I usually have only one class on Fridays. It’s at 8 am and located on the fourth floor of a renovated warehouse that houses over 50 magazines and newspapers, including my all-time favorite English newspaper in Russia, The Moscow Times.
There are about six students that attend this early morning class on and off, and they’re all female. I really enjoy the group – they’re creative, enthusiastic, and really intelligent. Also, working for a company called Independent Media, they follow city news and events closely, and have perspectives on current events and culture that quite often differs from the average Russian take on things. Our class has evolved into something of an English-language breakfast club.
Friday class was quiet and enjoyable. In attendance were freelance journalist Yana, lawyer Elena, and secretary Veronika (late and sleepy as usual)*. We waded through uncountable and plural nouns in grammar.
The last part of the lesson, in my typical communicative method approach, featured short conversations centered on some typical uncountable nouns (chocolate, advice, furniture). It was interesting to hear their wildly different thoughts, and personal history connections with each word.
Here’s a peek into our Friday morning class:
- Elena: I only like Russian chocolate, like Babaevskii or Krasny Oktyabr.
- Yana: Chocolate has always been such a frustration with me. My little brother had an allergy to it, so my parents never bought it for us. We used to take chocolate pudr (Me: powder)…We used to take chocolate powder, and make like a hot chocolate and put it in the freezer.
- Veronika: It is hard for me to think of any good advices (Me: advice). Oh yes, sorry! Advice. You see, I am very independently. (Me: independent) Yes, independent. I go to shopping by myself, I am cooking by myself. If I want to do something, I do it. I don’t ask for advice.
Then back, slowly, easily to the metro station, and walking home past the fruit stands, the construction workers slapping wet globs of concrete onto a wall, the stinky garbage bins, and the dry, thirsty trees in our apartment courtyards. The ground is dusty in the middle of Moscow’s record-breaking heat wave. Thankfully, the weekend has arrived!
*not their real names