Second Language

It is an uncomfortable way to live, to be able to understand yet to lack the means to be understood, to be able to receive, but not to give, to be able to perceive the inside but still be an outsider, desperately pounding on a door you’ve longed to enter for almost a decade. ItContinue reading “Second Language”

Living Adverbially: The Eureka Moment of Two Nerds

This post is dedicated to my friend Kelly, who gave an age-old truth new life by (beautifully), (intelligently), and (thoughtfully) finding the right words. We sat on a slab of wood along the bank of the Erie Canal, eating frozen custard and swatting at the mosquitos that peppered the August air. Though two years hadContinue reading “Living Adverbially: The Eureka Moment of Two Nerds”

A Humorous Look at Russia Through Memes: Умом Россию Не Понять

Long before Winston Churchill famously said that “[Russia] is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma,” the Russians had their own proverb acknowledging the enigmatic quality by which foreigners are both fascinated and frustrated. Thanks to an 1866 poem by Fyodor Tutchev, when a foreigner is befuddled by the crazy things that goContinue reading “A Humorous Look at Russia Through Memes: Умом Россию Не Понять”

What Language Learning is Really Like

“Just go live in the country for a few months; you’ll come back fluent for sure.” “You just have to immerse yourself in the language. Once you hear it spoken, you’ll pick it up and be speaking in no time.” Comments like these to the aspiring language learner are well-meant, but, as I’ve learned, areContinue reading “What Language Learning is Really Like”

Ready or Not, Here I Come Dostoevsky!

When I tell Russians that I love Fyodor Dostoevsky and that my favorite novel is The Brothers Karamazov, they usually ask me, “Have you read it in Russian?” Until now, my answer has always been, “Нет, я не готова читать Достоевского.” (I’m not ready to read Dostoevsky). I can’t count the number of times that IContinue reading “Ready or Not, Here I Come Dostoevsky!”