Spring!

Rejoice! Winter is finally losing its grip on St. Petersburg, as seen in the last, lonely pieces of ice bobbing around in Griboyedova Canal, down the street from my apartment:

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In March, to escape from the winter, I took a mini vacation to the tropics (and desert, too) by visiting the local botanical garden for a few hours. It was so warm and humid…and very affordable, as far as tropical vacations go…

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CONCERTS

As part of Spring concert festivities, we presented opera scenes at the Small Hall of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic. I played the Snow Maiden, a fairytale creature with a frozen heart who wants to live with humans and discover what love truly means (…Little Mermaid, Russian style!).

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The concert halls of St. Petersburg are plentiful and gorgeous. Some pictures from another recital at the Vladimrsky Palace: 

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I have been so lucky to work with my teacher, Ms. Kondina, and get to know her amazing students! It is a very talented and supportive group of people. 

EASTER and REUNIONS!

April brought an impromptu Eastman reunion as two of my awesome college friends came to visit! Dana, Marielle and I went to the midnight Pascha (Easter) service on April 11th at the Nikolsky Cathedral. It was so crowded, so festive, and the deacons there have such LOUD voices! Having them yelling “Христос Воскресе” (“Christ is Risen”) in your ear definitely helped with staying awake in the late hours…

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My honorary Russian ladies: 

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Traditional Easter bread (Kulich) at 4am after the service! They were sold in most grocery stores a few weeks before Pascha: 

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TOURISM! 

Dana and I took the opportunity to do a lot of touristy things I have been putting off! We discovered that our two favorite activities were visiting palaces and eating (of course). Here are snippets of our adventures:

Boat tour!

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Savior on the Blood Cathedral, just as gorgeous on the inside as on the outside: 

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Peter and Paul Fortress and St. Isaac’s Cathedral: 

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Watching my favorite Prokofiev opera, “Betrothal in a Monastery” at the Mariinsky Theater, and Giselle at the Mihailovsky Theater: 

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Tsarskoye Selo (Tsar’s Village), Smolny Cathedral, Cathedral in the center of Pushkin: 

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Fanciness in the Tsarskoye Selo Palace: 

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To offset the fanciness of the palace, we had beer at Burger King. Keeping it classy: 

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The Eliseev Brothers shop is one of my favorite dessert places in St. Petersburg, with amazingly crafted marzipan and other goodies: 

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I had an incredible chocolate cake there, and decided to document it from the beginning all the way through to the sadness of it being over: 

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One of the most interesting dishes I had was beets with pear, parsley and tiny candied pine cones! Crazy: 

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Pirogi, of course: 

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REALIZATIONS

I do my grocery shopping at a little store across the street called Dixie (Дикси). For the longest time, I was taken aback at how certain meats and dairy products were still sold past the expiration date! But lo and behold, I finally realized that the date they stamp is the date PACKAGED (“сортировки”), not expired! It only took me 7 months:

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22nd April 2015 🙂 Fresh and delicious!

Another awesome thing about Russia: you can buy contact lenses from a vending machine at the mall! This seems to match with being able to buy antibiotics and basically any medicine you want over the counter at the pharmacies here…

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….that’s all, folks! See you next month!

cute