Learning Russian in the Largest Shopping Center in Europe
When you walk into Aviapark supermall on Hodynskiy the chances of you finding your way out are 1 in 17 million. With over 500 stores and an area of 230,000 square meters, you could stuff the entire Moscow Zoo, Luzhniki soccer field, and GUM skating rink, through its doors and still have enough room left over for a киоск мороженое (kiosk morozshenoe). So what does one do with all that space and a Saturday afternoon free? Follow me on my latest adventure mastering the Russian language in the largest shopping center in Europe.
I arrive at Aviapark’s massive front entrance glad to get out of the cold. My pocket dictionary says обморожение (obmorozshene) means frostbite. I should really buy a hat. The first thing I notice when I get inside is the four-story tall аквариум (akvarium), looming above me. I walk around it and bump into a woman who offers me a taste of борщ (borscht). “Спасибо большое (spassiba bolshoy),” I say. The mall is bustling with люди (ludi). Everyone is wearing a hat. I walk into a store and an employee greets me, saying, “я могу вам помочь (ya mogo vam pomoch)? (Can I help you?)” “Нет. Я просто ищу (nyet. ya prosta ishu)(No thank you, I’m just looking),” I say. He smiles and turns away. I walk over to the мужская одежда (mozshkoy odezshda) section and finger my way through the racks of clothes. No hats. I could always use a new pair of носки (noski) to keep my feet warm, or брюки (bruki) for my legs, and then naturally I would need a пояс (pois) to keep my trousers up. Then my stomach starts growling, and I’m lured from the store into a café. My mission before I leave the mall today: find myself a hat.
Two hours have passed. I’m drinking чай зеленый (chai zelenie), and surfing the web on my laptop. The Aviapark website is as nice as the mall itself, and even more helpful to practice Russian. I’m currently on the “shops” panel, and with one click I can switch everything from English to Russian and back again. Check it out:
The website is a great place to learn new words. It’s as though it was designed with language learners in mind.—I take another sip of my tea and close my laptop. I’ve been sitting here long enough, and really should keep looking for a hat. I up from my seat and tip the waitress. Rachmaninoff plays over the loudspeakers. I’m amazed by everything this mall has to offer. There are hair solons, game centers, dance studios, gyms, banks, department stores, an ice rink, and to top it off, a 17 screen megaplex on the fourth floor. I think I’ll catch a movie.
Long movie. It’s getting late, and I still haven’t found a hat. I walk into one last store and ask an employee, “вы продаете шляпы? (vui prodaete schlepui?) (Do you sell hats?)” He replies, “да, здесь (da, zdeyss) (Yes, over here.)” He leads me to a big rack of hats. Now if only I knew which to choose. There are hats made of шерсть (shest), and hats made of хлопок (klapok) or мех (mekh). I buy an ушанка из овчины (ushanka iz ovchini), for 1000 rubles and leave the store. I imagine it’s late. I should really be getting home. But what’s that ahead? Ah, a киоск мороженое (kiosk morozshenoe). I can’t resist. I treat myself to a vanilla стаканчик (stakanchik) for having achieved my goal of finding a hat. Then I walk out of the mall into the freezing air, still licking my ice cream, and catch the last seat of the last shuttle in the last hour of the day back to Dynamo metro station. Goodnight!
киоск мороженое (kiosk morozshenoe): ice cream stand
обморожение (obmorozshene): frostbite
аквариум (akvarium): aquarium
борщ (borscht): borscht
Спасибо большое (spassiba bolshoy): many thanks
люди (ludi): people
я могу вам помочь (ya mogo vam pomoch?): Can I help you?
Нет. Я просто ищу (nyet. ya prosta ishu): No thanks, I’m just looking
мужская одежда (mozshkoy odezshda): men’s clothing
носки (noski): socks
брюки (bruki): pants
пояс (pois): belt
чай зеленый (chai zelenie): green tea
вы продаете шляпы? (vui prodaete schlepui?): Do you sell hats?
да, здесь (da, zdeyss): yes, right here
шерсть (shest): wool
хлопок (klapok): cotton
мех (mekh): fur
ушанка из овчины (ushanka iz ovchini): sheepskin ushanka
стаканчик (stakanchik): stakanshik (type of Russian ice cream in wafer cup)
Be sure to check out Aviapark when you’re in Moscow
Best of luck with your Russian. пока.
This post was brought to you by Andrew, currently studying Russian at Liden & Denz