Russian, ice cream, and Rosetta Stone.
So here I am starting again learning Russian. I always had a soft spot for this language. I learnt my first words when travelling with my parents around Soviet Union, somewhere between 1985-1988. My first sentence/phrase that I practiced with an extreme dedication was Мороженое пожалуйста (Ice cream, please). My parents gave me some pocket money and the deal was that I had to ask for what I desired the most, in the local language. Therefore Russian. Therefore ice cream.
Then apparently was this summer in Vilnius where me and my family spent a week with a Lithuanian befriended family. My parents were their pen-friends, there was no such a thing as Facebook neither email for my parents in these days. The local family had kids in similar age to mine and I remember spending entire days playing outside with them, climbing trees and do what 6 or 7 years old do. There was a group of us, some Russian kids, some Lithuanian kids and me and my brother. According to my mother, after a week I came back home speaking a mix of Polish and Russian and Lithuanian. We packed and went home but my ear in this short time got accustomed to the music of Russian and Lithuanian and since that holiday I seem to have almost no trouble to grasp what’s been said.
At the age of 8 or 9 I started proper Russian lessons at my primary school. The teacher was severe, demanding and old fashioned but she had amazing results. I enjoy my classes and learning the alphabet. Even with the political system change – it was just after abolishing communism – I continued studying Russian as the scholar system didn’t have enough trained teachers to offer now much more desired English, German, or French. On top of it we lived in the country side which resulted in no formal access to any western languages until mid ’90s and in me studying Russian till the age of 15.
Then there was a 1 year long episode of Russian lessons at university; some private conversation lessons, during which I multiplied my excuses for not completing my homework and tried to convince my teacher that all I needed was only speaking; and finally some additional attempts to study on my own. Over all not very successful.
And now, some 30 years later since my first words in Russian I am back to it. Thanks to The Akkademy where I work I received an access to Rosetta Stone (online language learning platform) with unlimited Live Tutoring Sessions for 12 months. I completed my first online lesson including vocabulary, pronunciation and grammar activities. It’s super intuitive and easy to use. I can study whenever I want and for how long I want which suits my current lifestyle. I even can set my targets and be reminded on weekly basis if I hit my goals or not.
Yesterday I completed my 1st Live Tutoring Session with a live teacher over the RS platform. It was superb and scary at the same time, it’s like the first date if you know what I mean. I didn’t speak Russian over more than 10 year and I struggled to find my words. Funny enough I would switch to French if I couldn’t express myself. With every word I understood my excitement rose. With every word produced, my motivation increased. The teacher was very kind and accommodating. I schedule a second class for next weekend. Can’t wait.
I don’t have specific work objectives for Russian. I do it for myself and it feels good. It might come handy one day. You never know. It might open new opportunities and definitely will be linked to my updated travel bucket list. But that’s in the next post.