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Dear Students and Russophiles (connoisseurs of everything Russian!), welcome to my website, Listen2Russian.com!
My name is Jonathon and I'm a clinical psychologist from Melbourne, Australia .. you know, that big island at the bottom of the world? :))
My journey started at 15 while I was studying politics and comparative economics at school. We started to learn about socialism in the USSR, the revolution, Lenin, Stalin, the KGB .. it was so fascinating to discoverer an entirely different government and social structure existed .. although, as I've found out in recent years, it was less than fascinating for the people who actually lived in it! :)
But, as often happens, life distracted me away from my brief Russian studies and I didn't look at another Russian word for almost 20 years!
But fast forward to New Years Eve of 2005/06, and I was walking alone at 3am along a beach in Koh Samui, Thailand, feeling pretty happy :) I noticed a small group of people huddled together on the warm sand, talking and laughing, enjoying the beautiful humid night. Being a typical Aussie (Australian) I walked over to say hi, and they turned out to be a group of young Russians, on holiday just like me!
Suddenly all the old Russian words flowed back into consciousness, and out came 'privet!' and 'kak dela?', and instantly the Russians smiled and asked me to join them for vodka, which honestly tasted like petrol :) It was such a magical experience talking and singing with the Russians, I'll never forget it. Well .. I must admit, the end of the night was a bit blurry :) and somehow I ended up swimming in my underwear at 5am :)) but really, that night is the reason Listen2Russian now exists. I made some good friends that night, and especially one very nice girl who invited me to visit Russia.
Six months after Thailand I found myself nervously flying to Russia alone, excited but unsure what to expect! I was armed with helpful phrases like 'Извините, я не понимаю' (Sorry, I don't understand), Вы говорите по-английски? (Do you speak English?), and Извините, где туалет, пожалуйста? (Excuse me, where's the toilet please?) :) But I was met by my new friend at the airport, and was able to relax and take it all in.
From Kirov, I also visited many other cities including Nizhny Novgorod, Kazan, Moscow, Anapa and Sochi. The lifestyle in Russia was so different to life in Melbourne, but it felt so good .. so peaceful. People weren't constantly striving for unnecessary material possessions, but focused more on enjoying the company of family and friends, and appreciating the small things that we take for granted in Western culture.
Daily life in Melbourne distracted me once again, and I let my Russian studies slide for a few years, but kept in contact with a few Russian friends. One of these special friends, Tanya (Tatiana) invited me to Minsk, the capital city of Belarus, and before I knew it I hopped on a plane and headed off into the unknown (for a second time! :)
Minsk, in a word, is awesome! The grand Stalinist architecture, the wide streets, the lovely, slim, well-dressed people, the nice restaurants and cafes, the beautiful surrounding forests .. Minsk has such a great atmosphere and is officially my favourite city! .. apart from Melbourne :)
National Academic Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theatre of Belarus
Many people ask me what are the best tools to assist with their Russian studies, and I recommend:
Some people prefer Pimsleur and Rosetta Stone, but they really didn't help me very much.
Actually, if you're serious about learning Russian the best thing you can do is make some Russian friends!
And the best way to do that is via VKontakte (Вконтакте), the Russian equivalent of Facebook. Most Russians are pretty friendly, and you might like to join an interest group as the first step.
There is also a site called Odnoclassniki (another social networking site), but that's really hardcore Russian (no English interface), and I suggest you try VK.com first before anything else.
And you can find me on VK almost every day!
(but please don't be upset if I don't respond to your message straight away, as sometimes I connect from work between patients! :)
Now you have a good understanding of my Russian language journey, it's time to create your own!
Russian is such a grand, strong and beautiful language .. yes, it's difficult, but the challenge is ultimately worth it!
And whatever you do, have fun!!
Jonathon - At home in my kitchen. Can you translate what's written on my singlet? :)
I hope you enjoy Listen2Russian.com!
Listen2Russian.com is a continuously evolving project, and we welcome contributions from anyone who speaks native Russian.
If you would like to contribute to this website then please email us through the Contact Us page.
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