Today’s instalment is a kind of tribute to our former teacher, the one of a kind Irina Alexandrovna. No, she didn’t perish due to my astounding inability to improve my Russian skills. We just have different classes now.
To mark this occasion we all decided that we would buy a cake and present it to Irina during the last part of our class, unaware that it is forbidden to take cake into the university building. The guards informed us of this as we tried to enter with cake in hand.
Anyway, here is a collection of my favourite quotes from Irina Alexandrovna:
Explaining to us the seriousness of using the verb “смочь.” “Russian смог (smog) is like English smog over the Russian language...It is the biggest mistake in the Russian language...It's even in the dictionary...Lermontov didn't use it…but Tolstoy my dears, he was already making this mistake.”
After reading out my dialogue which my Russian friends had written for me and which I clearly had not familiarised myself with in advance, I found this perilous verb escaping my lips, and in slow motion horror I lifted my eyes from the page to see a look of shock and disillusionment on her face. Following this, Irina announced that she had informed us of this fatal error, which not only affected the Russian language, but also society, culture and politics, and now we were free to “make the right decision.”
Producing a picture of her beloved Lermontov as we begin to butcher his work; “Мой дорогие, он смотрит нас. Очень красивый человек. Умный человек.” (“My darlings, he is watching us – what a beautiful man, a CLEVER man.”)
Describing the year 2000: “It is a magical number my dears, because the “0”s are like windows, do you see, my dears…and then I saw the sun turning all the colours of the rainbow.”
Sam: “It’s a metaphor?”
Irina: “No, my dear, I saw it with my own eyes.”
“My dears, do you love to embrace the trees? It’s good for your health.”
“Do you love catching butterflies?”