26 October 2007

Выступление и наказание, часть 2–я

So I get to the conference and the woman in charge greets Seth and introduces herself to me.
"You'll be presenting in English, right?" she asks.
"Yes," I say.
"Ok," she replies, and turns to Seth. "And you - you'll be presenting in Russian, I hope?"

Now, she clearly has no reason to assume that I don't speak Russian, especially since she knows Seth does and we both have the same position. (Potential reason(?): I look like I'm twelve. This is an ongoing theme in my life. I forgot to mention that when Amara and I went to the Chekhov museum, they tried to sell me a high school student ticket.) But since this is what I wanted, I don't complain. In fact, I do a little inner cartwheel that things turned out so well on the English-presenting front and take my seat.

BUT, I should know better than to ever think anything is going well until it's over and all danger of anything going wrong is completely past. (This is kind of a Russian attitude - I mean, we're talking a culture where you aren't supposed to celebrate anyone's birthday even one day in advance, in case they die before their real birthday.) I get up to the podium and this woman introduces me... and then says that she'll be translating for me.

GRR! If she had said that when I walked in, I would have told her I'd do it in Russian and brought my Russian notes up to the podium. But she didn't, so I didn't. I got through it fine, and in fact it was way better than my last translating experience, but I've learned my lesson: from this day forward, I will always ask what the working language of the conference is before I write my whole presentation in English.


Today it's a dark, rainy, gray day, the kind we've been having for about two weeks straight now. It's perfect for setting that nice gloomy autumnal mood, but I'm getting a little tired of it. Maybe that's partly because the radiator in my apartment doesn't really seem to work unless I drain all the smelly brown radiator-water (and accumulated air - does it accumulate air because they turn our water off every night at midnight?) out of it every day. AWESOME.

Also, yesterday's class: one student. Today's class: one student. English club: three students (two of whom were the students from yesterday's and today's classes). Tomorrow's class: being Saturday, one student *if* I'm lucky. I don't mind one-on-one work, but sometimes, especially on gloomy days like today, I wonder just who I'm here for.

Anyway, it's balalaika lesson time, which is bound to cheer me up even though I have to walk through the rain to get there! (I know, I shouldn't say that until all chance that my balalaika lesson will somehow kill me has passed.)


Edited, 8pm, for content and to add that the balalaika lesson did cheer me up. In fact, it was a great lesson. Take that, gloomy day!

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