Sunday, December 8, 2013

Things I've Learned in St. Petersburg

        After my most recent trip to St. Petersburg, I feel like I need to share some of my experiences with Russia- both good and bad- and what I've taken away from my time there.

I visited St. P briefly in spring 2012 and was too lazy to write about it, then I spent New Year's Eve and the extended holiday season there and started this blog post but was too lazy to finish it, then I spent the better part of this past August there and was, again, too lazy to write about it...but now! Now that I am almost a month from embarking on my 8 month adventure study abroad trip and since I should be studying for my economics exam, it's the perfect time to finally write a blog post!

So I've put together a list of things I've learned in Russia so far to help me conceptualize my time there so far and get pumped for next semester!

Things I've Learned in Russia (so far)
1. You cannot customize fast food orders. Not even "add tomato" or "no onions" and all condiments cost extra. 

2. You cannot get a good American milkshake. (these two are probably the biggest problems I have with Russia, honestly it's much more difficult than you think) 
3. They have an entirely different scale for cold.

but yes, they have summer too!

4. You don't become friends with someone until you've spent a considerable amount of time together and built a deep trust- friendship is serious business. Until then, you're just an acquaintance.

5. Everyday is a holiday...or at least every day within a two week radius of a holiday.

6. Winter is more beautiful than I've ever seen it- and I didn't even see snow until I was in middle school, so I have an above average appreciation of winter to begin with.
St. Isaac's Cathedral

7. Privacy and personal space are not common themes.

8. Racism is real, prevalent, and almost instinctual for some. I've met people with a real belief that different races are biologically different to the point of inferiority.

9. Physical appearance is extremely important, but more for women than men. It's not uncommon to see a young-20s woman in high heels, mini skirt, and flawless makeup with a toddler and a fat, bald husband 3 inches shorter than her (also, I find the commonness of women taller than their husbands, especially in heels, really empowering!)

10. Despite the beautiful models all over the place, and the inability to PUT A TOMATO ON A SANDWICH WITHOUT HAVING TO CALL 2 MANAGERS, there are people in Russia so much like me. People who study, learn, work, wear jeans and don't know how to use eyeshadow, who love watching America's Next Top Model and smile at snowflakes...

In conclusion, there is still so much for me to learn about Russia, so much to explore, and so much to be absolutely thrilled about looking ahead to my next adventure! Also- I love answering questions, so if anyone is curious about Russia or anywhere else I've been, lay it on me))))

Samantha <3

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