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Mar 30th 2009 12:00PM I'll abstain from the quiz, since I was a Russian major! But, as a Russian major, I've been asked so many times about how hard it must have been to learn the alphabet and how hard the language must be because it has a different alphabet. My response: The alphabet is the least of it; I think we spent a half hour learning it in class, then maybe another class learning how to write it in cursive. And that was it. The alphabet is really quite easy (as you allude to here).
To make the alphabet even easier, you should take off the accent marks that are on the various words you have in this post -- they're only there as guides for learners to know which syllable gets the accent. Russian doesn't use accent marks.
And, I always thought the д looked like the Greek "delta (d)" and л looked like the Greek "lambda (l)", so that could help people out, too. And з looks like the uppercase cursive Z in English.
The language itself (grammar, rules)? Very hard. Two verbal aspects on top of conjugations; three genders; six declensions; plurals that depend on whether a number ends in 1, 2 through 4, or 5 through 0; sentences with no verb...
Nov 13th 2008 12:32PM I've let the worries about forgetting things go by the wayside. I've made up a spreadsheet (nicely formatted, so it's printable) with categories of items to pack, along with checkboxes for all the items in a given category. Since we travel 10+ times per year, we were able to identify all the items we'd possibly need for various types of trips and include them on the list. So if it's summer, I just cross off things like gloves and scarves; or if it's a beach trip, I can cross off suit, tie and dress shoes.
It's divided into categories like Entertainment (phone, dvd, computer, respective chargers, headphones, books), Travel Documents (passport, itinerary, hotel/air/car reservations, etc.), Toiletries, Clothing, and Other (cash, foreign currency, travel pillow, etc.). I even have a checkbox reminding me to check weather.com to see if I'll need any special weather-related items (umbrella, raincoat, etc.).
I've done the same for our daughter, who has taken 6-8 big trips a year with us since she was 4 months old. Her spreadsheet has evolved more over time than ours (it used to have things like formula, bibs, etc., that are now off the list). It's particularly been a huge help in getting her packed up, because forgetting some of the baby-related stuff (diapers, pacifiers) could come with dire consequences!
Having the pre-made packing lists eliminates the stress. It can't take away the drudgery of packing, but we've never forgotten to pack a single thing in the 4 years we've been using the list!
Oct 23rd 2008 12:31PM Re: Bugaboos and travel:
Leave the Bugaboo at home. It's a nightmare to travel with. I bought the special travel bag made by Bugaboo in order to avoid the likelihood of mishandling or damage, and it makes it even more of a pain in the neck: You have to remove the wheels, break down the stroller, zip it up -- preferably before even getting on the jetbridge -- all while juggling your diaper bag, carry-on, carseat and child.
And, depending on the final destination, your Bugaboo made just be completely useless. Are you going somewhere where you'll be taking stairs (e.g. NYC subways)? Are you visiting family who, perhaps, might not be as adept at breaking down and reassembling the stroller for car trips (e.g. Grandma is watching the little one while you take a side trip)?
As someone suggested earlier in the comments, it's far easier to leave the big stroller at home and buy a cheap umbrella stroller at your destination ($15 for the cheapest, $40 for top-end). Leave it behind with family (if that's who you're visiting), leave it at the hotel for them to donate away, or bring it home if you fall in love with how easy it is compared to the Bugaboo (as we did with our $40 K-Mart stroller after our last trip to NYC).
Yes, buying a stroller at your destination is an added expense, but it's so worth it to avoid the complete and utter frustration of traveling with a Bugaboo.
Sep 12th 2008 6:04PM It was supposed to take the goats 2+ weeks to do the work, and they ended up chewing through all the stuff in about 4 days. They are moving out today, so any newcomers hoping to see them will be disappointed!
Aug 9th 2008 11:45AM I was presented this option before my flight the other day. The possibility of accelerated EQM (qualifying miles) was tempting, so I read through all the FAQs and terms and conditions. It said that these miles do NOT count towards elite status levels, so it truly is a ripoff.
Jul 14th 2008 4:00PM I have traveled a lot with my daughter (now 3) over the past few years, most often without my husband alongside to help. These tips are very spot-on.
Before I ever traveled with her solo, I thought through the entire travel experience -- from leaving our house, to the airport, to security, through the terminal, during the connecting flight, at baggage claim -- in my head to see how everything would work logistically. And because I did so, everything went perfectly. I had seen too many overloaded sherpa moms miserably traveling solo with kid(s) in the past to dare inflict that upon myself.
A few suggestions on things that have helped me/us immensely:
- Our airport (LAX) doesn't have valet parking for all terminals. But there is an off-site valet service minutes from the airport. You swing by to pick up the valet, then they take your car after you get to the terminal (and bring it back when you call upon return). This saves the nuisance and stress of loading luggage in and out of parking shuttles. And it only costs about $5/day more than self-park.
- We checked out the Sit n Stroll, but found it kind of flimsy, and friends had said it wasn't great as either a stroller or a carseat. So, we instead bought the GoGoBabyz Travelmate, which hooks onto our daughter's regular carseat and makes it work like a "wheely cart" stroller to get us through the airport (and it can buckle into the airplane seat to keep her snug). We get asked about it a half dozen times every trip while going through airports because it's just so easy.
- Rather than also haul a stroller on board for gate check (or checking it at risk of being broken), we just by a cheap ($15-20) stroller at our destination then leave it for friends (or the hotel) to use in the future.
Jul 12th 2008 2:18AM OpenSkies really sounds a lot like the PS service on United (which connects LA-JFK and SFO-JFK).
Having flown on PS last month in business, I have to say it was absolutely splendid and the only humane way to travel cross-country -- there was a real first class, a business class with enormous amounts of spacing between rows, and a very cozy economy plus cabin.
While most international flights offer the three cabins of service and a reminder of what flying *used* to be like, the smaller cabin size of the OpenSkies planes sounds really tempting and less stressful.
Unfortunately, being based in LA, we don't have OpenSkies flights from here to Europe yet. Will that distance be possible in the 757s, or is it too far?
Jun 11th 2008 7:08PM Amazingly, though, there has only been ONE single post on Gridskipper about the Hamptons in the past 7 days. I think they got the point.
Unfortunately, it may have been too late; there have only been a handful of comments on all the other articles during that same time period, so maybe too many people ran away before they got things closer to back-on-track.
Jun 4th 2008 5:20PM Totally go for it. Friends and I did a 72-hour "Lost in Translation"-inspired trip to Tokyo from LA (time elapsed from touchdown to takeoff) and really got a whirlwind, memorable experience. We did Tokyo DisneySea, karaoke at Shibuya, New Year's at the temple, subway exploring, food tourism, emperor's public greeting at the palace, etc. No reason you can't make the same happen in Shanghai. Enjoy!
Jun 2nd 2008 4:10PM I studied Russian for five years and love its language, history, and literature. I've been there four times and agree with this developed/developing assessment.
My fourth trip there was as a 30 year old with friends who has never been and who don't speak Russian. It was phenomenal how frustrating it was to explain away all the "minuses" about how Russia works: the xenophobia, the lack of adaptation to tourism givens (like dual language signage), price gouging, etc. They enjoyed themselves but I was immensely infuriated at how hard it would have been for them to be independent travelers there without the assistance of someone (me) who knew the language and how to get around. I basically swore off russia after that and haven't been back for six years. The "romantic" notion of the country's craziness that I was willing to put up with as a 20 year old was gone...