Monday, November 24, 2008

Notes on New Friends

I was sitting down to eat lunch by myself today when my new friend Gavin asked if he could join me. We had a long and lovely conversation before he left to go to the library and I continued where I was, reading a book about Yiddish literature.
Later in the day, I was reading the self-same book elsewhere when a girl from my Yiddish class asked if she could join me. Her name is Anka and as it turns out she is also a non-native Hebrew speaker who is here on a one-year program. She is a junior studying Judaica at her home university in Russia, and is here for the year, studying Yiddish language and literature. Her Hebrew seems to be about on my level. I hope we'll develop a friendship.
In Yiddish class we theoretically take turns reading, but the teacher usually calls on the same few people who seem the most capable of reading, and I've never been asked to do it before. Today, the teacher called on me - he'd forgotten my name, but he was very nice about asking me to read. I was terribly embarassed - I can't read as well as everyone else because the characters are still foreign to me even after all these years of studying them. But everyone was very patient, and the teacher made a comment about how I knew to pronounce certain difficult words correctly, and no one said anything negative at all. It's nice that the class is supportive, but frankly I hope he doesn't ask me to read again, because I did feel more than a little shy about it.
People were nice today. One of the kids in my Historiography class kept making faces at me when the teacher said something boring and asked if I was OK when I coughed during class - this is exciting because it's the first time that anyone in that class has really acknowledged that I exist - they mostly have their own friends and no one in the class has ever spoken to me before. What else was nice was that my Hebrew teacher, Batya, was returning our essays today and asked if she could keep mine for an extra day because she wants to show it to my other Hebrew teacher, as she thought it was really good. We had to write biographies, and mine was on Grace Paley - as a side note if you've never read Grace Paley don't waste any more time with this blog, go out and get yourself a copy of her short stories or her poems and be quick about it! What else was nice was that I rode the bus home with a friend from my Yiddish Lit class - so that means that today I had at least one positive interaction in every class! That makes today officially a good day. Now I need to start thinking about paper topics, do a little homework, etc. The other exciting news is that it seems that I may be volunteering at the preschool around the corner from our apartment a few hours a week - I'm going to the preschool next week to discuss it. That would be excellent, as I have a little too much free time, and I miss working with kids.

Sorry this was a bit of a boring post. More interesting things will follow in the next few days, even if I have to make them up. :)

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