Wednesday, November 23, 2011


A guide on achieving life goals 
           to become better people,              
   improve our quality of life 
and enjoy every moment to the fullest. 

When: I began learning Russian when I was 7 years old-around 1990

Where: At my Aunt Roxanne's house, I started going over to her house on Tuesdays for a 'cooking lesson' I would help her make dinner, play with my cousin, go on the computer and she would teach me Russian. At the end of the evening she would pay me $2 and then I would walk home on a path through the woods.

Why I wanted to do this: I don't remember how my lessons started but she spent years in Army Russian Intelligence. She picked Russian because she wanted the smallest chance possible of being sent to war. It's funny to me how a simple decision on her part has effected MY own life so substantially and thus my daughter's life, who is 14 months old and I now give her Russian lessons every single day- I hope it has an equally grand effect on her life as well.

Cost: Free until I took Russian courses in collage at Oakland Community College which my mom paid for.

How I paid for it: I have not yet had to pay for much, other than some books here and there.

What would I do differently? When I began attending college, my plan was to major in Russian Language and Literature, however the year I started was also the same year they discontinued the Russian program, I was devastated and I wish I would have gone to another collage to pursue my dream, if I had I could have a very lucrative career. Although at the same time, had I gone to another collage I would not have made the incredible friendships, memories and experiences that I will have forever.

Will I do it again? I haven't given up on my dreams of not only becoming proficient in Russian but also of pursuing a career where I could use it-in fact just writing about it now makes me want to get going again!

Something I would recommend? Yes of course, for me it sparked a flaming passion for languages and I'm not just talking specifically about Russian, it could be any language  This will not happen for every single person but it will create an opportunity for you to able to talk to someone you probably never would, you'll have confidence boosting experiences and you may end up traveling somewhere you never thought you would be able to. It makes you more attractive to employers and let's face it more attractive to the opposite sex-anything in other languages is sexy (except languages that use clicks), you can teach it to your children-
Second language acquisition is exceptionally simple when you are young, so I would recommend teaching your children from a very early age. I have been teaching my daughter 6 languages since the day she was born, I do not expect that she will be fluent by the time she starts school but I am certain that she will have advantages other children do not. Being bilingual or multilingual undoubtedly will make you a better person overall. Learning another language also increases the way your brain works by making it possible for you to learn things easily as well as can diminish the possibility of ever having to live with alzheimers and dementia. And my favorite reason "to understand the real nature of the human soul it is necessary to have a knowledge of several languages."

Would it make a good gift/surprise?  In my opinion the gift of language is one of the five greatest gifts you could give a person.

Life changing? I can't say it changed my life at 7 years old-it completely carved out the direction of my life and made me who I am. Because my Aunt taught me Russian at such a young age I developed such a vigorous passion for languages including French, Arabic, German and Hebrew (as well as Albanian, Polish, Portuguese but only in small doses). Because of this I developed incredible friendships not only with foreigners but also with like minded people-so I wouldn't have the friends I have today, the experiences I've had, the education I've had, and I wouldn't be interested in the things I'm interested in -not to mention I wouldn't have the stories I tell and the memories I've made which include some of my most favorite and proud moments of my know I'm going to tell you what they are...

1. When I was 19 someone surprised me by taking me to a Russian submarine in Rhode Island. It was so fascinating for me to be able to walk through this sub and be able to read and understand what was written. When the tour was over I asked if I could walk through again so I could take the time to look at all the writing. The guides were so excited that I could read Russian, this time they followed me and asked me questions because they didn't know what any of it meant. I felt on top of the world.

2. When I was 21 I worked at a hotel in an undesirable position but I liked working there because it was so international. One morning in the breakfast hall I was speaking with a German man in French and some of the Mexicans walked in so I greeted them in Spanish, then my boss and I exchanged words in English and right after that the three Russians I worked with came up to me with questions (in Russian) about the word of the day I had posted. In about a five minute time span I had had conversations in 4 languages. I could feel all eyes on me, hopefully thinking 'what is this bright girl doing running the breakfast buffet?' I felt so impressed with myself!

3. Most recently, my daughter who is 13 months old demonstrated that she fully comprehends the word for 'please' in Russian. If she hands something to someone and I say 'pashalstya' she will pick it up and give to me or if she is eating and I say it she will pick up her food and put it in my mouth. The first time she did this I almost cried I was so proud of her-my daughter understands her first word in a second language- that's amazing!

I love all the languages I study but Russian is the most dear to my heart.

Great quotes about learning a second language:

"If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart." Nelson Mandela

"One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way." 
Frank Smith

"The limits of my language are the limits of my world." Ludwig Wittgenstein

"To have another language is to possess a second soul."


  1. I love your quotes and stories and all the nice things you said. The real reason I learned Russian however is that I had asked for Arabic first and at that time they weren't training women in Arabic so Russian was the next longest schooling that was available and when you are talking about Monterey CA, you want to be there as long as possible :)

  2. That's right! I am embarrassed by my inaccuracies-that will not happen again! I didn't remember the Arabic funny that I ended up studying Arabic-AND I FORGOT TO MENTION THE REASON I TOOK ARABIC WAS BECAUSE I LEARNED RUSSIAN-I FIGURED IF I COULD LEARN THE RUSSIAN ALPHABET, THEN I COULD LEARN THE ARABIC ALPHABET!

  3. If you can learn the Russian alphabet- you can do anything.


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