Russian update

Think previously mentioned that my online Russian course is with US instructor and Ukrainian wife, both friendly and helpful:

And a very nice Ukrainian student who I once met for an attempt at speaking Russian.

I had a tea today with a lovely PhD student also from Ukraine who is researching media, politics and language.

NB I have nearly no idea about the events in Ukraine in 2014, I was heavily involved with NHS campaigning in Yorkshire and the only awareness I had that anything was going on was some campaigning friends who said that they couldn’t help at that time because of Donetsk (a one word explanation that meant considerably more to them than me).

They had been members of various versions of Communist party in UK, mostly in their 70s now – wonderful campaigners holding their local NHS to account and proud Yorkshiremen to boot.

So I’m not going to take sides because I don’t have any knowledge. The little I’ve read so far seems to have some similarities with some of the Northern Ireland ‘Troubles’. We didn’t and don’t want to discuss politics anyway, it’s a nice chance to have academic or social discussion about life etc

I now know that Ukraine had a big shipbuilding industry at one time and hopefully going to learn how to make Ukrainian pancakes soon. Apparently they are slightly different to Russian pancakes (which I haven’t tried yet actually) and Ukrainian Russian is different to Russian Russian and Belarusian Russian but most people can understand each other even if they can’t speak the local / national languages.

In return I hope to help with making links in London and finding interesting events. She has also offered to help me improve Russian but I have also found a local tutor so will do some lessons first and then hopefully we can talk in both English and Russian. She thought that it was a good idea to get a good grasp of the grammar and other intracies in order to approach researchers in Russian universities later this year.

I am still hoping to take my niece and nephew out for Russian tea. The visit to the Tate and an opportunity for them to see Russian sculpture didn’t happen because my niece decided to dance on a chair with wheels at a sleepover and unsurprisingly fell off and unfortunately fractured her shoulder. Will find out if Cossacks visiting or some other highly energetic form of Russian culture – I attempted to show her from a YouTube video – was amazed that she didn’t know what Cossack dancing was. But when she saw it, she said oh, a boy at school does this. He is Jamaican.

Will continue to finish off existing Russian course as well, starting again next week. And hopefully learn to make some nice Russian soups or kasha – have grabbed some recipes from a friend’s Eastern European cookbook.

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