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Thread: Only The Beginning

  1. #1
    Подающий надежды оратор kerygma's Avatar
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    Only The Beginning

    Why am I studying Russian?

    Long ago, in the 1990's when I was younger, I studied Russian -- because I wanted to marry a Russian woman!
    ... and I did. And divorced her one year later. We had very different goals in life, and we argued all the time.

    Now I am much older. I no longer seek love in Russia. I want to study Russian so I can read Russian literature in the original language.
    (And yes, I dream of returning to Russia on a visit some day, to tour the country and meet its people.)

    But Russian literature -- I am only now discovering how little I know about it. I know it is much more than just Tolstoy, Gogol, Checkov, Dostoyevsky.
    So I am beginning to realize that I need to learn more about Russian literature.

    But also, because the literature is influenced by the history, I need to study Russian history also. I know it is much more than just the Revolution of 1917.
    So I am beginning to realize that I need to learn more about Russian history as well.

    And so, I discover that learning Russian is really only the beginning. I realize how much I don't know about Russian literature and Russian history, how much there is yet to learn.

  2. #2
    Завсегдатай chaika's Avatar
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    You're right. When I was in college I took courses in Russian history and literature as well as language. I don't know where you're from, but you might go by your college bookstore and look at what they use for textbooks, assuming the courses are taught there, of course.

    I have a book called Russian in Context, which contains a lot of literature references found in modern-day Russia as well as brief descriptions of writers, I think. With CD.

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    Властелин Deborski's Avatar
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    I lived in Russia 20 years ago and had my heart broken a couple times by Russian men
    But today I am excited about learning Russian again because I still have good friends in Russia, and I want them to meet my husband, want him to see Russia since it was such a big part of my life. Chekhov might be a good place to start with literature - he is fairly easy to read.
    Вот потому, что вы говорите то, что не думаете, и думаете то, что не думаете, вот в клетках и сидите. И вообще, весь этот горький катаклизм, который я здесь наблюдаю, и Владимир Николаевич тоже…

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  5. #5
    Подающий надежды оратор kerygma's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deborski View Post
    I lived in Russia 20 years ago and had my heart broken a couple times by Russian men
    But today I am excited about learning Russian again because I still have good friends in Russia, and I want them to meet my husband, want him to see Russia since it was such a big part of my life. Chekhov might be a good place to start with literature - he is fairly easy to read.
    Yes, well we won't discuss the merits or demerits of Russian men. Or Russian women for that matter. My ex-wife returned to Moscow, and she still holds a place in my heart, but we have both moved on. I have a new love now (American), and when I tell her that I would like to visit Russia again some day, she replies that she does not want to go there. I do wish Russians would try a little harder to attract Westerners to their country for tourism. They have a lot to offer, but many older, more affluent Westerners, especially Americans, who have money to spend on trips like this, still view Russia as an unpleasant place. Too bad.

    K

  6. #6
    Властелин Deborski's Avatar
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    Yes, well we won't discuss the merits or demerits of Russian men. Or Russian women for that matter.
    It is nothing specific about Russian men in particular, American men were - if anything - actually much worse, when I returned to the States. I try to take each person as they are. I long ago moved on, and I have an American husband who is very kind and gentle with me. My comment was only meant to show some empathy for your post. A part of me also dreamed of finding love in Russia, when I was young.

    Also - my husband is very supportive of traveling to Russia. He wants to meet my old friends and see where I lived and worked. I think it will be exciting to see how much has changed since before...
    Вот потому, что вы говорите то, что не думаете, и думаете то, что не думаете, вот в клетках и сидите. И вообще, весь этот горький катаклизм, который я здесь наблюдаю, и Владимир Николаевич тоже…

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    Завсегдатай chaika's Avatar
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    I have been to Russia four times -- 1986, 1992, 2003, and 2011. They have been on quite a trip. If you haven't been there in 20 years and haven't been keeping up with online newspapers, you may in for culture shock!

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    How was 1992?

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    Властелин Deborski's Avatar
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    I was there from 1991-1992. Yeah, it is going to be a major culture shock, of that I am sure. But it's OK - I've done the culture shock thing enough times in my life now that it shouldn't be too nerve-wracking
    Вот потому, что вы говорите то, что не думаете, и думаете то, что не думаете, вот в клетках и сидите. И вообще, весь этот горький катаклизм, который я здесь наблюдаю, и Владимир Николаевич тоже…

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    Завсегдатай Ramil's Avatar
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    IMO 1992 was probably the worst time to visit Russia ever (at least during my lifetime) for a tourist. Although, it was the time of a major historical turnpoint -- the collapse of a huge empire. Something to remember. It was bleak though.
    Send me a PM if you need me.

