Humility sometimes tastes like asphalt

and snow.

That was my first thought when I wiped out, banana peel-style, in front of the Hermitage. Actually, my first thought was: “did anyone see that?”

That’s always my first thought when I do something humiliating.

Yes. The answer is always yes.

It’s cold here, really cold. Cold like my heart, except a hundred or so degrees colder. I now understand why my pal Robby grew out his beard when he was in Saint-Petersburg:

I’m living in downtown Saint-Petersburg, right next to the Moyka river and near the famous Nevsky Prospect. The Hermitage is two blocks away and free to students; it’s amazing. But I’ll write about that later. I’m taking intensive Russian classes at the Saint-Petersburg University Department of Philology (ha!) for four hours every morning, and despite being here only a week so far, two days of which I slept, and two days of which I was really sick, I feel I am picking up a lot of Russian.

Things move slower in Saint-Petersburg. I go to bed around 10 pm or so, and I wake up at 6 am. I eat meals slowly. It’s a welcome change of pace.

I am still learning my way around. It’s a huge city, and I’m having trouble finding a place to buy Q-tips. I’m concerned that Russians don’t use Q-tips, and that I’ll have to conserve my small supply for the next semester. I never feel clean until I step of out the shower and use a Q-tip.

I’m living with Violetta’s mother and grandmother. Their house rocks, it is covered in flowers and pictures of Violetta. Her mom is hilarious. Every meal is a lesson on Russian history, why Russia is screwed, and why Putin is a murdering psychopath. If the KGB doesn’t murder us both, I’ll come out of here with a interesting grasp of Russian politics.

She also lives to feed me. Seriously. Every time I think dinner or whatever is over, and I couldn’t eat another bite, she brings out the main course. She is also nuts about her three cats, Mysya, Vasya, and Pysya. I’d put up a picture of her and her cats, but I can’t find the cord for my camera. I’ll have to hold off until I get a new one.

Pysya hates me.

2 replies »

  1. i really liked this post. the cats’ (cats’s?) names made me smile. aren’t you a fellow nabokov lover? i imagine russia as a treasure trove of nabokov-related delights. obviously, i’m delusional.


  2. Heck yes I’m a fellow Nabokov lover. I don’t know about Nabokov’s treasures, but I am looking for Raskolnikov’s staircase, and the bridge where Akaki Akakievich lost his overcoat (Obukhoff bridge)!


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