I have boasted about my experiences ordering food from a restaurant and speaking a little bit of Russian with my speaking buddy but the story does not end there. What I did not tell you is how I was not able to follow the conversation after saying the first three sentences.
The problem of learning a new language, especially one that has a different alphabet, is not exactly how to read it or write but how to converse with it.
This afternoon while I was cooking, Angelo, my housemate and I were talking about how to effectively learn a new language. He has studied Russian for four months in Moscow and he continued it in Saint Petersburg and on his 6th month now. He is speaking very good Russian and sometimes I even hear him argue with somebody in Russian on the phone. I think that if you can already have a discussion/argument in another language, then you already have a good foundation.
“Well your way is very effective. I have heard that the best way to learn a new language is under the bed sheet,” . Angelo is dating a Russian girl.
“That’s true. If you have to learn the language, you have to sleep with it,” he said.
“Maybe I should get a Russian boyfriend. Too bad I am already married,” we both laughed and left each other to prepare our dinners.
I was jesting but at the back of my mind, I really need a Russian friend whom I can practice my lessons. No matter how you much you understand in a classroom, it would not develop if you don’t speak it on the street.
On the bus
I always take the bus going to the metro station. I cannot, for the life of me, walk for 20 minutes in the -20 degree weather when the bus goes every five minutes or so. One of the task is of course to get a ticket. For several days, I have survived with адин пожалуйста (one please) until one day the driver talked back to me.