  11. #11
    Hanna
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ramil View Post
    IMO 1992 was probably the worst time to visit Russia ever (at least during my lifetime) for a tourist. Although, it was the time of a major historical turnpoint -- the collapse of a huge empire. Something to remember. It was bleak though.
    My best friend and i wanted to travel there in '93 (to Moscow, to visit a guy we knew who was temporarily living there, doing some wheeling and dealing... ). My dad (and hers) who are usually quite relaxed and don't mind much what we do, got absolutely livid and forbade it. We ended up not going, because we actually got quite scared ourselves - endless shootouts and stories about blackmail, human trafficking and scary stuff. The same year, I think, I was in Israel that was packed with newly-arrived Russians who swore that Russia was hell on earth and starting from scratch in Israel was a better prospect than remaining where they were. I did not get the impression that religion or ethniticity had anything to do with their decision to emigrate, just a desire to get away. Not inspiring!

    I agree that it was considered practically suicidal to travel to either Moscow or St Petersburg at that time! It's only just recently that regular people are really beginning to get their head around the fact that those crazy days are over. Whereas end 1980s, going to Leningrad for a weekend or short trip was considered rather chic and avantgarde. People went there for all sorts of reasons, and the idea was that it was absolutely 100% safe. I have heard it said here that it was required that tourists had a guide, but this was not strictly enforced when i visited, at least.

    Early 90s - such a sad time too - I remember TV showing people standing at the pavements and selling their personal possessions like medals, jewellery and even kitchen utensils! And you all lived right in the middle of the drama and danger!
    What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, I guess. But it must have been nasty, at least for some. Frankly, i simply can't imagine how tough that must have been.

    But as a result of the supposed danger of going to Russia in the early 90s, I have been several times to St Petersburg, but NEVER to Moscow! And last summer, i AGAIN missed my chance to go to Moscow, because I messed up the situation with visa, and didn't get a visa to Russia. blah!

    And as a contrast to the 1990s: My grandfather used to tell a story about how, mid 1980s, he travelled to some Central Asian Soviet republic to visit some factories for carpet production. I think the place was callled Turkistan, or something like that. Later, he stayed a couple of days in Moscow, before returning home. As it turned out, he had forgotten some item of clothing at the hotel in Central Asia, but not noticed. However, the hotel in Central Asia noticed it, tracked him down in Moscow and had his gloves, or whatever it was, SENT to him in Moscow.... All this happened in only a couple of days. Just to give him back his gloves (I think it was gloves, forgot the details). He was simply impressed that they went to so much trouble for a visitor, for a rather insignificant piece of clothing. Although he was not massively keen on the USSR, he like this aspect of it.

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  13. #13
    Подающий надежды оратор kerygma's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deborski View Post
    Yeah, it is going to be a major culture shock, of that I am sure. But it's OK - I've done the culture shock thing enough times in my life now that it shouldn't be too nerve-wracking :"":
    I am not sure what you mean by "culture shock". I experienced culture shock when I went to Moscow in 1999, but I expected that, since I was traveling to another country that was very different from the USA, where I live. Are you saying that returning to Moscow in 2012, 13 years later, would be a different kind of culture shock? I'm a little confused. You seem to be saying that everything is so completely different from the way it was in 1999 that I will be shocked to see how it has changed. Is that true? Have things really changed that much?

    K

  14. #14
    Властелин Deborski's Avatar
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    Well, yeah, 1992 was rough. And I wasn't really a tourist. I lived and worked there for two years. The Soviet Union collapsed right before my eyes and I joined the protesters on the streets. There were food shortages in Leningrad, and one time I almost got arrested for stealing toilet paper out of the bathroom of one of the foreign hotels. But as hard as it was, I had great friends there. And I still feel very close to them, today.

    As for culture shock - I experienced a lot more culture shock when I returned to America because suddenly I was overwhelmed with too many choices, plus when I returned I had an accent!!

    As a tourist, you probably would not need to worry too much about culture shock. But when you live in a foreign country for a long time, it definitely changes you. You adapt, you do what you need to do to belong. In my case, I went so native that when I returned to America, it seemed foreign to me. I guess the amount of culture shock one experiences, depends on how permeable you are to cultures. In my case, I cannot help but imitate people around me. It doesn't matter what their culture is, if I am around them for any length of time, I start to sound like them.
    Вот потому, что вы говорите то, что не думаете, и думаете то, что не думаете, вот в клетках и сидите. И вообще, весь этот горький катаклизм, который я здесь наблюдаю, и Владимир Николаевич тоже…

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    Завсегдатай chaika's Avatar
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    In 1992 I went straight from the airport in Moscow to the one in Saratov, so didn't see Moscow. Saratov was pretty dismal. We were guests of the government, and my roommate and I decided one morning to go out for a walk. The govt guys who were supposed to be watching over us missed this, and they all thought we had been kidnapped by the mafia! (The hotel was a mafia hangout.)

  16. #16
    Властелин Deborski's Avatar
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    Wow, Chaika. I worked for the Soviet Government as part of a cultural exchange program and was invited there as part of Glasnost. I worked in television as a sort of consultant, and helped write and produce TV shows. But I never had any sort of surveillance (that I am aware of!). I could come and go as I wished, and I often roamed alone all over Leningrad (the name changed to Sankt Peterburg while I was living there). I often hung out with my coworkers at the Committee for Television and Radio Broadcasting.

    The mafia was present, but usually I was able to avoid them and no one ever did me any harm. I felt safe even in 1992! My mom would read me articles about Russia from American news magazines like "Time" and "Newsweek" and I would laugh at them, because it just sounded so strange. Honestly, it was not that frightening for me at all. My friends were always good to me, they were just guys my own age, not spies or KGB or anything. We managed to have a lot of fun, despite how rough the times were.
    Вот потому, что вы говорите то, что не думаете, и думаете то, что не думаете, вот в клетках и сидите. И вообще, весь этот горький катаклизм, который я здесь наблюдаю, и Владимир Николаевич тоже…

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    The danger of living in Russia was exaggerated that time too. People in Russia did not feel safe because the crime rate increased significantly since the Soviet times. Also there was a general feeling of instability and they were almost sure that tomorrow would be worse than today.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kerygma View Post
    Why am I studying Russian?

    Long ago, in the 1990's when I was younger, I studied Russian -- because I wanted to marry a Russian woman!
    ... and I did. And divorced her one year later. We had very different goals in life, and we argued all the time.

    Now I am much older. I no longer seek love in Russia. I want to study Russian so I can read Russian literature in the original language.
    (And yes, I dream of returning to Russia on a visit some day, to tour the country and meet its people.)

    But Russian literature -- I am only now discovering how little I know about it. I know it is much more than just Tolstoy, Gogol, Checkov, Dostoyevsky.
    So I am beginning to realize that I need to learn more about Russian literature.

    But also, because the literature is influenced by the history, I need to study Russian history also. I know it is much more than just the Revolution of 1917.
    So I am beginning to realize that I need to learn more about Russian history as well.

    And so, I discover that learning Russian is really only the beginning. I realize how much I don't know about Russian literature and Russian history, how much there is yet to learn.
    Be careful as so many Russians are still brainwashed socialists.

    Also, they try to brainwash the women so they are gold diggers and therefore, don't think for themselves. Soviet Russia to the current has the similar mentality still persisting.

  19. #19
    Властелин Deborski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pavelov View Post
    Be careful as so many Russians are still brainwashed socialists.

    Also, they try to brainwash the women so they are gold diggers and therefore, don't think for themselves. Soviet Russia to the current has the similar mentality still persisting.
    Heh. If Russians are still "brainwashed socialists" then Americans are still brainwashed to believe that America is the Greatest Country in the World, blah blah blah.

    And American women can be just as attracted to "shiny things" as Russian women. Not all women are this stupid, thankfully. Some of us actually have a higher system of values and ethics. I married a man who made less money than me, because I loved him. Money means nothing compared to love. If you don't believe me, watch an episode of "American Housewives" (a show which I despise, by the way) and see just how "happy" these wives of rich men are. They are back-stabbing, psychotic bitches for the most part. I would prefer to be poor, and honest and have a good heart, than to marry some rich man who I have no feelings for. No money would be enough to pay for the hell of a life with no love.
    Lampada likes this.
    Вот потому, что вы говорите то, что не думаете, и думаете то, что не думаете, вот в клетках и сидите. И вообще, весь этот горький катаклизм, который я здесь наблюдаю, и Владимир Николаевич тоже…

  20. #20
    Hanna
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    Gosh Pavelov you are such a troll! You are much more brainwashed yourself than any of the Russians here!

    Whereas they are thinking for themselves and basing their opinions on facts and their own experiences and observations, you on the other hand, are sounding like a broken and very prejudiced record from the cold war!

    And if you really do think that people are brainwashed, then what are you doing here? Better visit a "safer" place online so you don't risk being contaminated by all us sinister people here.....
    Deborski likes this.

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