Ok life, go and mess up my perfect plans. If anyone's wondering why I'm up after 4 am, that would be the reason. Let me preface:

After much debate and agony I had at last settled on a plan for the next 1-2 years of my life. I was (assuming that I got accepted) going to go to California and learn to be a translator/interpreter. I would finally conquer Russian and live happily ever after. End of story.

I've spent the last week scrambling around getting transcripts sent, arranging recommendations, and filling out applications, only to be hit with last-minute doubts. As it turns out, these doubts were not unfounded. I was under the impression that the Monterey Language Institute, being an affiliate of what is in my opinion the best undergraduate language school, would have upper-level Russian as a component of the translation/interpretation program. Wrong. You're supposed to go into the program already having native or near-native fluency in your target language, and the program isn't designed to necessarily improve your language skills. Tough break! Can't someone just lock me away in the Defense Language Institute for a year and then set me free without having to join the military?

I know that a lot of people would argue with me and say that my language level is high enough already, and perhaps (ok, undoubtedly) I'm overcritical of myself when it comes to my Russian, but the truth is that I'm not quite ready to jump into translating without any support. I'd need at least another year or two in country focusing on the language before I could do something like that. I'm pretty good at Russian, and I certainly know enough to get by and talk to people (and even read Anna Karenina), but if someone were to throw me into the middle of a political debate or hand me a legal document I'd probably be a pretty lousy translator. 

So...new plan.

This summer has already been dedicated to travel with Kendra. It's unfortunate that gas prices are rising steadily right as I'm planning to drive up the West Coast and up to Alaska (and back..but through the more boring states), but so it goes. I expect that in the long run prices will just continue to rise, and this may be one of the only times that I'm in a position to take such an extended joy ride.

However, when I'm not doing that I need to apply more seriously to grad schools. I let myself take it easy while I was in Russia because I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do, but I'm starting to have some idea now. It's too late to make it into the fall semester anywhere, but there's still some hope for the spring. A lot of the programs that I'd be interested in don't allow you to start in the spring though, so I may have to delay things until next year. I don't really like that idea, but it's my own fault. I guess I mostly just don't like the idea of being 2 years older than everyone else (I'd be 24 by the time I started! Practically senile!). It would also really feel like taking a step backwards...but, if the program was good and the school was somewhere that I really wanted to go, then it would be better to wait a few more months and start late than to dedicate multiple years to a program that I was only half-heartedly enthusiastic about.

If I had to wait a year though, then what would I do with my time? I can't allow myself to simply stay home on the couch and wait it out. My main goal in life at the moment is to get my Russian to an incredibly high level, so the logical answer would be to go back to Russia. But....since I've just spent a year in Russia and need a little time to recuperate, I think maybe just half a year in Russia would do it. This part of the plan is still fuzzy, but what I would probably do would be to find a study abroad program for the spring semester and just take as many Russian classes as possible and do an internship and anything else that I can as a sort of last hurrah for Russian so that I can спокойно move on to another subject. Believe it or not I do have other interests besides Russian..I'm just incredible one-tracked and a perfectionist sometimes, and I won't be happy until I can convince myself that I'm fluent in Russian.

Until that point...well, I'm not sure. I guess that I have a lot of things that I'd like to improve. I have a lot of books that I want to read, a lot of American food that I want to eat, I wouldn't mind finding a community orchestra to join or taking violin lessons, and perhaps there'd be the possibility of some light translating work. I also wouldn't mind starting another language. Maybe I'd even dabble in a "real job." Or, most likely, at the last minute I'd find something interesting to do and run away to another state or country for a while.

Sigh. I did like my old plan though.

Oh well. In other news I read Lolita the other day. I've been avoiding this book for a while because I thought that it was going to be pretty disturbing. It was, but only for the first 10 chapters or so. For being a book about a pedophile, I actually liked it quite a bit. Nabokov can get rather wordy, and sometimes it was obnoxious, but overall the style worked for him. The plot was also more complex than I had expected. I guess that there's a reason that Lolita always shows up on the "Most Important Books" lists. I did end up having a dream about going on a long road trip with an older man after finishing, but luckily I was not 12, and neither of us tried to seduce the other.

Next up on my list of books to read are: Peeling the Onion (Gunter Grass) and A Farewell to Arms (Ernest Hemmingway). A library that I've recently started going to is now providing for all of my classic literature needs.


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Good news: no more required disclaimer!
Bad news: I'm really lazy about posting when I'm not in Russia