This morning, Alex and I started our respective language classes at the USDA grad school. I still do not understand why the USDA has a grad school, particularly one whose courses aren't things like Advanced Cow Milking, but it does. And it's great! First of all, it's right off the Metro. Second, the building also houses a Starbuck's and a faux French bakery. Third, it was 75 degrees today! (As you can see from my priorities, I am a serious and scholarly person.) Also, the course was fun--like real school, but easier, so I could spend more time attending to the performative aspects of being a student, like my posture, appropriately arranging my notes, and selecting the right pens.
Alex and Sebastian think I'm being a brat for taking beginning Russian instead of some higher level course, since I do in fact know some Russian. But they do not understand my dilemma. All I know in Russian is a bunch of random words and phrases--things like "onion" and "What do you want from me?" Some of these might seem intermediate for being haphazard, but they are just the results of selective memory. I can understand some things, but I can't read or write, I can't conjugate or decline. (I assume all verbs have first person present endings and all nouns have singular nominative ones because that is indeed what they had when I last spoke Russian at age five, a time when I was the subject of every sentence and all things were immediate.) So really, I do need a beginning course. I just happen to be better at identifying and (sometimes) pronouncing words than people who've never been exposed to the language because I have heard them before. Not my fault. But as you can imagine, the, "How are you? My name is ___" session was not too tough.
(Alternatively, I could've perhaps done some independent alphabet and basic declension/conjugation learning and signed up for beginning 2 or intermediate 1, but if I were going to learn this nonsense on my own, why would I be taking a course in the first place? There will be plenty of time in grad school to suffer while taking courses. For now, I would prefer to absorb some knowledge while mostly chilling. Besides, I am already studying Greek on my own, with very mixed results.)
After class, we bought sandwiches at the faux French bakery and ate them in the National Gallery's sculpture garden in the 75-degree weather. It was excellent. Hearts to school! I hope grad school is this fun, though I realize it probably won't be, not least because it will snow.