Basically I have found this year that what I have really enjoyed has been Russia/former Soviet Union related and that I have been trying to relate everything to Russia. Also I am currently taking seven Russian classes and teaching my real classes the like the electives that don't count. I can't really say why but Russian is really important to me. By that I mean both the study of the country (and those of the former Soviet Union, whooo Kazakhstan! Happy New Year to all of my Kazakh readers!) and the language. I really want to speak Russian well in a way that is hard to explain, I get into French when I am speaking it, German I often forget isn't English or that English isn't German depending how confused I am (not a good thing), and Kazakh is sort of a novelty. I am not sure if it is an ethnic/heritage thing, in the states people usually consider me Irish because of my reddish hair, but I can't identify with it much and have never had a connection to Ireland or to Irish culture. I am half Italian, but that is something no one believes. I am part Ukrainian and that is something people can see and that I am proud of. I like it when people tell me I look Russian/Slavic and am likewise proud that I actually speak a Slavic language (one of my proudest moment was perhaps when my native Russian Russian speaker was shocked when I told her I didn't speak Russian at home). So maybe that is why I want to speak Russian well. I just feel like if I don't take a year now and really get good at Russian I never will. I just don't know when I would have the opportunity to do something like that again (seems fairly difficult when you are already working).
So I think I will be applying to Middlebury's masters in Russian program (in Moscow). I like Moscow, though I consider myself more of a St. Petersburg person perhaps because of love the old imperial days, but this is the only American degree program in Russia. It would have me writing a 60 page thesis in Russian and working hard for over a year. At the end I think I would either be sick of Russian or have taken things to a whole new level.