I’ve signed up for six weeks of various exercise classes. Due to a variety of other commitments, I have only been once. To Pilates. I was stiff for a week. Thanks for asking. Maybe I will go again this week, if I’m feeling strong.
I think I have mentioned that I have also been learning Ukrainian all year. I am absolutely useless at it. I have finished the Ukrainian Duolingo course which is short (unlike say, Spanish, which goes on forever). I am now doing mild conversation classes with a Ukrainian. She’s a bit despairing I think and keeps sending me links to foreigners speaking fluent Ukrainian which is not helping at all. I think she means to encourage me. Humiliatingly, I still regularly get tripped up by the alphabet and when I read aloud I am like a small child in senior infants anxiously sounding out each word – to be clear, at the end after all my sounding I may not know what the word actually means so I am worse off than the senior infant. Curse you, Saints Cyril and Methodius.
Unhelpfully, I started doing Russian Duolingo as well, just because it had more lessons. It’s quite like Ukrainian and I need practice on the alphabet. It’s sort of like I started learning Dutch and German at the same time with no knowledge of either. As I go through my lessons, my long-suffering teacher will sigh and say, no, that’s Russian again.
I read an interesting article which said the following about the relationship between Russia and Ukraine:
Earlier in the night, Peter had made the comparison to Britain and Ireland. As between Britain and Ireland, between Russia and Ukraine there are innumerable cultural and linguistic and personal interweavings -so many that the two nations could never be wholly separate or wholly different-but that did not mean they were not distinct. That did not mean that the colonial nations of Ukraine and Ireland could be anything but independent and self-determining. And as in Ireland’s relationship to Britain, the crimes of the past would never be forgotten by Ukraine. They would be set aside in the name of commerce or family connections, but there would be, for centuries to come, a barely suppressed rage.
My Ukrainian teacher is prepping me for after the war when Mr. Waffle and I can go and visit and I will finally be able to put my hard won knowledge of basic restaurant vocabulary to use.