Русская кафедра желает всем нашим студентaм и друзьям счастливого и безопасного пути домой! The Russian Department wishes all our students a pleasant and safe journey home! We hope you enjoy the winter break, and we look forward to working with you in 2013. We have lots of interesting events and guests in the coming semester; watch for future postings for more information.
Музей советских игровых автоматов
[Soviet Arcade Game Museum]
For those of you planning a visit to Moscow, I highly recommend taking a side trip to Metro Baumanskaia, where you’ll find the not-to-be-missed Soviet Arcade Game Museum. While you can arrange an official экскурсия, this isn’t your average gallery of untouchable artifacts. For an entrance fee of 300 rubles you’ll receive fifteen 15-kopeck coins that will allow you to play a wide assortment of refurbished Soviet arcade games.
Ever find those pesky, seemingly useless, 1-kopeck coins in your change purse? Keep ‘em! Right as you walk in the Museum you’re tempted by three fully-functioning газировка vending machines. If you want to tickle your palate with a fresh glass of Tarkhun or Orange Syrup Water, you’ll be needing those kopecks. Is your inner numismatist unwilling to part with those elusive 1-kopeck species? No problem; you can always get your fizz fix at the kassa for 50 rubles.
Most of the games have been restored to working order, but be forewarned that here, as at any arcade in the whole world over, your money will get eaten up by rapacious coin slots eager to deny you a fulfilling gaming experience. Ну, что же делать? In order to minimize disappointment, I advise you to seek out the following machines:
As alluring as the lush landscape of the Ни пуха, ни пера! Soviet Duck Hunt game is, in the first-person shooter category, the aspiring ФСБшник will want to head straight for the Sniper franchise (though this sharpshooter was unable to discern much of a difference between Снайпер-1 and Снайпер-2).
A personal favorite of mine is the Магистраль racing game. Pro tip: Attempt it one-handed and stay in the учебная mode. Motorists from the West are no match for Russian roadways.
Did you bring a buddy along? Then you can’t go wrong facing off at foosball, hockey, or basketball.
If a flight to the Russian capital isn’t on your horizon, you’ll have to settle with the Museum’s website: http://www.15kop.ru
Designed by the ultra-hip design team at the Art Lebedev Studio, the site comes complete with Flash emulators of the Soviet originals that you can play to your heart’s content. Be advised, though; it’s more addictive than krokodil!
Greetings from Tomsk!
According to Lonely Planet, Tomsk is one of the “undiscovered wonders of Siberia” and “Siberia’s most attractive city.” It’s a cozy town known for its traditional wooden architecture and its many universities. I arrived here about two months ago, and have really enjoyed exploring so far.
Winter is starting to settle into Tomsk, and the most surprising thing is how often it snows. Many days it seems to snow constantly. It may or may not accumulate on the ground, but the air is always filled with small, white flakes. We recently had our first day of -30°C (-22°F) weather, a sign that winter has truly arrived.
I’m here in Tomsk as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant, and classes have been going well. At the beginning of the month I discussed voting and elections with my students, and last week we learned about Thanksgiving. Until now I’ve only been working with students who study English as their primary language, but I recently started working with a group that is stronger in German than in English. I’m looking forward to working more with them in the coming months.
While not working, I’ve been attending weekly Toastmasters’ Club meetings at the American Center, and last week it was my turn to give a speech. Normally the speeches are given in English, but I did mine in Russian for some extra practice. I spoke about Pella and Tulip Time, starting the speech off with a Dutch dance. Everyone seemed to enjoy it, and I was happy with how it went.
On Thanksgiving I was able to have a small celebration with two friends. I made chicken, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. It was my first time making cranberry sauce from scratch, and it turned out wonderfully! I also made the pie from scratch. At first I wasn’t sure where to find a pumpkin, but then one of my students brought me one from her garden. It was huge, so I ended up making pumpkin pancakes and pumpkin pasta, in addition to the pie.
Last weekend I visited a friend in Abakan, in the republic of Khakassiya. This involved a 15 hour bus ride there, and another 15 hours back, but the journey was surprisingly calm. We watched lots of movies, stopped occasionally to eat, and, of course, slept. While in Abakan, I spent one afternoon outside of the city in the steppes, one of my favorite landscapes. We visited Salbyk, often called the “Stongehenge of Siberia,” a traditional Khakas burial site. There used to be a large pyramid which contained the bodies, but now all that remains is the large stone outline of the pyramid. What with the mountains in the background and the steppes all around, it was a tremendous sight.
One of the things I was most thankful for this Thanksgiving was the opportunity I have now to live in Russia, and also for the fact that I was so well prepared for this experience by my time at Grinnell. Not only is my base of linguistic and cultural knowledge from the Russian Department coming in handy, but I find myself using other skills that I wouldn’t have expected to use in Siberia. I speak Italian everyday with my neighbor, have been solicited for help with math, and am the resident expert on post offices both in my dorm and in my office. So take advantage of your time at Grinnell and participate in all sorts of things – you never know when seemingly disparate skills will come together!
Всего всего хорошего,