Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The one where you find your professor at the peasant disco.

So, there is this Cafe Called Rachel's Cafe that hosts an annual "disco" called The Peasant's Disco that plays Eastern European music for SWSEEL kids. My professor told me about it, so I decided to go. It was a lot of fun!

I hung out with a bunch of different students from different language levels. and ended up walking towards the Cafe with these other 5 students that I happened to meet in the lobby! Now, I couldn't tell you what their names were or what they were studying, but they were nice people! lol

Now to the juicy part my dear readers! While my professor was the one that told me about it, it is interesting to note that  I have never seen a professor of mine at a bar! So it is a first for everything. :)

Sunday was spent doing homework and relaxing, something I am still not used to.

There was a wonderfully enlightening lecture on the feild of study of communism. The best thing was some quotes at the beginning.

"You might find yourself working in the communist field."

On remembering communism from people that are in their mid 30s: "Yes, I remember communism, that is when I couldn't have chocolate!"

See you around the globe!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

"That is cute"

"That is cute" should top the list of things you don't want to hear your professor say to your attempts to learn a language. 

Ah, yes, I was the recipient of this phrase today.

Apparently, transliterating roman letter English words to Cyrillic Macedonian = weird.

I was trying to say Los Angeles. I spelled "Лозанѓелез" because New York is one word in Macedonian, so I figured so was Los Angeles. 


"Лозанѓелез" transliterates to "loz angeelez". That was my attempt. Pretty good eh?

The correct transliteration is "Лос Ангелес" "los angeles" or rather literally transliterated. But my name is not that way, nor are many other words, so why would this Honors College student choose the easy way out?

However, we (the class) got a good laugh out of "That is cute."

Also, I ordered Macedonian letters to stick on my keyboard, so I can stop miessing up my "h" and "n"s in Macedonian. (As you may remember, a Macedonian "n" looks like "H").

Also learned how to recruit a spy as a CIA foreign operative. But I'd have to kill you if I told you (but then how did you learn, you may be wondering to yourself. Well, I attended a lecture thankyouverymuch) 

Oh, it's not nice to tease you like that? Ok, 

We first you SPOT a possible target, then you ASSESS the target, then you DEVELOP a friendship with the target, then you TURN the target, followed by HANDLING (dealing wiht them and getting them to give you information) and the you TERMINATE them. No that doesn't mean kill them, it means fire them, as gracefully as you can. 

Basically that was it, but it was by Gene Coyle, a IU professor that used to work at the CIA. While working undercover at te US State Department (did you know, he didn't have to even pass the Foreign Service Officer's Test?!?!?!?)

See you around the globe!!

Monday, June 20, 2011


Or rather "hello!" in Macedonian.

We learned some words today, as well as common greetings. You might get to learn some Macedonian if you stay around here long enough.

So, as I have mentioned before, the alphabet is in Cyrillic. Here are your "ABV's"

А Б В  Г  Д   Ѓ   Е   Ж  З  Ѕ   И   Ј К Л    Љ     М  Н  Њ  О П Р С Т   Ќ  У Ф   Х   Ц   Ч   Џ  Ш
A B V G  D  Gy  E  Zh  Z Dz   I  Y K L (soft l)  M  N  Ny O P R S T  Ky  U F  Kh  Ts  Ch  J  Sh

Or to help you out watch this YouTube video of some 80s kids show with an alphabet song!

A wee bit fast eh?

After official class we had a conversation hour which consisted of us talking over lunch about the language. We learned some new words. Like "protocol" means "orange." Yes you read that correct,apparently it comes from the Greek. We ended up making it a Conversation Hours (2) because we just started talking about politics and such. Eventually we will be speaking in Macedonian during this hour, but not yet.

Later today, I had to go to a Title VIII meeting, because some of my funding is from Title 8, actually all of it is. Title 8 was created to prepare young scholars in the former USSR/Eastern Block languages to learn about a foreign language for future "on the ground" activities. Apparently this is a big deal, and its AWESOME that I got it. I didn't know this however, I was just happy to get a full ride, but know I know.

At this meeting I met Adam, a 2011-2012 Fulbright-er to Moldova. (see below) He will be studying a minority group there. We will be attending the PDO together. and hopefully hanging out before then, because he has lived in Bloomington for 10 years now, and hopefully can tell me the good places to go!

Then, due to the nerd in me, I went to a library resources for central Eurasian studies. (which sounded better than the lecture in Russian on "Linguistic Means of Sentence Deauthorization in English and Belarusian Academic and Newspaper Texts" in Russian, which I don't even know what it mean in English!) The Library has (drum roll please) mostly focused in humanities and social sciences.

  • 8 million books in
  • over 900 libraries
  • 7,000 databases
  • 60, 000 journals
  • 8,500 e-books.


Double WOW!

But they have some awesome resources there that will hopefully let me get a jump start on Fulbright research.

See you around the globe! or rather: чао!

