Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Learning Russian

Over the summer between my freshman and sophomore year at college, I continued reading books from the space history section of the local library.  One of the books that I found, was Deke!, the autobiography of D.K. Slayton, one of the Mercury 7 astronauts, who flew on the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project mission.  As part of the project, he had to learn to speak Russian, at 40-something years old.

Russian is a Slavic language, very different from English. Also, our brains are wired to learn languages when we're young.  It's still possible to learn new languages into adulthood, but adults tend to struggle more.  So, Deke wrote about his struggles to learn Russian.

I had always intended to study more languages than just Spanish.  Spanish was simply the first language I had access to.  Had I stayed at Mercy High School for four years, I was thinking of taking beginner French.  I wanted to learn German, Russian, Arabic...

Second Year fears

This was supposed to go out around 4/20.

There was a very surreal feeling to returning to Purdue for my second year.  Those who have followed my blog the past several months, since I started telling my story, will know that I ended up attending three different high schools.  Going to Purdue as a Freshman, was my fourth new school in five years.

With my first high school, Mercy, I had hoped to have four good years with my friends before we moved on.  I got two.  My junior year, at the public school, I had the possibility of a second year there.  I wasn't sure whether I wanted that or not, but it was possible.

Week of Space

I apologize, this was supposed to go out on 4/16, but it seems to be stuck "publishing" on my phone.

Last week was a good week for me, a lot of space events going on.  Saturday a week ago was Yuri's Night (observed) for the Huntsville area, with a huge party in the Davidson Center.  Yuri's Night officially is celebrated April 12 (4/12, get it?), in honor of the launch of Yuri Gagarin, first human in space, on April 12, 1961.  For anyone concerned about why Americans would want to celebrate that, April 12, 1981 was the date of the first Space Shuttle launch.  So it has become a World Space Party day.