anna shamshurina
5 min readDec 7, 2021



Hello. First of all, I want to apologize for disappearing. November was an incredibly challenging month in many ways, and I’m not talking only about school teaching practice (there will be another entry about that). However, you can see now that I’m alive and kicking, though looking a little haggard (SPOTTED!), and I cannot wait to go back to work.

To be honest, I find catching up with Memrise work kind of difficult, overwhelming to the point that I try to shirk (SPOTTED!) from it any way possible. I’m afraid the vocabulary part of learning a language has never been my strongest unit, no matter the language. But be sure that I’m dogged (SPOTTED!) to do my best.

I actually like all those creative apps with pretty designs and cool names that help you learn new words or literally anything, the only problem is that I don’t think they are sufficient for me. What is it that helps me then? Well, I believe it is reading. Always has been. That is where I see a word and just can’t skip it unless I want to misunderstand some part of the plot. That is where I play ‘I Spy’ and get happy and boast about finally not having to look a word up. And finally, that is where I get a new vocabulary piece not only in its ‘natural habitat’ but also in its correct definition (not always though). Having and understanding a word in the right context is truly powerful because imagine how embarrassing it is to use a lexical unit just because it looks sophisticated and smart although it does not fit the sentence at all (not shaming anyone, I’m literally guilty myself, it’s really okay because that’s the learning process, I’m only saying that it is quite unpleasant). So, this is what helps me. I know that it doesn’t mean I have to give up on Memrise, not at all. And to be fair, I would never.

Now, this is a brief but actually sort of detailed description of what I did in November in order to maintain (the word ‘maintain’ here is not only in its direct definition, but also literally meaning my attempts to pick up new words that are interesting and useful for my actual speech — using it like that just because I can, this is my post. It is absolutely ironic to the point I’ve been trying to make but can I do it just this once, please?) vocabulary level. P.S again, I know we were supposed to post about it each week, and I sincerely apologize that I didn’t, but as I’ve heard from an English-Spanish teacher during our school practice: ‘Better late than never, though it’s better never be late’.

1. First up is reading: a. Just Mercy (a huge entry coming) and here are some of the vocabulary pieces I’ve picked up: Valiant — very brave or bravely determined, especially when things are difficult or the situation gives no cause for hope.

To dabble — to take a slight and not very serious interest in a subject, or try a particular activity for a short period

To ensue — to happen after something else, especially as a result of it

To plead no contest — a situation in which an accused accepts the conviction but avoids a factual admission of guilt

b. Fiction. Life of Pi (rereading this time in English): Seafaring — connected with traveling by sea

Indolence — the state of showing no real interest or effort

Dingy — dark and often also dirty (a dingy room, for instance)

To saunter (by) — to walk in a slow and relaxed way, often in no particular direction

2) Next, and I really truly hope I can explain this in a plain way: through other languages, in my case Spanish. I’m sure every language learner knows about interference in the process and, a fun fact, my head can’t stop coming up with Spanish equivalents while studying any other language exempting English, but when I’m studying Spanish it is easier to find the English counterparts of words rather than Russian ones. Here are the words I’ve picked up while studying Spanish (hey, it’s actually a double win because I know a word in both languages now!):

Haggard — looking ill or tired, often with dark skin under the eyes

To shirk — to avoid work, duties, or responsibilities, especially if they are difficult or unpleasant

To pit somebody/something against somebody/something — to cause one person, group, or thing to fight against or be in competition with another

3) And to finish the list: Memrise. Now, I already knew some of these ‘hard words for GRE’ that I’m about to present but again, as someone who sucks at vocabulary work, I want to include them so they’re always here with me. Besides, I just like them and want to make sure I memrise them.

To belie — to show something to be false, or to hide something such as an emotion

Penitent — showing that you are sorry for something you have done because you feel it was wrong

Austerity — the condition of living without unnecessary things and without comfort, with limited money or goods

Extraneous — not directly connected with or related to something

Rumination (just saw this word on the Internet today!!) — the act of thinking carefully and for a long period about something

Perspicacious — quick in noticing, understanding, or judging things accurately

Serendipity — the fact of finding interesting or valuable things by chance

Inimical — harmful or limiting

Well, the number of words is not so copious (SPOTTED!). I wish I had more but as the process of obtaining vocabulary is hard for me, I’ll have to make it do with what there is. However, I sleep well at night knowing that these particular words are definitely here to stay.

One last point. There is this new thing I’m trying: when I use a new word from Memrise, my Individual Reading book or literally anywhere, I write “SPOTTED!” next to it. This way, hopefully, I’ll get to explore my knowledge of these words and actually get to use them in my writing.

SPOTTED! Count: 4

Note to self: use more words and don’t forget to look up connotations.

Thank you,