Shameless Promotion

If you’re learning Russian and want to learn more about the instrumental case, go read this. I wrote it.


What I’m Reading

Even though I’ve been home for a week, I haven’t read very much. I think this is mostly due to the fact that I spend the previous eight weeks reading A LOT of books. Plus, I’ve been in that strange frame of mind when all I want to do is write and write and write, so I have been indulging that desire.

But I have been reading a bit–two books, to be exact. They’re very different but both very enjoyable.

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On Preparing Manuscripts

I don’t like sharing my writing. I know that’s a strange thing for a blogger to say, but hey, it’s the truth. It’s not a good feeling for an aspiring author to have, either, which is why I am doing something this month that is a big step for me: I am submitting a manuscript of my novel to a publisher.

The publisher is accepting open submissions this month, which is just what I need since I do not currently have an agent. I have to submit the first five chapters (or the first 10,000 words or so, if the chapters are short, which mine are) and a two-page summary, maximum, of the entire novel, including a bit about the main characters.
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I Hate Dilated Pupils

I went to the optometrist today. I’ve had to wear corrective lenses of some sort (used to be glasses, now it’s contacts if I’m feeling up to it; glasses if I’m tired or lazy) since I was about ten or so, and my prescription has been getting steadily worse over the years. There was this wonderful two-year period recently when my prescription didn’t change and I hoped that it would not change very much anymore, but unfortunately that didn’t happen.

Anyway, at the end of the exam, I had to get my pupils dilated so my optometrist could look at the back of my eye to make sure everything is fine. The pupil dilation is my least favorite part of the eye exam. In all honesty, I actually like all the other parts, no matter how weird that sounds. It’s strangely satisfying to look at the letters on the wall and suddenly have them come into focus as the optometrist changes all the settings on the clever little prescription machine (I don’t know the technical term for it).
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Home Sweet Home

I came home to the United States last week–last Saturday, to be exact. It was my first time in the US since mid-January and believe it or not, I have actually had to readjust to life here. I learned to speak English here, so I have an American accent, but I got used to everyone around me speaking in British accents, so hearing all these American accents again is kind of a surprise.

Another problem I didn’t expect to have was with money. I bought dinner in the airport after I landed (I always have to make a connection when I fly internationally because I don’t live near a major airport) and I could not remember which coins had which value. I feel like that incident should be at the top of a hypothetical list titled “You know you’ve been abroad too long when…”

Bottom line: it’s great to be home, but I miss all of my friends who are abroad.

National Foreign Language Week

According to Jennie over at the blog Jennie en France, this week is Foreign Language Week in the United States. Unfortunately, we Americans as a whole aren’t too keen on foreign languages. I took both Spanish and French in school and unfortunately did not learn either of them to a high level. I am currently learning Russian and loving every minute of it. But why should you learn a foreign language? Here are my reasons:

  • If you love reading, it opens up an entirely new batch of material to read.
  • It keeps your brain sharp, according to this study.
  • It helps you with your native language, like Goethe said: “Those who know nothing of foreign languages know nothing of their own.”
  • When you learn a foreign language, you aren’t just learning the language; you learn about an entirely new culture and people.
  • You have more job opportunities. This may sound like silly advice coming from the person who has been in academia her whole life, but it’s what everybody tells me.
  • It’s fun!

Are you learning a foreign language? What are your reasons for doing so?


Hello! Welcome to my blog. I’m Natalie and I’m a university student studying abroad in the UK this year. I am majoring in history and minoring in Russian language and literature. I like reading (which is a good thing since I have to do so much for my coursework), writing, classical music, and translation.

Outside of academics, I enjoy playing violin, attempting to make websites, practicing my Russian, and photography (though unfortunately I do not do as much photography as I used to).

Oh, and I’m obsessed with Mikhail Bulgakov, a Russian author. Like seriously obsessed. But more on that later.