Season's greetings |
It’s hard to believe that four months have passed since my arrival here in Russia late last summer. I can truly say that the time has flown. It seems like just yesterday I was wearing summer dresses and sandals, while this morning I was bundled up in a shuba and mittens!
I had a very productive Fall, with many opportunities to meet many of you, my new Russian colleagues. The Umbrella Conference in Orlyonok was a great chance for me to see you in action: talking, comparing notes, brain storming and most importantly of all, planning for future collaboration. I have been consistently impressed by Russian teachers’ commitment to their field, and by the grass-roots methods used to solve common problems. Your students are very lucky to have such dedicated teachers.
My regional trips throughout Russia have been fascinating. Within one week I was in both Vladivostok and Kaliningrad, literally going from the Far East to the Western-most Russian outpost. Additionally, I have been able to visit Arkhangelsk, St. Petersburg and Ivanovo—all cities with a unique flavor and culture. I have been lucky to be given the chance to learn so much about this country in a relatively short period of time.
In addition to my travel, we’ve had some other successes to celebrate in 2012, mostly recently the release of the new English language learning video game, Trace Effects, and the new-and-improved portal for language teachers and learners, American English. Both the game and the portal can be accessed at AmericanEnglish.state.gov.
So, this brings me to my main goal: to wish all you of a very happy New Year! I’m sure 2013, the year of the snake, which just happens to be my symbol in the Chinese astrological calendar, will be a good one for all of us. I already have so much to look forward to: the NATE conference in Surgut, for one, in addition to my travels to areas in Russia I have yet to explore. Enjoy the festive holiday season here in Russia! I look forward to seeing old friends and making new ones in the coming year.