I made a friend today in the laundry room! His name is Lawrence. He is from Zambia and he has been studying here for four years. When he first got here he took eight months of intensive Russia… like eight hours a day for eight months. He is fluent now. It was very interesting to talk with him and see the way he views everything. I was very happy to hear that he has the same opinion of Russia as we have. It is something that takes a lot of getting used to and even when you think you are used to it, it changes and messes with you some more. And no matter how much you get used to it it is always hard. And this is coming from someone from Africa and one of the world's poorest countries. He also agreed that Russians never smile and will almost never talk to you unless you initiate conversation. If you do initiate conversation they will quickly become your best friend. He said that Americans were also the same way but I had to point out that we are usually just too afraid of making a fool of ourselves to approach anyone first. He did say he could tell I was American because the second he started talking to me I smiled. He was shocked to hear the price of schools in America. I explained to him the concept of financial aid but he still could not believe how much we pay for school. We also talked about how our living situation is kind of counter productive for learning Russian. Most of our floor is Americans and anyone who is not is Finnish, Swedish, or Turkish. We are not mixed in with the Russians at all. In his dorm they are really mixed and he roommate is from the Congo and speaks french so they use Russian to communicate. If we did that here I think it would be very helpful.
Tomorrow is Halloween! We're going to Shamrocks for dinner. Next Monday and Tuesday are national holidays in Russia so we have those two days off but have class on Saturday.