Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Decode and Learn/Germans and Dostoevsky's Hood

Sprechen sie deutsch? Ja! I still do! But not much. Anyway, this is one street down from my apartment in the direction AWAY from the Canal. When Petersburg flooded the waters were this high.

My Russian Professor from Brown (in purple) she's incredible. And our tour guide the old guy in the vest. And the Students with Professor Левенцкий in the back.

Russian Grammar Table. And it's actually more difficult/complicated than it looks.

Essentially. I am trapped in a Russian Language Matrix. Currently decoding and liberating myself from the prison of grammar rules and syntax that has torn asunder my illusions of a simple one to one correlation of how Russian language functions.

Last night I pulled my first all nighter here. I came home napped and then from around 10 or 11 pm until 5 am I employed the help of a Redbull (only my 2nd or 3rd time drinking it in my life) my Russian tutor Ana back home via skype, and my Pocket Russian Dictionary. I got the work done and slept for a couple of hours. Got up told my host mom that I didn't need breakfast went to Sadovaya and had shvormak and then hopped the metro. Took a shower the gym and actually...

Strangest thing just happened I was writing this and then I got "invited out" by some people and I'm just now getting back to it. I'll have to stop here and continue later.

Sorry for falling off on that post earlier. So I went to school right after the gym and I showed up early. I was actually the first one in class. My teacher (the young one) was surprised to see me in class so early and I told her that I wanted to do better in class. I was amazing in class! Best Russian I've spoken yet! I paid attention and could understand 85% of what she was saying and I was really doing well in the class. We were learning about computers and different computer parts and functions.

Anyway, after class we had the Dostoevsky excursion. Which is basically: the neighborhood where Dostoevesky lived and wrote many of his great works including Crime and Punishment. We walked to all the places and on the exact path that Raskolnikov walked at the beginning of the book. So I actually saw where he killed the pawnshop lady and her sister his escape route where he kissed the ground all of those places. The guy who took us on this tour was this old Russian guy who seemed to be very wise. Almost like a sage. Anyway, for all those Crime and Punishment fans out there I just lived your dream. I walked everywhere Raskolnikov walked. I feel like one of Dostoevsky's characters living here though. Knowing that he lived and wrote in the apartment literally right across the street from me. I feel like the novel would be entitled "The Negro of Sadovaya"

A long time ago a lot of Germans lived in this neighborhood too. So there's like some German inscriptions in various places. Plus a few German business are still here. There a STIHL chainsaw and tool store not too far from here. The guys I met later I think one of them were German... That invited me to go out and I knew I shouldn't refuse. You know those Germans. If you don't join their party they'll come get you.

So the tour was great came home and took a nice long nap and had every intention of doing homework when I got up. But what happened was I went to go take the trash out. Met the Russian and I think half German guy and they wanted to hang out with me. So I ran back up and put on some jeans (cause I was wearing my Texas Longhorn shorts) and I grabbed my grammar homework! I was thinking. I'll hang out with these guys and get them to help me with my homework. And we did! We hung out! They helped! Then some girls came. Then people wanted to go into the bar (the one literally on the first floor of this building). One thing led to another... And yeah... So I got back in at an ungodly hour and I realized that I just had a very good cultural practice. I spoke a lot of Russian. Made friends. Took pictures. Cause at the bar I unveiled a few dance moves that I usually keep on reserve for my own personal usage when I'm alone in my room. But the Russians thought I was the King of the Dance floor. And then they played Michael Jackson... I was the only one that knew English... The only Black person... And only American... Do you see where that is going?

Anyway, I'm in tonight though! Mama and anyone else reading this feel free to call me. I'll be here studying away. Not going anywhere.

Strangest thing last night too. The half German kept asking where I was from in Africa and how my family was doing. He was pretty drunk... I explained to him many times that I was a student and I didn't have a wife or kids and that the last time that my family was in Africa was roughly 400 years ago.

Stay Tuned.

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