Saturday, 6 June 2015

Back in Anapa Russia and going to school.

       So life finds me back in Anapa and back in kindergarten. It also finds me alone. I see it as a vote of confidence that I can make my way in this city without Inga’s help. Well, I have always been a little overconfident. In reality, it is all-good and I get to practice my language skills and when that fails charades and re-enactment sound effects. Inga and I were planning on visiting our parents on our return to Russia. But like all plans things changed. Russia now requires any residency applicant to write, read, and speak Russian. So I had to start school right away as I only really have three months to master this exotic tongue.  This meant I had to stay at home and as much I hated this, I miss my Russian parents as much as Inga, it was unavoidable. Russian is hard as it has an entirely different alphabet and while Russians have had to learn English in school for years, they fail as much as I do in mastery. However, I have great and motivated teachers that are enjoying teaching me as much as learning from me. My history teacher is a Radio personality here in Anapa and used to be on TV. Her degree is in Psychology and my English teacher is even more qualified, or over qualified with Ph.D., as is the case but it makes for a rich and rewarding learning environment. They all are very intelligent and accepting of me as I struggle to learn with encouragement.  This new law came into effect in January and while I totally agree with the requirement, I wish it came with a few months to learn. I hate it when Canadians can’t speak the language, especially when employed in the service industry. I recently had an issue understanding a Canada Customs Officer. She wasn’t speaking French either!! Inga had said I was hard on her when we got loaded on the plane and now…Well, Karma is a bitch! So taking a little time to enjoy the beach while I listen to the phrases over and over learning how they sound and feeling a bit odd about the children’s workbook on my lap. Finger following along as Google reads it.
Yeah, I am heavy rolling prime beef on the beach! But I am learning it and remembering it and at fifty that is an accomplishment in itself. I was going to do a bit of a change in style on this installment and write this in the travel writer style but I am no longer holding out hope for an easy out to this Visa issue by getting a job doing travel writing. So life is a little in the wind and both Inga and I are practicing our Thainess by just accepting the things we can’t change and roll with the punches.

My Russian is actually improving, as the signs that accompany me on my walk to school are slowly starting to catch my attention and I understand them. I have been putting in the effort two or three hours of school and then four or so doing exercises on the computer in the evening. It has been cutting into my writing time to be sure and this blog is evidence of such. When I started it, Inga had just left and tomorrow she comes home. So almost two weeks have passed.

I managed to order a Gyro and understand the spoken amount the other day returning from school. The little Armenian guy who has opened a new shop on the corner was a bit perplexed until I told him I was Canadian. He was patient and together we got it done and paid for. He asked why I moved from a great country to Russia, we have a rep Canucks, and I told him I loved Russia and the sun. He smiled and nodded his agreement and understanding although I think I switched up the genders of the two. Russian has three gender assignments for adverbs and the noun changes the word before and after. It also changes the sounds of both these words as well. They also assign gender to numbers and hierarchy or proper, polite speech. Yeah, it is confusing as hell but I am slowly getting it with the help of my teachers. Inga is back tomorrow so we will get to practice live instead of drool computer speak. Google isn’t as good a translator, for Russian, as Facebook is. I know my Russian fans and friends are enjoying the struggle and proud of my effort.

The other day I was walking down the street and an old women stopped and asked me directions to the post office. She had no doubt noticed my tan and assumed I was a local. I managed to explain I was from Canada and a tourist. Her eyes went wide like she was witnessing a rare animal species. I stumbled through saying I understand Post Office and then gestured and said let’s go in Russian. We walked in silence, slowly as she weighed the cost of getting lost with this strange creature against her energy level. I walked her to the post office and then asked her if this was correct. She smiled and nodded her head and I noticed she had tears in her eyes. She saw the concerned look on my face and took my hand and in very slow Russian said; “Thank You May 9.” May 9th is a holiday in Russia commemorating the Allied victory over Germany. I was confused at first and then got it. The only connection to Canada she had was our help during the Great War as it is called here and while she didn’t look old enough to have personal experience from that time, she must have been. The look in her eyes was the same look my Father used to have on Remembrance Day. I nodded my understanding and said in Russian “your welcome.” I watched her old eyes dart back and her brow creased as she searched for a memory. Finding it with a smile she said in English “welcome to Russia” let go of my hands and shuffled off towards the doors of the post office.

I walked back down the street named after Lenin towards my school and remembered the 22.6 million Russian lives lost in that conflict. My mind making the connection that at home our vets struggle to forget that horror while paying tribute to those that were lost and reminding the community to remember. In Russia the community never forgets and are grateful each day for the sacrifices of the defenders of their Mother. Rodina!

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