Hi Everyone! Here's a BIG update for you. Support letters are almost ready to be sent out! All I need to do is finish stuffing and stamping the envelopes I addressed :D Here is the letter for you to see! If you want to know if you're on my mailing list, send me an email and I'll let you know...or I can add you!
Click on the picture to read the full document!
There were some things that didn't transfer over to googledocs exactly as they are in the document, but it's okay! You can still see how the letter looks and what it says.
Let's be in contact! I would love to send you a letter!
I picked both of these books up the other day when I had some free time to look in Borders! I have started reading Culure Shock! and it has already surprised me in a few different ways.
1. It is written by a woman who is from Russia and her use of English has made me laugh a little bit. She used the word picturesque when talking about street vagrants. (I think she wanted to point out that her description of the city was just like the mental picture you get in your head when you read about it.)
She also used the analogy that sitting down to a meal in Russia serves the same purpose as the 'Red Indian' (yes, this book was written in 2007...) peace pipe. That eating in Russia symbolizes peace and friendship. I thought that analogy was funny because it isn't actually one that westerners...especially Americans really relate to, but how is she supposed to know! I think it's interesting.
2. Most importantly though, I'm learning things about Russian culture that I didn't know before and didn't learn when I was there several years ago. I had no idea that most Russians associate smiling at someone you don't know as either creepy or signifying that your are 'stupid'. (That may be a challenge for me as people tell me I smile even when I'm not trying to...) Aside from the whole peace-pipe thing, I am also really excited to bond with people in Russia over the dinner table. Eating with people is basically my favorite thing in the world, so I'm sure that I will enjoy the food and the company.
The second book is a guidebook that includes all kinds of different places and ways to get around in the city. It has public transportation maps and information about where to rent bikes (YES!), go shopping, eat food, and experience performances and other events. Another fun feature is that it has transcribed pronunciations of important key phrases in Russian, so I'll be able to study some basic language before I go to training and hopefully learn some more. It also has a transrciption of the cyrillic alphabet, so I'll know how to sound things out in Russian and try to figure out what they mean. there are all kinds of little features that I'll have fun reading about in this book, and it will come with me in my suitcase when I go.
I want to make sure I'm dilligent in my study of where I'm going to make the most out of my time there. I want to learn about the culture so that I can ask people questions when I get there for an even greater understanding. I'm sure there will be more reading to come! I'll keep updating! Support letters should be printed and mail-ready by the end of the week! In Joy, Alaina
Something that one of my friends asked me the other day is if I had been reading up on Russia to prepare for my trip. I realized that I hadn't AND that that would be an important way of preparing my heart and mind before I go. So........I want to make a reading list of 'goal' books to read before July 19th when I leave! So...here goes. The top picks are (not in any particular order):
1. From Nyet to Da: Understanding the Russians by Yale Richmond (Reccommended by Teach Overseas)
2. More than a Native Speaker: An Introduction to Volunteers Teaching Abroad by Don Snow (Reccommended by Teach Overseas)
3. Orthodoxy and Difference: Essays on the Geography of Russian Orthodox Churches in the 20th Century by D. Sidorov
4. Russian Society and the Orthodox Church: Religion in Russia after Communism by Zoe Katrina Knox
5. Of course multiple travel and history books :D
I'll be looking for some more too! I'm so pumped! It will be good to read and get into the mindset of what I may experience.