Friday, December 14, 2007

I got compared to Mel Gibson today!

I have a fantasy of getting compared to Nicole Kidman or Kate Winslet. Do I get compared to them? No. Today one of my sons had an early morning doctor appointment and wound up staying longer. (He has uletis-- nothing serious but it needs to be watched.) I adore his eye doctor-- he's a nice man and we always enjoy talking politics and morals and what-have-you.

We went to my friend Gary's bakery. I saw him from outside and opened the door. He said, "Tea, we have three chocolate croissants left!" I yelled, "Freedom!" The boys chimed in and we ran up to the counter taking fast, small steps with our boots making noise on the floor. I yelled, "We will liberate the chocolate croissants from their cruel creator and oppressor! It is wrong to have them behind walls of glass!" My boys yelled, "Yeahhhhhh!" Gary said that Mel Gibson has nothing on me-- I said that while Mel only acts, I engage in the real fight!

It was funny.

Then the son who'd been seen by the doctor said, "There are four of us and three croissants. You aren't going to embarrass yourself by making us arm wrestle again, are you?" Gary laughed.

I said, "These are for me-- I don't know what you want." The other people there laughed. They had ham n' cheese and cinnamon rolls and were quite happy. Then I took them to school.

My Russian prof-- argh. It's not over! I'd happily resigned myself to having to figure out how to pay for less classes this semester without government loans. My Russian teacher is not one to give up. I awoke to her email, "Dearest Tea, I know you want to learn Russian and go to second semester. Be in my office at noon on January ___ OK? Study hard over the break. You WILL pass." I screamed at first in frustration, but then in relief knowing that she cared enough to make sure I pass. I had told her why I want to study Russian and work at a hospital. She says that too many Russians and Ukrainians find themselves in need and that I am needed. While there are people who do it at the hospital-- they aren't like me. I am not jaded by medicine. I want to write grants and get money to fund what the doctors do. I hope the patients and the doctors will like me. I hope that the doctors see me a smile and say, "Tea brightens my day and makes me remember why I do this!" Seriously-- they get jaded and with all they see and have to put up with, the world is a parasite on their psyches. They see people die, they get sued-- and there will be me, "You should see what I wrote about what you do for that grant! Don't let it go to your head, but we got it!"

I have more determination than talent but I will be worth all of my professors time and I will help people in many capacities. I hope I never need serious medical care though. I am one very bad patient.


Emperor Ropi said...

Personally I don't really like chocolate croassant. Good luck with Russian. My grandfather used to speak it very well but he forgot it.

steve said...

I've said it before in an e-mail, but your reason for learning Russian is commendable. And personally, I love just about anything chocolate. My absolute favorite chocolate dish comes from Ropi's country--Rigó Jancsi--the ultimate chocolate lover's pastry.

Steve said...

I'm not that Steve, but after looking at his blog, I strongly approve.

Tea, I have to give you credit. I know lots of students who moan and groan about how poorly they've done on their tests, only to end up with an A or B+. When you moan and groan, you do it for good reason.

Russian is hard. Learning any language is hard. The Peace Corps has the best language training I've ever had - all based on dialogs that we just said over and over and over and over and over - with the help of native speakers - in 50 minute lessons eight hours a day. By the time we arrived in Thailand, we had all these dialogs in our heads and on our tongues.

Most US school teaching seems to split the speaking from the writing. So you learn, logically, in one part of the brain, but the speaking is in a different part of the brain and is a totally different, non-logical skill. But we learn our native language through listening and repeating. The grammar comes after we know how to speak. For the adults learning another language, the grammar can help give clues, but actually speaking and understanding is the real goal for all but scholarly uses of language.

So, for me, listening and memorizing the text through relentless repetition is step one. Once that is in your head, the grammar and vocabulary come easy, cause you have the sentences in your head, like a song. With all our driving into town and back, you've got lots of time to hear it over and over and over. And repeat it over and over and over. But do keep an eye on the other cars and the moose.

Gledwood said...

Have you any plans to travel about in Russia then?

The last episode of Dr Zhivago (6 parter) was on today: excellent stuff....

I once had a friend who due to her old job was propelled in the direction of Georgia... she had to do compulsory Russian lessons, paid for by her job. She was just about the worst person in the class (really not cut out for that kinda thing)... how I loved harping on about how politically incorrect she was being studying the language of the bourgeois oppressor and how she ought really be studying the far more difficult and complexicated Georgian language on top. She just shot me poisonous looks and growled

Have a charming Xmas time if you do it!

And a fantastic new year!!!