A Saint Petersburg Morning

It’s easy to get caught up in routines.  It’s hard not to, especially when you live in a place for more than a couple of weeks.  By now, I know my way (more or less) around Saint Petersburg.  A lot here is familiar – comfortable, even.  However, I also don’t want to forget the way that I saw the city when I first arrived, when everything was new.  I don’t want to forget that there’s still so much to see and do and learn every day, even after living here for almost two months.

Every morning starts off with breakfast, of course.  Even though I can expect it at about 8:15 every morning, it’s never boring because I never know exactly what my host mom is going to cook.  Sometimes I get каша (kasha), or oatmeal.  Sometimes I’ll get оладьи, which kind of resemble American pancakes.  Sometimes it’s eggs, and sometimes it’s сырники (sirniky, another type of pancake that’s made out of cheese).  I could go on and on and on, but whatever I get for breakfast, it’s always delicious (which is something that hasn’t changed since I first got here)!

After breakfast, I catch the bus from the stop right in front of my host family’s apartment building.  Sometimes it’s an actual bus, with both a driver (usually in his or her own separate compartment) and a conductor, who collects fares from passengers.  More often than not (if one of these buses doesn’t arrive within a few minutes), I’ll catch one of the infamous Russian маршрутки (marshrutky), or small van-sized buses, which also serve as public transportation here.  I remember that I was a little nervous at first to take these back and forth from the metro because you generally have to tell the driver where to stop, or he might not stop at all.  Now, though, I’ve come to appreciate this, because you can pretty much tell him to stop wherever you want him to along his route – even if it’s not at one of the “official” bus stops – and he’ll stop there, which is very convenient!

Usually, I take either these buses or marshrutky to the metro, and then the metro to school.  I’m so lucky to be able to say that my university is in the center of St. Petersburg.  Every day, I walk by the Казанский Собор (Kazansky Sobor), which is one of the famous (and beautiful!) Russian Orthodox cathedrals in the city.  I usually also get to see Спас на Крови (Spac na Krovy) along the way.  Spac na Krovy is a bit further than the Sobor, but it’s also incredibly beautiful.  Even if the name isn’t familiar, this church would be a familiar sight to anyone who’s seen even a couple of pictures of St. Petersburg because of its colorful onion domes.  Some mornings I’m in a rush and don’t take the time to stop and really look at the city around me.  Yet, even though these mornings before class may be part of my routine here now, I still try to remember how incredible it was to see everything for the first time back in August, and how incredible it is to still see the city and the history around me every day!

By: Emily Herring

Program: Advanced Russian Language and Area Studies

Term: Fall 2017

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