Thursday, January 28, 2010

Herzen University

I have to admit, it wasn’t the most interesting of lessons. “Conversation” class had turned into an individual lesson on various symbols of Russian culture. The teacher and I were both tired and dragging a little.

Valentina asked me if I liked to sing, and I replied that I did.

“Which folk songs do you know?”

“Ummm…Katiusha?” I couldn’t remember any others.

She left the room and came back with some song sheets. “Go ahead and start. You said you liked to sing.” click to continue reading/-

D’oh! I didn’t really mind, though. We sang a little duet and then she taught me two other songs.

“You can use these with the kids in the orphanage,” she said. “They’ll like it.”

I reflected later on how she was making a deposit in my life. In fact, this is one of the main objectives at Herzen.

The story goes that the pelican was considered to sacrifice its own flesh to feed its young. Out of sacrifice, the young are fed and are able to thrive. This became a symbol not only of Christ, but of the sacrifice that a teacher makes for his/her students.

Herzen University began as a home for orphans, and the pelican became a symbol of the sacrifice made by the tireless charity workers, and later, the teachers who would dedicate their lives to educating the next generation.

 *I haven't found a good English source, but here is a Russian one:


  1. What an interesting story! I have never heard it. Thank you for the source!

    What songs did you learn? : )

  2. Well, I didn't tell it very well, but hopefully I got the message across!

    We sang "Катюша," "Очи черные," and "Каравай."

  3. I'm surprised you didn't learn those previously...I can't quite think how I learned them, but in Russian class somehow. I annoy Ilya quite a lot by singing "Очи черные" at him...but he does have the darkest eyes I've ever seen.


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