Apparently I made a good decision when I carefully ignored the schedule completely and put my name into the weeks with the fewest names under them. This week we had a Fourth of July party on the 9th of July, we met with a local youth group who tolerated our severely broken Russian, and we took a trip down to Tartu for the Hansa Days festival and to explore the lovely surrounding countryside.
July 9th was a pretty interesting day for us, as we had the meeting with the youth group and then we had our belated Fourth of July celebration later that evening. I made the brilliant decision to leave early for the youth group event and arrived approximately fifteen minutes before anyone else from the group. I won’t lie to you, I was kind of terrified. It’s not that we were meeting with a local gang or something that would reasonably be scary, but it was kind of intimidating suddenly finding myself alone and having not just to communicate, but to socialize entirely in Russian. I didn’t do too badly, but there were some definite failures to communicate. I managed to respond fairly well to questions about where I was from, what we were doing, and so on but there were a few instances where I just completely blanked out on how to say something or needed a phrase I hadn’t ever learned before. That being said though, it was fun and I would definitely enjoy doing it again. It felt great when I got something right and even if I had to ask them to repeat something a few times the listening part was rather helpful.
Then, of course, later that evening we celebrated the most American of holidays in possibly one of the most un-American of places. I like to imagine the border guards across the river were a little surprised to hear the castle across from the loudly playing a wide and varied selection of America’s greatest hits. Sarah Palin might be able to see Russia from her house, but they probably saw our fireworks from theirs.
The main event this week was slightly less related to our study of Russian than the rest of what I’ve written about so far, but it was definitely the most interesting. Tartu is a beautiful city and the selection of random things that were going on in the city during the festival was pretty staggering. There was random live music everywhere, more food than even us Americans could have eaten, and a vast selection of (slightly overpriced) Estonian crafts. And this guy.
This guy is my new hero.