okay, so st. petersburg was over a week or so ago- and day two was awesome, but its hard to remember alot of it. luckily… i wrote it down! however, here ill just give a quick overview, since im upstairs and my book is down!
so day two included an awesome breakfast at the hotel with jenn, meeting up with mac caille, then heading to St. Isaacs cathedral, where we climbed to the top for a birds eye view of st. petersburg. it was absolutely beautiful! we spent a fair amount of time up there taking pictures but it was so cold that we had to leave after a little bit. next, we visited the church of spilled blood, which i kind of compare to st basils in moscow. its really bright and colorful, and the inside was amazing. next was shopping- i got some pretty great souvenirs :) it was so awesome but poor jenn and mac caille froze so they went off to a cafe while i continued to buy more stuff of course. mama taught me well!! :) then we headed to the monument of the defenders of leningrad, which is i think one of the most beautiful and moving monuments i have ever seen. its a huge circular area, with fairly high walls and two cut outs for you to look into and walk in the middle of. in the center is a statue and on the walls are various sayings and tributes. also on the wall are lanterns with fire, while in the background very somber music is playing. next to it is a tiny museum that had uniforms, flags, postcards, pictures, posters and even a huge map. after this, though we had hours and hours, we decided to head to the train station. while waiting for the train, (which we got there WAY ahead of time just so another fiasco like on the way there didnt occur) jenn and i went to a nearby mall just to meander. and it was here we got hot fudge sundaes at mcdonalds, which were DELICIOUS. and the mall was cool too- it was about 5 floors and circular, so it was really easy to follow. luckily, there were no issues this time on the train, and we arrived at around 6? am. so mac caille and i decided to get dressed and go food shopping. we got there at 730, bc it was open 24 hours a day. right? wrong. didnt open til 830. there is a picture of me somewhere passed out on a bench we were that tired. woops.
now onto tver…. less than a week later i left for a 3-5 ish hour trek north to a tiny little town named tver. this place was pretty much opposite of moscow. the people were much more friendly and the town had a very slow pace unlike moscow which is always bustling with activity. the reason i went to tver with 3 other interns was to study russian for 6 days straight, with a private tutor for 4 hours a day. in addition, we were to stay at a russian home. my host mom, galina, was an absolute sweetheart, and its safe to say that i gained about 10 pounds last week. not only did i eat a ton of food, but the food i tried scares me a little haha. most of it was very good, but its definitely not stuff i typically eat, lets put it that way. examples include radishes… cabbage patties…. peppers… and this chicken that comes from a factory in tver, that she was weirdly proud of. i also think i ate my weight in sour cream. no, scratch that. i did. i definitely did eat my body weight in sour cream.
so for breakfast… i always had green tea, orange juice and some kind of omelette. some days was bacon, some chicken/peppers. in addition, i had kasha (with her homemade berry jam or apple filling, and the fruit came from her dacha!), and bread and butter and cheese, and приятники, this awesome russian cookie that is soft- and she bought chocolate ones for me. later in the week, after we had a discussion about tvorog (if thats how you spell it, doesnt matter to me its gross!! lol) and чудо yogurt, i was talking about how i love the yogurt… she began to buy that for breakfast too.
for a snack, she gave me a yogurt and/or various pieces of fruit, including bananas (which i shared of course ;) ) apples and pears…
for lunch, i always ate out with the other interns- we went to a cafe, usually the one called soft, where they had something called шоколоднице гляссе, (spelling may be off) which was essentially russian hot chocolate with a scoop of ice cream. basically, its like when my mom and i have ice cream with our hot fudge. haha. we went to a few other places as well, but usually ended up at this cafe to do hw- this was the only place we had access to wifi all week. that was definitely rough.
after this, around 6, we would head back to our home stays to chat with our host moms. all four of us ended up with just one person each. dinners were just as large and filling as breakfast… and my favorite night, i have to say, was the night i helped make dinner. i bought vodka sauce from the commissary :) best idea ever. added some basil, garlic and onions to add more flavor and it tasted just like it does when i make it in the states! she loved it too… also loved the pb i brought- she was eating it with a spoon. and the jelly… and she was quite impressed with the barilla pasta. other nights included кутлеты, which is ground up chicken made into cutlets, lots of different kinds of salad, of course always bread, butter and cheese…. oh yea, and for dessert was different kinds of candy, cookies and of course blini in addition to more tea.
other things i saw while in tver… including souvenir shops :) was the volga! finally! and never ending amount of snow- i mean piles 12 feet high… i also saw all of tver, on a little tour i gave myself because i got lost for almost 2 hours, we saw the museum of tver which had a great section on wwii, astronauts as well as a bunch of stuffed animal exhibits showing what animals are typically found around the town… we also saw the university, where we were surprised to learn while we were walking into a classroom that people thought we were diplomats and would be sharing our life with russian students. well that turned into a q and a for us and them about russian/american life, stereotypes, etc, which was very cool. we also made some friends that day- so that was great! we later went bowling, to cafes, and out two of the nights with them. it was great because we were able to practice our russian with them.
overall, it was a great week- nice break to working! luckily, our ride back was fairly easy and we all slept a lot. it was a long, and mentally exhausting week but totally worth it.