Вечная память

In memory of a special someone who is no longer here.

Вечная память.


The Fiftieth Anniversary of Gagarin’s Space Flight

So, fifty years ago today, the United States collectively freaked out because Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin made the first human venture into space. A mere seven years later, the poor man died in a plane crash at the age of 34. There seems to be controversy surrounding his death, as some believe it was a conspiracy. (And considering that this was the Soviet Union, one can never be sure…)

Some biographical information about Gagarin: he was born in the village of Klushino (Клушино) in Smolenskaya Oblast on March 9, 1934. His parents worked on a collective farm. As a child, he was interested in space and joined the Soviet Air Force.

He was selected for the Vostok program in 1960 and began training for a flight into space. A year later, in 1961, he became the first human to travel into space and orbit the earth.

The BBC has some very interesting articles in honor of the anniversary. There’s this one, about what might have happened if the Soviets had landed on the moon first, and this interview with Gagarin.

The whole Space Race was a fascinating aspect of the Cold War that I actually don’t know much about (I’ve mostly focused my studies on the Stalin era, especially the politics and infighting that took place). Anyone want to recommend a good book on the Space Race to me?

Want to Learn Russian Grammar?

If so, then go read this post about the instrumental case over on Transparent Language’s Russian blog. (Disclaimer: I wrote it.)

My Translation Experience

Here’s a comment I left on the FoxTranslate blog in order to enter a contest they’re having. The contest is to share an interesting translation experience you’ve had (though technically, mine relates to interpretation rather than translation).

I speak Russian and I’ve had quite a few amusing experiences interpreting for English speakers who did not speak Russian and Russian speakers who did not speak English. I’ll share two of them here.

I went on a trip to Russia with my mom a few summers ago. We went to many cities and towns, not just the usual St. Petersburg and Moscow. In a small village called Svirstroi (and I do mean village–according to Wikipedia, the 2010 census showed that a grand total of 989 people live there), my tour group was in a small grocery store. It was so small that most of the products were behind the counter. A couple from our tour group wanted to buy something for thirty rubles, so they pointed to the item and said something like, “The one for thirty rubles.” The woman working at the counter replied, “Тридцать рублей?” (which means “thirty rubles” in Russian). The couple shook their heads and repeated their request; the Russian woman repeated what she had said. At this point, I went over to the couple and explained to them what the Russian woman was saying, then I told the Russian woman (in Russian, of course) what item the couple wanted. Once everyone understood what was going on, the couple was able to buy the product and leave to explore Svirstroi more.

The next experience I had was in the Munich airport when I was coming home from the aforementioned trip. While buying a bottle of water and a newspaper during my long layover, I noticed the woman in front of me at the checkout counter was having trouble understanding how much money she owed. A quick glance at her passport revealed that she was Russian, so I helped her out, much to the cashier’s relief (the cashier spoke German and decent English, but unfortunately no Russian).

Anyway, thanks for having this contest–I’ve enjoyed reading everyone’s experiences (and hope that you enjoyed reading mine).

Night–на русском!

Night is one of my favorite books. I read it for the first time in eighth grade (it was a rare highlight in what was otherwise a pretty dismal year at school–more on that some other time, perhaps in a future memoir?) and adored it. If you haven’t read it, you definitely should. If you have, I feel compelled to share that my favorite bit was what I term the “violin incident,” described on pages 88-91 of my copy.

Anyway, I have acquired this excellent book на русском [in Russian] and am looking forward to reading it. Wiesel’s style of writing is very easy to follow and understand, so I hope to focus on acquiring new vocabulary (that’s always the most difficult part of learning a language, at least for me).

In Which My Eyeglasses Store Ruins My Glasses

For some reason, I feel like most of the life drama I’ve had recently has involved glasses and/or contact lenses. Probably has something to do with the fact that I recently got a new prescription…

Anyway, today I went back to the place where I got my glasses. The frames were not adjusted properly and kept attempting to fall off my face, which was extremely annoying. The lady who usually helps me was not there, so that was a bit of a Bad Omen. Nevertheless, I ignored it and asked a different lady to adjust my glasses.

Aside from misunderstanding precisely what the problem was, this new lady heated up my glasses so she could bend them, then made me wait while they cooled off, which was yet another bad sign. I’ve had loads of frames adjusted in my life and I have never had someone say, “Wait a bit, I heated them up too much so they have to cool off.” Imagine my displeasure when I put the glasses back on and saw a plethora of scratches on both lenses.
Continue reading “In Which My Eyeglasses Store Ruins My Glasses”

My First Spam Comment

So, I just received my first spam comment on this blog… Since the spambots (or whoever sends out the spam comments) have discovered me, does that mean that my blog has been discovered or whatnot?

(Probably not, considering how much spam is propagated over the internet but hey, I can dream, right?)