Evident Ignorance

I’ve said before, one of my favorite things in life is to learn new things. I learn new things for fun. I would totally take all my vacation days to learn new things.

When I first landed in Russia I was dying to explore this city and learn what there was to know.

One of the major things to know was the Russian language.

When I first got there, the easiest people to interact with were the clerks in shops. The clerks didn’t know English, and I didn’t know Russian.
I had my opening line:

Skolka Stoeet?- How much does this cost?”

The first time, the clerk gave up after numerous attempts to tell me who much it cost, and grabbed a piece of paper and pen and wrote it down.

Oh! First lesson in Russian conversation: always have a pen and paper to have the person write it down.

When it’s written, I can understand it. Or if I don’t, I can flip open my dictionary and the clerk will help me understand what is being said.

I would go back to the flat, triumphant with strange foods and items that I purchased at the store. After a time, I noticed my mom didn’t leave the house like I did.

Also, she was not learning Russian as fast as me.

“Mom! You should get out. How else are you supposed to learn?”

“I don’t like not being able to talk. I am used to being able to communicate easily, and I’m proud of the vocabulary I have in my native language. I don’t want to have to sound stupid.”

I understood what she said then, as the 19-year-old I was.

Now I understand it even better. Now I am close to the age my mother was when she said that.

I understand the desire to protect myself by making sure to present a tight surface of put-togetherness, of I-can-handle-this.

I’ve felt how people can be waiting to pounce on an admission of weakness and exploit ignorance to push me under and behind.

It’s easier to fake it here. I know the language back here in America. And I miss the blazing ignorance of my time in Russia.

Every single moment was an opportunity to learn something new. It was impossible not to.

In my life now, I know how to get ready for my day and proceed through it. I have already figured out the answers, and I am sure to get a solid A.

Which basically means my day is a treadmill. That wasn’t what I wanted. That’s not why I learned the answers.

Davno oozhe para-It’s high time to learn something new.

I need to get stupid again.

I want to put myself in situations where I don’t know, so I can experience the joy of learning. The only way to learn something new is to be completely ignorant about it before I learn it.

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