Macedonian in Indiana

Yes, you read that correct. I am studying Macedonian language in Indiana. Pretty much the heartland of the US. But it has an often overlooked gem: Indiana University Bloomington which hosts the SWSEEL (Summer Workshop in Slavic, Eastern European and Central Asian Languages), where I can learn Macedonian.

Classes started Friday June 17th with an orientation followed by an actual class followed by running all over this campus trying to find the correct person to talk to!

My Macedonian class has 4 students in it (which is one more than last year, apparently).

-PhD student in linguistics, who knows at least 3 other languages
-Masters student who knowns Russian and taught himself Polish
-IU professor who wishes to continue her research into the minority groups in Macedonia. But has never had a Slavic language before
-The Professor, who was born and raised in Skopje.

As you can see on this list, I am the second to the bottom or 4th from the top in level of experience. Or you would think. I am not a natural language learner, so picking up languages is work. (I should actually be studying rather than writing to you, but I digress). And everyone else in the class is fluent in at least two languages, often times 3 (actually now that I think about it, yes they are all fluent in 3 different languages.)

So no pressure.

But I just need to keep reminding myself that I am under no obligation to preform to their standards, or where they are in class. I just need to do the best that I can while learning this language, which oh by the way is in an entirely different alphabet! Its going to be tough, but I will succeed.

After class, we got to wander around to buy books, get our ID card, get our parking permit, etc etc etc. Oh by the way, did I mention that the IU campus is about 2.5 miles across? And that it takes 15 minutes minimum just to walk to class? Have I also mentioned that y old campus was a grand total of a leisurely 5 minute walk? No, well, let me tell you.

I dislike walking this much.
No seriously, I collapsed into bed the first day when I got done walking around. Today, biking back was a really harsh reminder of how out of shape I am. Bobby tried to tell me, well, you are 750 feet (?) or so above sea level, so that's why you are out of breath more often. Nice try honey, but I know better. This is payback for never finishing physical therapy from the universe.

however, the rooms in the dorms are really nice, even if we don't get a lot of interaction with other people. All of my classmates live off campus, and there doesn't seem to be a lot of events scheduled early on for us to get to know each other. But, I'm sure over time, I will get to know people.

See you around the globe!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


As part of the Fulbright, my travel to the PDO, my hotel while in DC, food while at the PDO, and $100 for food not covered while at the official PDO (they cover breakfast and lunch). So as a note that is $100 for three days. July 20-23, 2012 is the PDO at the Renaissance Hotel near the convention center in Downtown DC (Mt.Vernon St/Convention Center stop).

Since I will be in Bloomington at Indiana University studying Macedonian at the time of the PDO I will be flying from Indianapolis to DC. I'll leave at 7:25am and arrive at DC Reagan at 8:59 AM. Check in at the hotel is on average at 3pm, but check-in for the PDO is from 12:00pm-5:30pm. So hopefully, I will be able to check in early/ at least get luggage storage at the Renaissance. Then maybe I will go explore (maybe. might be a nred and study over the materials that I should be doing at IU.

The Program:

Wednesday July 20
6 - 7:30 pm          Opening Reception
7:30 pm               Evening Free

Thursday July 21
8-9 am            Continental breakfast
9-4:15 pm       Sessions (including lunch break)
4:15 pm          Evening Free

Friday July 23
7:30-8:30 am    Continental Breakfast
8:30-2:15pm     Sessions (including lunch break)
2-2:15 pm         Evaluation and Closing

Then I have until 6:30pm at which time I will be on a flight back to Indianapolis. Then drive back down to Bloomington.

Sounds like fun! Who knows what other info will be coming in soon!

See you around the globe!

Your tax dollars at work!

So, I have got loads of information for y’all!

We (Fulbright Scholars that is) received info on our pre departure orientation (PDO). Then a few days later (ie today 6/8) they uploaded the Virtual Orientation Packet. It has answers to most (almost all-
woohoo for the government!) of my questions.

The first nugget of information that I received was about our PDO. We had to book our travel to DC and confirm our place at the PDO. If we did not go to the PDO, we forfeit our Fulbrights. So a little bit of a scare tactic, but hey, I registered that same day. And booked travel. I could really get used to the whole go online, pick a flight, click confirm and have tickets without paying a dime (thus the title). {For more about the PDO, see later posts}

With the Virtual Orientation Packet, it provided information about:

  • the Accident and Sickness Program for Exchanges (which included info on our medical coverage while abroad and prescriptions while abroad)
  • Fulbright Program Background
  • Fulbright Alumni
  • Tax Information (our awards are taxable)
  • Social Media Information/Guidance (about info like this blog, which I guess I should read before post, huh? oh well)
  • Regional Info (with a note- more info to come soon!)

The website also gave info for tourists- like they know how we think: hey, I'll be in DC, might as well visit some cool places! Maybe I'll go visit a Smithsonian or two after we get out? We'll see...

We ALSO got an email with more info on Macedonia, but since this post is already pretty long, I'll save that for a later post.

I'll see you around the globe!