So I just finished, for the first time ever, reading a book in Russian. Garri Potter i Uznik Azkabana. Five hundred and seven pages.
Oh. My. Gawd.
It took me a week, what in English would take two days. (Excuse me in advance if this blog is littered with idiomatically clumsy sentences—reading this much Russian has had a noticeable effect on my spoken English too.)
I haven’t read an English language book all week—a long time for me. Russian print is swirling around in my head; I can’t walk down the street without finding myself absent-mindedly repeating some word or another—sometimes without knowing for sure if it’s a real word or one I’ve just made up. It’s incredible and …*sigh* 🙂
The funny thing is that the achievement is made more amazing not only by the idioms and expressions and words I seem to have effortlessly picked up and integrated (erratically) into my speech—and Lord knows there’s bunches of words that bounced OFF my head too—but rather by this one tiny, almost ridiculous realization which has swooped me into euphoria. Namely:
I know two words for cloud.
I know, it seems useless. After all, I am no meteorologist. I am no weather reporter. I am no sky-gazer.
But two words! This is victory indeed! Because it provides—flexibility. *sighs happily* Flexibility is power, I have decided. I can choose among words…or in this case, between words. I can be the master of my own nuances!
I am on cloud two, I tell you!
It occurs to me I also know now two words for werewolf. I typically discuss neither clouds nor werewolves at length, but I sense integration of both into my daily conversation for at least a while.
Russian: “Hello, Ruth. How are you?”
Ruth: “I am well. Is that a cloud (1)? I am a werewolf (1)”
Russian: “Uh, are you pointing at the pavement?”
Ruth: “Clouds (2) are different in America. Are you also a werewolf (2)?
Good times. Ah, and I now have five words for interrupt. Several ways to describe smirks, bitter smiles, glinting eyes, exploding with fury, exchanging glances, examining things… Precautions. Invisibility Cloaks. Wiping one’s tears/sweat. Aiming one’s wand… Yes, several ways of aiming weapons, assuming all weapons are wielded similarly to wands… 🙂
Life, fellow English speakers, is GRAND! 🙂 But now I must bid you adieu, for I have two clouds to gaze at. 🙂