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[personal profile] topum
So the big meeting went very well. And yeah, it would have been a disaster if I had chosen to do it via VC, it was not working properly, the sound was off and nobody in that huge room really listened to those poor VC speakers (everyone's eyes just glazed over). Beating my laziness into submission and flying over was a good choice. I started my speech in very bad Russian, which I have been trying to pick up a little while based in Moldova (without much success I have to say, it is a crazy language). This did wake people up and tickled them on a couple of levels. Choosing to learn and speak Russian and not Romanian here, which often can be a political thing here these days was one of them. So people did wake up. I had to switch to English after the opening but I kept provoking in other ways and we had a very good conversation with everyone fully engaged (even a bit more than I would have wished for at times).

I am now waiting for a one-on-one meeting with the vice-minister and there are quite a lot of other people here doing the same. There is a guy who is working towards changing the way the system here works with people with mental and developmental issues. He had a bunch of articles by Jean Vanier, a Canadian Catholic philosopher and humanitarian with him and he gave me a couple. This is not something I had a high chance of picking up myself and what an interesting read it is.

This is from "Welcome in Community":

When a community welcomes people who have been on the margins of society, things usually go quite well to begin with. Then, for many reasons, these people start to become marginal to the community as well. They provoke crises which can be very painful for the community and cause it considerable confusion because it feels so powerless. The community is then caught in a trap from which it may be hard to escape. But if the crises bring it to a sense of its own poverty, they can also be a grace. There is something prophetic in people who seem marginal and difficult; they force the community to become alert, because what they are demanding is authenticity. Too many communities are founded on dreams and fine words; there is so much talk about love, truth, and peace. Marginal people are demanding. Their cries are cries of truth because they sense the emptiness of many of our words; they can see the gap between what we say and how we live. If the community reacts by showing them the door, this can create a terrible uproar, and then it is easy to label them unbearable, sick, lazy, and good for nothing. It has to devalue them as far as it can, because they have shown up its hypocrisy.

Date: 2016-12-28 02:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] asher63.livejournal.com
The article on special needs people is great.

Speaking a second language to a group must be very challenging, kudos to you for going through with it.

What are the connotations of speaking Russian vs. Romanian in Moldova?

Date: 2016-12-28 02:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] topum.livejournal.com
I didn't do the whole speech in Russian, just a little bit in the beginning, my Russian is still pretty basic and I cannot sustain the conversation I wanted to have there in Russian. But English is not my native either of course, so I still did speak to a group in a second language ).

Russian vs Romanian in Moldova can stir up all the things about the legacy of the USSR when the Russians were dominant here and Romanian was pushed mostly into the villages, the situation with Russian involvement in Transnistrian problems and war, and the current split in the country between going West (Romania and the EU) and going East (closer ties with Russia), etc.

Date: 2016-12-28 05:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lifeinroseland.livejournal.com
I always do wake up when our mayors start speaking Spanish. Lol!

Date: 2016-12-28 11:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] topum.livejournal.com
I would imagine you would even jump in your seat if he started speaking Russian like I did ).

Date: 2016-12-28 06:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] maadmike.livejournal.com
" I started my speech in very bad Russian, which I have been trying to pick up a little while based in Moldova (without much success I have to say, it is a crazy language). "

If I can somehow help you to study Russian language I am at your service...

Date: 2016-12-28 10:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] topum.livejournal.com
Thank you, it is very kind of you. I have quite a lot of native speakers around me but I might shoot you a question sometime in the future. Thank you.

Date: 2016-12-28 06:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] maadmike.livejournal.com
"Marginal people are demanding. Their cries are cries of truth because they sense the emptiness of many of our words; "

I heard that the economic situation in Moldova is more than worse now thanks to their corrupted authorities which had been stolen money for years playing the same cards as recently has been played in Ukraine - they promised people that they will be in EU soon enough, took the EU credits and stole them all leaving people just debts... Russian TV has been showing the Moldovan people on the streets demanding the stop of borrowing the EU money...

Date: 2016-12-28 11:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] topum.livejournal.com
I did not connect this text with Moldova in my mind.

The economy in Moldova has been abysmal forever and the stolen billion has not impacted the daily lives of the people here yet, this is still to come.

I do not think that the situation in Moldova is similar to Ukraine in that respect (EU membership, etc). Moldovans would not care about the promises of the EU membership, most of them are already EU citizens and have been for a while. Most Moldovans who are ethnic Romanians can easily get Romanian passports and most of them did (Romania is a full EU member). Close to a third of them live and work in the EU nowadays I was told (and they can do it legally as EU citizens on their Romanian passports). Many kids who left with their parents when they were very young come back for holidays to visit their grandparents and they often switch to Italian between themselves (because it is becoming easier for them than Romanian). So, very few Moldovans would care about Moldova joining the EU, they already have EU passports. And in addition to that they can also get Russian passports (for those who were born in the USSR), which is often the choice of ethnic Russians (but also some ethnic Romanians) living here. With those Russian passports people leave to work in Russia. So most of Moldovans already are either EU or Russian citizens and sometimes both and promising EU membership for Moldova to them is not something they would view as a big thing.

Date: 2016-12-29 07:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] maadmike.livejournal.com
"So most of Moldovans already are either EU or Russian citizens and sometimes both and promising EU membership for Moldova to them is not something they would view as a big thing."

Oh, it is interesting! I think every Russian would like to have two passports when our country is in the middle of sanctions turmoil and our governments couldn't agree about some more simple way of getting EU visas for so long...

I have known some Moldovan people in my city which had been immigrated decade ago, long ago assimilated into the Russian families and now are happy wifes and husbands but they had never told me it was possible for them to get to the EU, things have changed... Do you believe some parts of Ukraine will become the parts of EU in a near perspective?

Date: 2016-12-29 01:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] topum.livejournal.com
I also have two passports, one EU and one non-EU. I am both Danish (my father), which is part of the EU and Norwegian (my mother), which is not part of the EU.

Moldovans do not need visas to Western Europe anymore even on their Moldovan passports.

I do not believe that Ukraine (let alone parts of it) will be able to join the EU in the near future. I know that the president of Ukraine set the target of 2020 for the country's EU application but I just do not see it happening at all and I think it would be extremely naive to hope for EU membership for Ukraine in the near future. The maximum I can see happening is visa-free travel but even that is not going to be that easy at the moment.

Date: 2016-12-29 03:37 am (UTC)
darkoshi: (mohawk daisy)
From: [personal profile] darkoshi
I looked up how to say "hello" in Russian yesterday (after realizing that "Privet" must mean hello too, as opposed to "private")... Здравствуйте ... Zdravstvuyte... and after trying to pronounce it a few times, I thought to myself that wow, if even a simple hello is such a tongue-twister, that must be quite a hard language to learn.

Date: 2016-12-29 01:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] topum.livejournal.com
And this is before you even started on the grammar, which is insane. It seems that something actually working by the rule there is an exception and exceptions are the rule (so many of them).

When it comes to pronunciation I am probably not the one to complain and we certainly had our revenge on people here when we made rødgrød med fløde here and made people say it (which is an old joke but it never gets old for us):

Danish is supposed to be one of the most difficult languages in terms of pronunciation, there is even a theory that we ourselves do not understand it but everyone is just afraid to admit it and it somehow works for everyone:

Date: 2016-12-29 09:28 pm (UTC)
darkoshi: (mohawk daisy)
From: [personal profile] darkoshi
"rødgrød med fløde" doesn't seem difficult to me - I grew up speaking both English and German, and it is similar to the German "Rote Grütze". The "fløde" sounds sort of French though, with the different vowel and the 'd' being silent. I studied a very little bit of Norwegian too, so some words in the 2nd video like "ikke" and "tusen" are familiar.

I've always been glad I didn't have to learn English as a foreign language, because of how inconsistent its vowels are.

Date: 2016-12-29 09:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] topum.livejournal.com
Yeah many foreigners think that it is not difficult for them but I can almost guarantee you that you are saying it wrong even if it feels to you that you are doing OK, that's the catch with it ).

Norwegian is much better pronunciation wise.

I had to learn English as a foreign language but I feel that its vowels inconsistency has nothing on the Russian noun cases and their grammar in general.

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