Lesson One-A4: Nothing much happens overnight

Yesterday morning, I continued on with the Russian. Rosetta Stone has many ways to drill into your head the vocabulary and concepts you have just learned. “I want to do this right,”  I thought. “I’m going to do every exercise of every lesson and I am going to learn this language so well that when I finally do visit Ukraine and Russia, I will surprise everyone by being magically fluent in Russian.”

So…uhm, yeah…I am a big dreamer. A cocky, ambitious dreamer.

I fell asleep Sunday night before starting Lesson 1-A4 of Unit one. So that is where I was picked up. On Sunday night, Rosetta Stone said the Russian word for ‘cat’ while showing the word ‘cat’, and I was supposed to pick the picture of a cat out of a series of pictures. On Monday morning, I had advanced to Rosetta Stone saying the word ‘cat’, and I was supposed to pick the word ‘cat’ out of a series of words. Wowwww!!! Huge advancement.

I decided the lesson was boring. I knew the words for cat, dog, girl, horse, etc. now (koshka, sabaka, debvushka, leshad), but could I write them? In short, no. I skipped onto the writing section of Lesson One and couldn’t even complete the first word. Somehow matching words and sounds to pictures hasn’t yet made fluent in the phonetics of the Cyrillic alphabet. Funny that.

I am greedy with my languages. I want to know it all and I want to know it now. But there is a process to be followed, and it requires patience and discipline.

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Lesson One: Me, Rosetta Stone, and My Ukrainian Husband

In May 2007, I placed an ad in the W4M section of San Francisco’s CraigsList looking for the usual suspect: a  smart, attractive, fincially secure man who loved dogs. My ad was much more cleverly worded than that, but in essence, it was all I wanted. I wasn’t sure that I was looking for serious relationship  per se — I had had enough of those in recent years — but I knew I was looking for someone on whom I could count and also would let me hold my own. I received a decent number of replies and started dating a successful executive at a major biotech firm. While nothing was ‘wrong’ with how things were going with the exec, it didn’t feel ‘right’ either.

So in early June, while the exec and I were still dating, I went back to my CraigsList replies and my eyes settled on the photo of a tall, blond Ukrainian business student. “He’s cute,” I thought. “Almost too cute. But I will give it a shot.” On June 8, 2007 — the same day I was scheduled to go rockclimbing with the biotech exec — the Ukrainian and I had our first date. We met for lunch. Lunch turned into a movie. After the movie, there was dinner. And dinner was followed by a drink at a bar which wasn’t far from some dance clubs…so we went clubbing. Barely more than 9 months later, we were married in San Francisco’s city hall.

So far, it has felt as if our first date has never ended.

Tonight, I’ve begun my lessons in learning Russian. Since we don’t expect to travel to the FSU until sometime in 2009, I have the leisure of learning at my own pace. I don’t yet need to know how to say, “How do I get to the Metro?” As such, I am opting for the Rosetta Stone method. I completed section A of Lesson 1 tonight. I can say dog, cat, woman, girl etc. We’ll see how it goes.