We had our first area studies today. They have grouped all of the Baltic States with Ukraine and Poland. The reason for this, according to our instructor, is that, well they were under the Soviet Union together (but so was neighbor Belarus...) and they were somewhat together for 350 years under the Polish-Lithuanian empire. But of course, that was some time ago.
I suspect it is just a matter of convenience, though for whom, I couldn't tell you. There certainly are enough students to justify two separate classes, or at least a bigger classroom. His pre-prepared attendance sheet listed 32 students. Another 14 showed up. All of us are going to one of these five countries, so no one was there by mistake. So all 46 of us had to cram into a too small and too stuffy room...the unlucky ones who didn't get there right on time got stuck in chairs against the far wall or sitting on cabinets. I hope they get us a better room, but I am not optimistic.
Because of the setup of the room, my fallback plan for when class gets dull won't work. During my last time in area studies six years ago, we were in sort of an auditorium. The room was large enough that if I cut my 3x5 flash cards into 4, they were small enough that I could study to stay awake rather than poke my eyes out with pencils. Not sure this will work here. I am hopeful, however, that this area studies will be a bit less, uh, political, than the last. There are no unbiased opinions where the Middle East is concerned.
Speaking of flash cards, if you are in language studies, you can borrow a copy of rapid rote to put on your home computer. So I got a copy today and loaded it up...I have loaded all of my vocabulary minus today's new words on. I used it in the lab and I think it really works. At least I am willing to give it a shot.
According to my list, I have a vocabulary of roughly 200 words. And after getting a few more verbs today, I can be, speak, study, live, know and forget. Probably forgetting is what I will do the most of!
Speaking of forgetting, I almost forgot to tell you that what we did in area studies today was watch the movie "Everything is Illuminated" (hence the post title). A good movie...I recommend it.