Monday, October 5, 2009

Just call me Sasha

This morning I finished my homework for Grammar and Lexicon, but when I got to class, I found that the schedule had changed and in the afternoon we had Conversation Practice, the class for which I had not done my homework. Sigh.

I was supposed to tell something "interesting" about my homeland, and over lunch I quickly composed a speech about the Mayflower and Plymouth Rock.

When I reached the classroom, I found it empty. Checking back a few minutes later, I found a note from my groupmates that they had gone to a "party." I noticed that other classes had been invited too, so I joined them, passing my bewildered teacher on the way down the stairs. +/-


This "party" was the celebration of 60 years of communist rule in China. The Chinese students had put together a little presentation.

In the department where I study, probably 75% of the students are from China. They mostly have separate classes, but we see each other in the corridor. In one of my classes, there was a student, possibly from Korea. When he pronounced his name, the teacher could not understand him. She shook her head and said "your language is difficult for the Russian ear to understand!" Then he replied, "You can call me Sasha" (which was nothing like his actual name, but would suffice).

Meanwhile, everyone had gathered to congratulate the Chinese students, who took turns giving speeches about their country in Russian. Some were more understandable than others, mostly due to intonation. We watched a slide presentation which featured a small child singing a sweet song while images of China's weapons of war flashed across the screen. It was humorous, yet tragic at the same time. I couldn't help but think that these weapons were in theory stockpiled in competition with other nations represented. And here we were congratulating them...

A few of the Russian teachers got up to give speeches in honor of China. This was one of those "official" moments in which Russians are usually very polished. Americans, if asked, would not know what to say. After the usual "health and happiness," one of the Russians wished the Chinese success in having more Russian speakers in their country. I wondered what kind of wish that was. As if I wished the Germans good luck spreading English in their country.

After the presentations were over, someone uttered something in Chinese, and suddenly everyone rose to their feet to sing what I can only assume was the national anthem. Then it was over, and we didn't have time for class. Saved!

3 comments:

  1. V..................October 5, 2009 at 6:35 PM

    That is actually funny! I am still laughing.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow....hard to know what to say!!!

    ReplyDelete

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