Last week, on January 11, the Wellesley Muscovites had our first day of classes. By now, the shock of 4 hours of class in Russian (and usually fast Russian) has passed, but the language barrier still exists. As we become more and more comfortable with our skills and environment, it seems that the words we can’t quite recall in times of need hamper us more than ever.
We’re starting to feel a little bit at home here – riding the metro without a map, striking up conversations with the cashier at the grocery store, greeting the dorm security guard we know so well. So it hits us hard when in the middle of a sentence the words stop coming and the conversation speeds to a halt. We forget that we’re students. We struggle, we stumble, we accidentally order strange food items or mispronounce a word so severely that the cashier feels the need to correct you (and then repeat the word until you get it right). But if anything, these small disappointments are a mark of our progress: we’re getting there. We are finally good enough to sometimes forget ourselves, comfortable enough to take a chance on something we don’t really understand. As the 303 students learned in class, we’ve become путишественники, adventurous travelers, willing to seek out unexplored territory for the sake of understanding.
One week ago we saw the Moscow Kremlin: huge buildings, giant bells, and an armory with every type of jewel, crown, gown, and carriage you. We gawked at the Royal and historic, but one week later, we’ve got a taste for daily life.