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

a rambling collective

Tales of connections, food 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, massage, relationships & travel!

The Mongolian Way

Another Peace Corps Experience

Latitude with Attitude

Exploring the World Diplomatically

Let's Go Somewhere

Making the whole world my home.

Between England & Iowa

Exploring England, Iowa and everywhere in between!

Cu Placere

Joyce Hooley

DiploDad

Foreign Service Blog

Six Abroad

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

simple Ula

I want to be rich. Rich in love, rich in health, rich in laughter, rich in adventure and rich in knowledge. You?

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

What is Kirby Doing?: Stories from life after Peace Corps

Job searching and re-adjusting to life in DC

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.

A Foot in Each World

Life, love, education, and adventure in foreign service.

Culture Shock

Staying in the Honeymoon Phase

I'm here for the cookies

A trailing husband's vain search for cookies in an unjust world

Caitlin Jean Russell

Travel Tips, Photographs and Experiences

The Good Things Coming

A blog about people, places, and ideas

The Blog of Travel

Motorbikes, dogs and a lot of traveling.

traveled.life/

A Traveled Life

The Trailing Spouse

My life as a trailing husband of a Foreign Service Officer

In-Flight Movie

Our Adventures in the Foreign Service

Audrey is (a)Broad

Things I do and see while living and traveling outside the USA

%d bloggers like this: