“After two years studying in England I thought my Russian was fluent. Trying to talk to people in Yaroslavl I quickly realised I understood almost nothing. The teachers at the school got me speaking with more confidence, and I topped up my vocab by listening to Yulia Savicheva and Zemfira on my walkman as I wandered through the streets. I spent a lot of time wandering: at home Tamara Aleksandrovna, the formidable babushka whose spare room I slept in, fed me spaghetti with tangerines in warm milk, and once cut my bath towel into pieces”.
I wrote something for the media project Russia Beyond, as part of their series ‘How Russians changed my life’. Read my article here to learn who helped me to study Russian, why I once spent the night in the back of a police car, how I became an expert in what Russians drink, and where I once made a friend in a puppet theatre.