was Русский экспресс 1. I consider it a very good book. As of September, we will start with Русский экспресс 2. I'm a bit thrilled when I think about the new book. I am one of those fossils who adore to leaf through books in real, often a bit stuffy bookshops and I am indeed looking forward to holding a new, virgin (without my scribbled notes) studybook in my hands.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Less than four weeks to go...

Less than four weeks to go and I will start my fourth year studying Russian in evening school. What once started a bit impulsively (I was on maternity leave and was looking for some food for the brains so I registered in a Russian course), is getting more and more serious. After three years, it is no longer just about learning a language but also about learning more about the culture.

Anyway, last year I started rehearsing what we had learned the years before about NOW! Will I find the self-discipline this year again?