Goodbye America

Posted: September 2, 2009 in Иркутск

After a traditional American all-you-can-eat/stuff-yourself buffet dinner with the family, and then a pizza for lunch from the heartland–from Pizzeria Uno in it’s hometown, Chicago–at the airport, I find myself enjoying the last moments of watching international travelers struggle with currency and verbal communication around the British Airways gate here at O’Hare. No doubt my internalized laughter at foreigners’ fascination with cartons Marlboros and bottles of Jack Daniels at the duty free stands will be redirected at me, the soon-to-be stupid American, floundering in a sea of Cyrillic and snow.

I’m exaggerating. I can deal with the alphabet and the climate. Thank you, summer language school and winters in Vermont. That doesn’t obviate the fact, however, that there’s a more than 50% chance that my first encounter in the Domodedova airport will involve something along the lines of me asking if I can buy a taxi to walk me to the hotel. (It’s a grammar joke. . . .) I’ll send the update on that one.

As for a much overdue update since the last post. . . The rest of summer school continued in much the same vein as my one and only entry from the 9 weeks. For those whose Google Translators failed them, the summer Russian program at Middlebury involves about 150 students of Russian, from those with no experience through those at the graduate level, coming to live in Gifford Hall (or overflow housing) for the summer and submitting themselves to the mercy of a mostly native Russian faculty of pedagogical experts, musicians, theatre directors, sports enthusiasts– and their kids. For about 2-3 weeks, I (with my classmates of the 6th level) did homework from the end of classes until 12 or 1 a.m., then started theatre and volleyball for the next few weeks, and then noticed a certain level of fluidity (still far from fluency) through the last part of the program while doing our testing, final projects, and our one and only showing of the play.

[Links to projects coming soon.]

So it’s so long for now to the smiling, Midwestern female faces of the British Airways reps here in Chicago rockin’ the ascots (while trying out their best Euro-accents as they grapple with last names of passengers from abroad), and an enthusiastic priv’et to the jungle of Moskva.


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