So after crying throughout my entire week 3 of classes like a loser, I think I came around in week 4 to end it on a high note. It’s pretty astounding what you feel like you can and do achieve when you’re healthy and well-rested!
Here’s the deal:
You remember how I said after 2 weeks I was randomly tossing words into my vocabulary in class and translating things automatically in my head? Well week 4 took those two ideas to the max.
Not only was I tossing out words in my conversation that I didn’t even know I knew, they ended up being right! I was constantly second-guessing myself after saying a word just to be told by my teacher that I was correct.
One teacher told me that I always say the right thing first but just do too much thinking afterwards. Ha! Funny that!
Did you know Russian has 6 cases? That’s 6 different ways to end a word in Russian depending on its relationship to other words in the sentence! No, forget subject-predicate sentence structure — it’s all about the endings.
During week 4, I felt like I was really starting to get the hang of these cases and even though I pause sometimes when talking, I was able to pick the right ones and say things properly.
Then, there’s the point that I actually felt myself effortlessly speaking words and phrases because I knew they were right — they sounded right. No mental translation; no fumbling over words.
There’s something to be said for being surrounded by Russian sounds on a daily basis… you DO actually start to pick it up. Who knew?!
Again, if only I had had more time.
On the down side, I can say that I am still in need of a heck of a lot of work! While I’ve been able to get the basics down, I lack a proper vocabulary. It’s a horrible feeling in class to want to say a thousand things at once but just not have the words for any of them.
I also need to practice my comprehension. It gets tiring asking teachers and taxi drivers to repeat themselves all the time. I need to be able to hear things right the first time, and have the vocabulary to simply understand it.
I have lots of work to do now that I am returning home after 4 weeks in Bishkek. I’m giving myself a schedule, which you’ll hear more about in the coming week. To be honest, I just forced myself to sit through 80 classroom hours of one-on-one lessons, and for the love of your mother, I am not going to let that work go down the drain again!