LRU100: The Halfway Point

This is week 14 of my Russian class, LRU100. This week marks the halfway point of the 28 week language program that many in my new Foreign Service Officer cohort (the “too big to fail 178th”) embarked upon in September. Fourteen weeks in, we are in the thick of it – regardless of whether we are studying Russian, or Mandarin, or Spanish, or Azeri, or Bangla, or Arabic, or whatever else.

At this point, I have the unsettling feeling that I should be precisely halfway to the level of language proficiency required for me to travel to post. However, it’s probably more true that by now I should have established the solid foundation upon which to continue building and expanding, while simultaneously consolidating and fine-tuning what I’ve already acquired.

Indeed, I appreciate the way the Russian Department at FSI has laid out, in chart format, chronologically by week, exactly what Russian students will learn each week, and exactly what topics Russian students will be responsible to demonstrate during each scheduled assessment.

There is a comfort in understanding the meter stick of what a 2 speaking / 2 reading looks like, or, at the very least, an assurance that the assessments are based on something more objective, concrete and above all orderly than “She sucks today,” or “Today she understood everything!” The ambiguity threshold is high enough as it is.

My brave class of three has tackled five of the six Russian cases, and we are reading (or usually just attempting to read chunks of) brief news articles at a level that I bet under-educated Russians would struggle with.

Learning Russian grammar in some ways reminds me of my experiences learning advanced algebra; knowledge and methodology are cumulative, and processes build one upon the prior. Skip anything along the way and suddenly you can’t complete the complex multi-step formula.

For example, don’t blow off a firm grasp on when to use hard-stemmed vs. soft-stemmed Russian adjectival endings in a case language that has almost a dozen vowels. Just don’t. Especially if you’re not so keen on grammar in your mother tongue as it is. It’s not going to get easier. The complexity will build, and build, and build.

When you were a kid, at least for a kid of my generation, you knew intuitively when building a Jenga tower to make sure you laid those first pieces carefully. Otherwise your whole stack would soon lean askew and come crashing down before soaring to the impressive heights you aspired for it.

A brief disclaimer, though, that sadly, truth be told, any pieces you lay at any point in building your Jenga tower can suddenly rotate sideways, just slightly enough to require repeated, delicate course corrections.

Case in point today occurred when I looked at something we learned weeks ago, baffled and not even understanding why it was sticking out to me. For about thirty seconds, I puzzled over it as if I had never seen it before until I shifted one log and everything straightened back up again.

Onward.

Also, a nod to the 180th class, for whom A-100 invites began December 2. On May 5, 2014 I felt just how you feel tonight. A pitcher of margaritas later, I laid in bed for seven hours and slept for about two, my eyes filled with stars.

  1 comment for “LRU100: The Halfway Point

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

The #1 Itinerary

Inspiring the world's next generation of travelers.

Trailing Spouse Tales

My Life As An Expat Abroad

silverymoonlight

My thoughts.

Wright Outta Nowhere

Tales from a Serial Expat

from the back of beyond

Detroit --> Angola --> Chile --> Cambodia--> India

adrift . . . but in a good way

the doings of the familia Calderón

I Think I'm Going to Like it Here

A little drama every day. ~Dramababyabroad

J.M.I.

Wanderings & Wonderings

The Multicultural Marketer

Inclusion Isn't Optional

LIVIN' THE HIGHLIFE

two humans, one cat, and our lives together in West Africa

travelin' the globe

my travels, my way. currently exploring eswatini and the rest of southern africa as a peace corps volunteer

Collecting Postcards

Foreign Service Officer and Returned Peace Corps Volunteer

a rambling collective

Possibilities of connections and a sense of belonging.

Road Unraveled

Part-time travelers who want to inspire you to take a different vacation and go see the world!

Enchanted Forests

This Blog is about discovering the magic of forests in every aspect of life from a small plant in a metropolis to the forests themselves

diplomonkey

Chimping around the world!

The Unlikely Diplomat

We travel, some of us forever, to seek other places, other lives, other souls. – Anais Nin

Countdown To Freedom

A blog about health, the keto diet, weight loss, family, relationships, travel & love!

The Mongolian Way

just a Rhode Island girl living in a Kazakh world

Latitude with Attitude

Exploring the World Diplomatically

Let's Go Somewhere

A life well-lived around the world.

Cu Placere

Joyce Hooley

DiploDad

Foreign Service Blog

Six Abroad

"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all." - Helen Keller

A Diplomat's Wife

just another story

bama in the balkans

Experiences of a Peace Corps Volunteer in Macedonia

Adventures in Macedonia

A Peace Corps Story

Twelve Knots

My Journey to the Foreign Service

Sarah Jones Abroad

I am serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kyrgyzstan, come read about my advetures

Notes From Post

A Diplomat's Life Abroad

Raised in the Foreign Service

40 years later, a TCK looks at the world through the lens of Embassy family life

Around the World in Thirty Years

A little ditty about our adventures in the Foreign Service

memories over mohinga

a peace corps memoir

Bembes Abroad

Two People, Two Dogs...One New Country

Sending Postcards Home!

From travels around the world, with love..

Kelsey Schmitt

Travel & Lifestyle

Nomads By Nature: The Adventures Continue

We are a foreign service family currently posted in Windhoek, Namibia!!

Adventures Abroad

tales from a life abroad.

Texpatica

Ramblings about the life of a Texpat.

Emma & Nathan's Travels

Our worldwide travels beginning in the year 2017

Diplomatic Baggage

Perspectives of a Trailing Spouse, etc.

%d bloggers like this: