February 08, 2006

My First Day at School

I donít think parents can ever fully understand and appreciate their childrenís shock on their first day of school. I had my first day at school today and it was absolutely horrifying! It was a big building Ė big mostly because itís unfamiliar, itís only four storeys tall really. There was, as to be expected, plenty of unfamiliar people; all in smart suits, looking like they just came back from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and have just established world peace somewhere. They joke in Latin and sneer at people who reply in Greek Ė all of them speak at least three languages and find ordinary Russian jokes boring and flat. They quote Plato and look at things in rhetorical ways. They know whatís going on in every corner of this world. They honestly intimidate me. I turned into one scared bird, looking for holes on the perfectly white walls. Hard as I tried to overcome this irrational fear of the new people (the same people I desperately wanted to meet just two months ago) I couldnít help feeling out of place. I wasnít trembling, no, but it definitely wasnít the kind of experience I wanted to live over and over again.

Julia, my good Russian friend, once told me we have to disturb our own minds in order to live a fuller and richer life. Apparently, we tend to assume things of other people and once we find our place in the society we hardly ever break out of the routine of our own life and behaviour. So right now Iím doing the Ďwhat if the other kids donít like me?í scene, denying myself the chance to meet new exciting, Latin-speaking people. Julia also told me that the key to human interaction is to make people happy with your presence. She said she was gonna try passing her exams using that technique: bringing joy to her examiners and showing the required minimum amount of proficiency in the subject. Iím yet to ask her how that went for her. But one thing is true: a big full-hearted smile can be real contagious. Maybe Iíll try that tomorrow: bring happiness to people with my presence and my shiny maniacal smile! And they will, subsequently, love me.


- 4 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. PenguinA

    I do think a charming personality and good intention more important for a diploma – so the value of a sincere smile does exceed that of speaking Latin and telling sophisticated jokes. People will learn things from you and love you, because you are what they aren't!

    09 Feb 2006, 17:33

  2. You want to get on their level with some sharp comedy? Give them that routine you do about feminism. You know the one! They'll be eating out of your hand after that.

    Where is this by the way? I'm guessing not actually a school but a job, or maybe both. Maybe these suited high-flyers are your students. Kids today, etc. etc.

    Oh and if it helps: the only people who "joke" in Latin are dickheads. Yes, that's right: DICK HEADS. Tell them that. That will help.

    06 Mar 2006, 20:44

  3. Feminism isn't popular in Russia. The 'school' I go to is the Diplomatic Academy of the Foreign Ministry of Russia. Not sure they enjoy eccentrism or rudeness or anything simple and outrageous. They made me rename my dissertation because it sounded too 'dissident'!!!

    06 Mar 2006, 21:13

  4. Blimey!

    07 Mar 2006, 00:14


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