Monday, 15 May 2017

An English Language group

Wednesday, Marina was back at work so I had the day to myself. I headed to an open-air market where there is a mixture of book sellers and art shops. I always buy a hand-full of Kolibri acrylic/oil brushes because they are super quality but much cheaper here than in Europe. I also bought some more Russian oil paints because I wanted to improve a portrait of Marina which I had brought with me. I brought two, she liked the other one. I never got close - not easy in a hotel room. 

By the way, I am writing this on the flight back from Kyiv to Barcelona. I gave Marina a small Acer One laptop for her translation work the last time I saw her in January but she said it was too small for her and she bought another laptop. So I took back the Acer One! I love it - it fits perfectly on the drop-down table. It is perfect for writing - too slow for most other applications. My new laptop which I described in my previous visit here is great for a hotel room but too big for using in a plane. The only snag is that the battery is running down rapidly with a warning to consider getting a new battery. I think I will do that. I also put Cyrillic letters on the keyboard so I can switch between Russian and Spanish - the keyboard native layout is Spanish. And it is very quiet so I am not disturbing the guy next to me who is sleeping maybe.

Wednesday evening I went to an English language group which operates under the Polyglot Club which operates in the whole of Ukraine and it also appears as a Meetup group so I joined the group before I came here. I arrived at  Korolinko Library a little before the scheduled 5pm start. The venue was a small classroom and, after a short while, there were about 8 of us waiting for Floud, the leader or teacher. And we waited... and waited. After about 15 minutes I suggested that I take the class because everyone was getting bored. This was welcomed so I got up, asked them to take seats near to the front and suggested that they took it in turns to introduce themselves. This would give me an opportunity to see what their level of English was like. But I was flattered to find that they wanted to know about me!

So I told them about my Meetup group, Catalunya and the people who want independence from Spain. They were especially interested when I told them about Catalan and Spanish languages both being used and that sometimes I am pressured into speaking Catalan. It makes an interesting comparison between Ukrainian and Russian. In Kharkiv, virtually everyone speaks Russian but as one goes east, especially in Kyiv, Ukrainian is more commonly used. But just because people here speak Russian, it doesn't mean that they are pro-Russia. Most young people I spoke to are very happy about closer ties with the European Union. More about that later!

After about 15 minutes with the group, this foreign-looking guy slipped into the back of the classroom. "Are you Floyd?"

We ran the group together for a few short moments and I went back to my seat. His technique was very different from mine. He talked about his wife, his problem with Ukrainian forms. And later he gave advice on different American accents. I thought his accent was Texan but he said that he came from the mid-west. So he was talking about "hey youall.." This was getting some blank looks!

Afterwards, Floyd and I went to a dingy little bar owned by an English couple. But they weren't there. He bought two large beers and I thanked him. He told me about his Ukrainian wife and her children.

I found this group through Meetup, it appears as a Meetup group. But Floyd was unaware of a Meetup group, he organised the event through his Facebook page. He said that he wouldn't be there the following week but the Meetup group shows him as being there. I wrote some time ago to Dominique who is the Organiser but he (or she?) never replied so I won't worry about it.

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