In kiosks and shops where they sell liquor, there’s always a posted warning that says “It is forbidden to sell spirits to persons who have not yet achieved legal age.” A student posted the picture below on her VK wall. Translation: “It is forbidden to sell spirits to persons who have not yet achieved anything.” Well said. 

I have a post on the other computer with lots of exciting adventures from last weekend (spoiler alert: skis!), but I haven’t found wireless yet, so I can’t update it. Tried to do so at the library, but there was no wireless there. There were computers that you could rent (for money) for the Internet. But the Internet didn’t work.  Also, the USB port didn’t work. So I paid 12 rubles to type my lesson plans and photograph the computer screen so I could hand-reproduce them when I got home. 

 

Yesterday, Anna (Russian tutor) invited me to a benefit concert for people with epilepsy, which turned out to be really awesome. Although they called it a concert, it was mostly dance, which seemed cruel until it became clear that it was choreographed for classical dancers and people in wheelchairs together. Anna said it was the first time she’d ever heard of a disabled person performing in public, so hooray for that. The Russian word for a handicapped (differently-abled?) person is “invalid”, which I cannot get used to, and although the connotation isn’t as bad as in English (IN-val-id and in-VAL-id), the idea that handicapped people can be part of normal society is fairly new. This event was organized by “Don’t Be Afraid,” an organization that helps people with motor problems and epilepsy learn to be active members of society. In short, a cool thing. Outside the concert hall there was a cat show (???), which Nikita (Anna’s 5-year-old son) and I explored while Anna talked to her fellow Rotary club members. Rotary, by the way, is way cheaper in Russia than in the states, so it’s pretty popular for people who are interested in international and charity things to be members. 

Off to discuss Hemingway with some folks. They’ve been complaining that the stories I choose are too sad. This from the land of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. While drafting a term paper, my friend Rebecca (are you here, Rebecca?) complained, “It has become difficult to resist saying that Tolstoy likes to write sad things.” I think the short story club worries that I like to read about people dying horribly. Say avid readers of Anna Karenina.  Next week we’ll lighten the mood with some Ambrose Bierce–not “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge,” which was my first choice, but rather The Devil’s Dictionary.  Fewer pre-firing squad hallucinations, and more amusing misinterpretations of the English language. We’ll see how it goes.

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