I have been living in St. Petersburg for almost two months and am still caught up in the whirlwind of the city and culture. Whenever I leave my apartment in the morning either for class or to meet up with friends I have no idea where I’ll end up that day, and I love it. My life in the past month:

-“Go to the gym. Take vitamins. Make yourself go to a café or grocery store, just go somewhere where there is light. You will feel depressed but you can fight it!” This is the advice I have given to survive Russia’s most dreariest month: November. In November it is cold, and will snow but the snow will not stick so rather than the picturesque image of Petersburg covered in snow, you instead find yourself wading through dirty puddles. Also they day shortens to the extent that it will be dark when I leave for class (around 10am) and dark when I come back (around 5 am). While the days have shorten to that extent yet, whenever I wake up around 7 it looks as if it is midnight. I’m not too worried though, I have already made a playlist to combat the inevitable depression (complete with the Beatles “Here comes the Sun” and Matt & Kim’s “Daylight”). The real challenge will be getting myself to get out of my warm (very, very, very warm) room and be social and explore.

-St. Petersburg is home to it’s fair share of Beatles fans. There is a an art gallery/care/bar in St. Pete’s called Pushkinskaya 10. At Puskinskaya you will find a giant yellow submarine painted on an wall on which fans have written messages to the Beatles, along with their favorite lyrics. There was even a party at a nearby bar celebrating John Lennon’s birthday where a bunch of bands played Beatles songs. Despite the fact that none of the Beatles most well known hits were played the crowd was so excited and joyful during the concert that it didn’t matter whether or not you knew the lyrics, the energy just rubbed off on you.

– Vyborg
This past weekend a few Russian friends invited a group of friends and myself to Vyborg, a Russian town not far from the Finnish border where there is an old Swedish castle. The train ride there was relatively uneventful, aside from the vendors walking down the aisles selling everything from beer to snowglobes and other trinkets. When we arrived it was cold and drizzly, and thus went to a café/convenience store to wait out the weather and eat. After stopping for lunch (sandwiches, homemade pickles, salo (pig fat), bread), and making many, many toasts we noticed the rain had lessened and decided to make our way through the town. We visited the Swedish Castle, and stopped at a café before catching the next train home. On the train ride back, our Russian friends made their best efforts to teach us some Russian songs. After many attempts and some success, they asked us to return to favor, which ended with two of my friends singing “Back in the USSR” by The Beatles, to the amusement of the few other people on the train.

While the fact that I have lived in Petersburg for almost two months and have not frequented all of the cities landmarks and sites I am finding that being with people is just as valuable and worth while as going to a museum.

Vyborg, RussiaPushkinskaya 10


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