49 Voices: Taylor Holman Of Unalaska

May 1, 2017

Taylor Holman stands outside Unalaska's Russian Orthodox church, the Holy Ascension Cathedral.
Credit Laura Kraegel/KUCB

This week on 49 Voices, we're hearing from Taylor Holman in Unalaska.

Holman is a high school senior, and she won first place in the statewide Russian language competition this year.

TRANSCRIPT: I first started taking Russian freshman year, actually, because I had cross country after school and I didn't want to do P.E. and cross country. So I switched into Russian and that's where it all started, I guess.

It seemed like a really cool language. It's pretty practical when you're living here in Alaska, so I just thought it was a good choice.

Learning a whole new alphabet was difficult at first, but my first year in Russian, it only took two or three weeks to really go through all the letters and learn their sounds. Now, it's pretty natural to read it. You read it in script and also in print. Script is more like cursive, and print is what they type in.

Well, one phrase that I remember coming in handy just recently — I was at the Russian competition, and they ask you to tell about yourself. So I told about myself, and then they asked me what my dream was. I didn't remember specifically how to say "dream," but I remembered this thing … "This is my dream" is "Ehto moya mechta." I felt really lucky that I was able to remember that from freshman year, and that was just one of the phrases that stuck with me for some reason.

I am the outreach coordinator for the Unalaska visitors center. What happens with that is we meet passengers that come off the ferries and cruise ships. One time, there were these people that came off the cruise ship, and they were speaking in Russian. I was able to tell them that we have maps and that I'm able to provide them with any directions they would need. In situations like that, being able to use it in little phrases and stuff, just to get by.

Menya zovut Taylor Holman. Ya zhivu v Unal'yaske. My name is Taylor Holman, and I live in Unalaska.