White Nights

SUNLIGHT

Now that the wonderful month of June has arrived, we are being reimbursed for all the months of winter darkness! St. Petersburg has very short nights from May to July thanks to its northern location…this wonderful phenomenon is known as “Белые Ночи”, or White Nights. It only truly gets dark around 11pm, and before you know it the sun is back up at 3:30am! As a notoriously annoying morning person, I love it…

MAY

The month of May was family time for me! My mom came to visit, and we went to see relatives both in Rostov on the Don and in Moscow. Rostov is a port city about 1000 kilometers south of Moscow (look at me, using the metric system like a real European):

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I loved seeing this old merchant’s home turned swimming pool:

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While strolling along the banks of the Don River, we came across this inscription from the metalworks company of the Pastukhov family, my ancestors on my mother’s side!

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Moscow was huge and bustling as usual, with endless traffic jams and people always in a hurry! St. Petersburg feels small in comparison. My family took us on a tour dedicated to the famous Russian poet Sergei Yesenin:

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Mama and I practiced the fine art of the selfie throughout our trip:

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We took a day trip to the Savvino-Storozhevsky Monastery, established in 1407: IMG_2171  IMG_2173

Russians love their tea, and family time usually looks something like this:

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LONG DISTANCE

Please excuse a quick moment of self-congratulation as I applaud myself and my wonderful boyfriend Steve on successfully navigating 9 months of long-distance! This relationship is brought to you by skype, viber and occasionally snail-mail (it takes a month for a letter to arrive).

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The sign above reads “Поцелуев Мост”, the Kissing Bridge. I have been told that it is where members of the navy said goodbye to their loved ones before shipping off on duty.

MUSIC

As you all know, the purpose of my time here is to study music. I take this very seriously, and hereby bring you this installment of The Best Pop Music I Have Heard Here In Russia:

This song is called “You are so handsome with a beard” and features sage advice in the rap lyrics such as “I should party less, go to museums more” and “A man should be able to put together an Ikea table”.

I was at a cafe listening to this next song, and kept hearing the line “Я хочу помыть посуду” which means “I want to wash the dishes”…confused by this unusual theme in a pop song, I looked it up when I got home. It’s actually “ПОБИТЬ посуду”, which is “break dishes”… much less wholesome but much less surprising in a pop song:

And last but not least, I leave you with the Ukrainian group Село и Люди (Selo i Ludi) and their awesome cover of Pretty Woman featuring folk music instruments:

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