Week 24: Good to be busy again

Posted: February 20, 2010 in Иркутск, Student Life
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Call me crazy, but I like it: this week every day, I’ve come home tired, slightly stressed by the evening’s to-do list, sometimes sore, and sometimes cold. But unfailingly ecstatic about it. Woohoo!

I even got to reorganize my desk, which means moving the once hugely useless and in-the-way computer monitor to a closet, adding its speakers to my laptop, and using the keyboard tray as a dictionary holder. Hoorah!

The semester’s finally taken off to the start I’d wanted it to. My classes are lined up with about 99% confidence they won’t change, I’ve got a nice selection of extracurricular gigs with a few more options promised to be on their way, my classmates are awesome (the Americans and the Russians), and (shh, don’t tell the feds) I might have found a way to bring in some moolah. Here’s the schedule.

» 10:00 – 2:40: Classes at the MezhFak (International Department, where the Middlebury program is). Grammar, Speech Practice, and my independent study. Last week, I finished designing my independent study “syllabus,” and I’m going to be reading a lot of literature, supplemented by criticism, history/biography, film, &c., all on the theme of Russian citizenship/civic duty in the 20th century. Once a week I’ll have 75 minutes with Olga Vladimirovna, and the rest will be on my own. So excited.
» 4:30 – 6:00: I’m planning on playing tennis with Ryan at some (pretty beat-up) courts during this time slot.
» 7:00 – 9:00: IGU choir rehearsal. I never got around to trying this out last semester, which is too bad, because I’m hooked after my first week. The people are great, choir people/singers are a universal species and fit every stereotype given them, so socially and musically I fit right in. Funnily enough, the other bass that’s been at rehearsal both times I’ve gone, Anton, was a friend of Ryan Gillette’s, who was in Irkutsk the year before he and I sang together in SIM. Small world. Literally.

» 10:00 – 2:30: Classes at the Philological Department (FilFak, from now on. Just remember, “Fak” is like “faculty.”) downtown. I really liked the History of Foreign Literature (that is, non-Russian literature, in Russian translation) lecture I went to last week, and both the professor and the students are great, and the workload manageable (meaning that if I get in a cram of not being able to finish a novel in Russian translation, the English text will usually be an Internet search away). So that  will be my mainstream course. I’m also planning on sticking around with the same group of 4th year students to audit “Contemporary Problems of Modernism and Journalism” and the “Problems of Electronic Mass Media.”
» Rest of the day: Chilling out and studying, for now. Will probably be replaced with my internship or playing the piano, once the coordinator and I get those two items figured out.

» 10:00 – 12:50: Classes at the MezhFak. Speech practice and grammar, again. Followed by our weekly meeting with Elizabeth.
» 1:30 – 3:00: Swimming. They’ve raised their price to $4 for the 40-minute session, so I’m considering a weekly membership to make it 1) cheaper, and 2) an investment I have to stick to.
» 7:00 – 9:00: Choir rehearsal.

Friday (…the 4-day weekend begins!).
» All day: Whatever the heck I want. For now. For an eight-week period this semester, though, I’ll need to add 10 hours of interning at Babr.ru, an online news agency for Eastern Siberia where I’ll be doing some translating and hopefully Web production. So, most of that time will probably be here. Otherwise, I’m hoping Friday will be for day-trips or catching up on work, blogging, or sleep.

» 2:00 – 3:30: Leading an English conversation group. I’m not sure if this will actually come through yet, but I’ve been told it will. Just leading conversation in English with a group of 10th graders (great age group!) on whatever topics I pick. Look at that.

» 11:00 or 6:00: Mass. I finally found a church (the East Siberian diocese cathedral, go figure…) that is much closer to my home and offers more than  one obscenely early Mass across town that requires hoping that just-starting public transport will get you to in time.

Monday (oh yes, that’s right, my weekend still isn’t over…).
» Daytime: I think that I’ll be using Monday’s to go downtown to study and research in the main library. It also looks like there’s an organ concert series on Monday around noon, so that might be a good way to start every one else’s work week, too…
» 6:00 – 7:00: Interpreter Course. The past two weeks, I’ve been going to the GBT (greatbaikaltrail.org) training sessions for translators on the organization’s summer trail-building projects, 50% of the participants of which are international volunteers who don’t speak Russian. I was invited by Anya, who was the teacher of the classes I was observing/helping in at the Waldorf School last semester, although so far, my services as the only present native speaker haven’t been very necessary. I think I’ll give it another time or two to see if I feel any more useful.

I still have yet to add in piano practice time, my internship, a few volunteer hours at the Waldorf School, and maybe a few more hours of exercise. I’m not even close to spreading myself unmanageably thin, so why not?!

…Just proof that you can take the MiddKid out of Middlebury, but you can’t take the Middlebury out of the MiddKid.


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