MOSCOW, RUSSIAN FEDERATION – SOMEWHERE, UNDER A RED RAINBOW HAZE AND A DILAPIDATED DORMITORY, CIRCA 2011…
Scroll Down Below to Read My Translated Interview with Nemsky
His name was “Renat”, renowned as the older Russian guy that would always greet the study abroad students at the Grint program. He was a casual guy, friendly, and sociable. He helped myself and many other students get acquainted with the few students that lingered at the GRINT Language Center campus in the gypsy-filled Southeast corner of Выхино (Vykhino), Moscow.
Connected With Journalists
After some gift giving and exchanging and my endless questions, he began to mention an opportunity for foreigners to get on live TV for the world renowned (and highly disliked), Russia Today. And in exchange for a pair of sunglasses, he got me on the air. For some reason I had tons of sunglasses that year, and I gave them to my Russian friends as gifts when I studied abroad. He told me I’d be getting a call that Friday, and would get instructions.
Two hours before the interview, I recruited a dorm-mate and got him on board. Then I received a plethora of potential topics I may get asked about. I did some reading prior to the broadcast, and we had a blast. After the interview, we drank beers with Tom, the guy who interviewed us. After a “few” drinks with the Englishman, he began to tell us his thoughts about what it is like to work for RT, and his thoughts on departure. Respectfully, I won’t go into greater details, but it added to a great experience.
Local Television Interview in Velikii Novgorod
I served as US Representative and Editor for the Russian Union of Journalists following my college graduation in 2012.
While on my “business trip” to the Northernmost region of Russia, I sat on the Russian train alone, given only a ticket and directions that “I’d be picked up in Novgorod.” Mistakenly, I thought I was heading South of Moscow to Nizhny Novgorod, which I read much about and watched videos of prior to my trip to gain more understanding. The Russians on the train cars laughed and pointed at my ticket, “This train isn’t heading to Nizhny Novgorod…”
Indeed, it was heading North towards St. Petersburg, Russia, to Velikii Novgorod (Great Novgorod).
Connecting With Journalist Worldwide
This was an extraordinary experience, as we witnessed the celebration of Russia Day, and the local city’s own holiday in the same week. Firework celebrations crowded the night, and in a public square across the street from the City Administration (Government), a giant widescreen TV broadcasted the football matches between Russian and European teams.
A Leninist statue stood nearby – rusted and masked by the night’s shadows while police were dispersed to settle the rowdiness. I enjoyed some beer and cognac with two female journalists, which gave me a great understanding of the city and helped bridge my shoddy Russian and one of their’s English.
Hilariously, in my second trip to Moscow, I was there for a bit longer, but my Russian was still rusty. My interview this time was not aired on live TV (likely due to constant Russian grammar errors) but the experience in itself was incredible.
Great Times in Veliky Novgorod
The hospitality I met in the city was truly great. I became acquainted with the Chief Editor of the famous Russian newspaper, the “Young Communist” which currently is an opposition based newspaper. After getting acquainted along some Irish whisky, the Editor invited me to a Russian dinner inside of a boat, much resembling a pirate ship along the city’s river, which wrapped about the city Kremlin. Later on, we headed to a nigh club that was within the hull of a decommissioned ship, where we met many interesting people, drank absinthe, and smoked hookah with friends.
My Interview With Nemsky
The following is a rough translation, you can view the original article here.
Well, this is your muck herring under a fur coat. With American Trevor Stauffer we met in 2012 , the festival media “All Russia” in Veliky Novgorod. Long time could not remember his name. My head is spinning it «travel» ( Eng. : travel, wander ) , the ” tremor “. It turned out by chance – the young man had a thirst for adventure wonderfully combined with shyness . The buffet breakfast Trevor puts sugar in tea, stirs longly and … pushes aside . “I do not drink sweet”, sighing and blushing, he confesses.
And he starts to pick fork herring under a fur coat. A colleague of Cumene enthusiastically tells about the ingredients of the popular Russian salad. Out of politeness, he takes a small piece and chews carefully. So, probably, he would try some kind of pickled worms in Thailand. And here it is – is quite another – flushed with excitement, biting a ruddy loaf of Russian bread offered to him by a Russian beauty -with her braid down to the waist – a participant of one of the cultural programs of the festival …
Lost in Translation
To communicate with a foreigner was a childhood dream of mine. I remember a school tour in Crimea, there was once a motley crowd of English-speaking tourists in the hotel lobby. In Novgorod, everything is different. An American here is simple and accessible to all one hundred. Only it turned out that , in spite of the five English students enrolled in school, college, and institutes, it simply wasn’t spoken. And I understand it could be very mediocre at best. Well, at least Trevor expressed himself on passable Russian. Only sometimes to ask: “Speak slowly “.
Salutes and Fireworks
It also helped that my colleague , the editor of the local newspaper Kumenskoy Natasha Berezina , was a philologist by training. In the past, the director of a rural school, she , for lack of a foreign language teacher, once taught English and was able to build the standard dialogs. Well, you have to have some of a vocabulary . I remember trying to explain to Trevor that evening in the Novgorod Kremlin, that the city will salute, I was waving his arms and tried to portray the sounds of volleys.
Natasha simply called synonym – fireworks close in sound to English word of firework. However, there was my finest hour! Maintainer American translator of the Union of Journalists asked him : «You stay here?» Trevor did not hear, so I’m confident he duplicated in Russian: “He asks you to stay here? ”
The Rich have “Houses and Cars”
Trevor comes from Richmond, Virginia. Before traveling to Russia Trevor worked to save up for his travels: for three years he worked in restaurants, studied drawing , then music, selling musical instruments, and studied Russian.
“I was not rich, I lived in a small rented apartment, and one very drunk driver smashed my car.” he said. “Therefore, the situation without many things allowed me to live abroad. I learned the way of happiness is not through my car, house or electronic piano. And in the study of culture and new experience.” I think until I have a settled down to start a family, it is not a bad lesson …
So a not particularly rich American came to Russia , where he continued his study of the language at MSU. After his graduation from the Russian Union of Journalists he went for training in Novgorod. In the summer of 2012, when we met, he was 23. From Moscow he saw Veliky Novgorod, thereafter he visited Nizhny Novgorod, St. Petersburg, Kazan. Then, in the Ukraine, Moldova, Poland, Georgia. He now lives and teaches English in Shanghai, China.
“Our generation has the opportunity to decide where we live and work in the world. Who knows whether it will be in five years? This is not only our desire, but also the possibility to better understand our place in the world. Where I should be? I do not know, just believe what I’m doing now is not too bad. “
But that should not make Russian – is to try to feed puff festive salads Americans. They believe that such culinary delights have nothing to do with healthy food. And very suspicious to them are!