Thursday, April 30, 2009

Lock yourself out and explore the world!

I know that it sounds confusing but today I have learnt about the world more than in 10 years of school, college and university all together. What happened is that the door to my apartment locked when I went downstairs to open the front door for my friend Leda. My first reaction was “This is the end of the world: I have unfinished grammar assignments, I have a couple of days to finish 2 projects for another class and my roommate might come home only after 5:30 (in the case of good luck), and I have a class in the evening”. Panic calmed down and my friend called the landlord who could come only in one hour.

However, my motto which I constantly repeat to my friends is “life is beautiful in spite of anything”. Therefore, I had to react according to my motto. My friend and I were invited to my neighbor, Mazeena, (it is lovely to live in an international community!) to wait for the landlord. Conversation about everything in the world finally came to problems in education and politics in our countries: Nicaragua, Maldives, and Russia. This conversation was like a lesson of history, geography, sociology, political science and philosophy combined. We spoke about current situation in our countries, what was better in the past, how it changed, what type of states and government we have, how it works, etc. It is unbelievable to me!
After politics we moved to cultural exchange: Mazeena showed us traditional Maldivian dress, which is beautiful! For the first time in my life I saw Maldivian, Shri-Lankan and Indian money. We tried traditional Maldivian food “roshi” with famous Maldivian spicy tuna fish. Besides, we spoke about a Russian way to organize parties and discussed our ideas how to do so that we meet more often in our small community of Fulbrighters and our American friends. Is it possible to learn all that in class?! Never! Speaking with my friends I came to understanding that those were precious moments of life! I always spend time preparing for classes, travelling or suffering of being homesick. Being busy with those things (especially, homesickness and studying) I miss something important in my life. But now I know I have many friends with whom I can explore the world without even leaving the house. Isn’t it marvelous?!

Appreciate moments spent with your friends!

Enjoy your life!

Explore the world!

Good luck!


Thursday, April 16, 2009

St Michael's Traditions

The Department of Applied Linguistics in Saint Michael's has a beautiful tradition: International Coffe Hours. Every Wednesday from 3:15 to 4:15 students are welcomed to try food from different countries in the lobby of St Edmund's Hall. There, they are also served tea and coffee.

I love this tradition! This is a wonderful opprotunity to learn more about the culture of the country to which the coffe hour is devoted. We have had Chinese, Japanese, Latin American, Greek and many other international coffee hours. Sure, we also have American ( the USA) coffee hours! A day before the coffee hour all students are sent messages with short information about the "topic" country and description of food they are going to try. Along with learning about new (or simply another) culture, it is a great time to socialize, to meet new people, and just to be in an international community! And, sure, food! The food is always delicious! I love American apple pies. And I am addicted to Arabic deserts...

This week it was an American coffee hour devoted to the Patriot Day which will be April 20. I enjoyed my favourite apple pie! Shamefully, I did not know anything about this holiday, but "Long live, long learn". And, you know, Russian curiousity lead me to the question about what Patriotism mean to people of the USA and of other countries? I know, I always ask difficult questions, but I am for a cultural exchange here... :-) Interestingly, the question was quite confusing. I could not even expect that! In Russia I was brought up with understanding of Motherland and Patriotism. Probablly, coming from a small distant limited world of a distant place in Russia, I expected that all people have similar attitudes and beliefs. And it makes my experience here even more exciting because I learn really really a lot about the other side of the world.
All the best!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Children are flowers of our life!

Yes, this is what we say in Russia, "Children are flowers of our life". They show that life never stops and they bring happiness into our life, don't they? :-)

I am so sentimental now because I have just returned home from a babyshower for my classmate. Life in college really never stops! We are here not only to study, but also to celebrate new life. I am so happy for Kim and Markus! I am sure they will be wonderful parents.

By the way, this tradition of having babyshowers before the child's birth is very interesting to me. In Russia we celebrate it when the baby turns 1 month. Probably, it is a superstition, because parents usually do not like to show their child in the first month of his or her life. We consider that it is bad for the baby's enrgy. So many countries, so many customs...

And in this nice mood I am going to return to the reality of my life which consists, basically, of the project which I should finish as soon as possible. Life is beautiful! :-)

Enjoy your life!