This is my last but one blog about Saint-Petersburg, for now, that is, and it has some delay, but here it is now!
Today was another great day. I only had class at one o’clock, so I could sleep a little longer and that was great. But, I got up half way through the morning and then relaxed a little bit, reading, after enjoying Bal Vampirov and that kind of stuff.
At one o’clock it was time for my last class, so I headed to the other building again, a little earlier than usually, so I could still drop off the songs of Dans der Vampieren and Bal Vampirov that I have with Miriam. She wanted them, but it was too much to send by e-mail, so I just brought them by by hard disc. We then talked for a while still and I got the information about when everyone was meeting up tonight to spend our last night in this wonderful city together.
As Rens and Sjouke didn’t come to class, Camille was the only one of her group who was there, so she had class in Will’s bedroom (who had already left to go back home) and so I did not have class in the closet but in the other classroom. That one doesn’t have a window either, but it is a little bit bigger than the other one.
And that class was, guess what… interesting of course! We went back to talking about all kinds of subjects, which was very interesting again. I first had to orally translate a Russian story to English again. It was about a man who is on a business trip. His boss has told him to come back home as soon as possible, but the man needed to sign some papers is on a business trip himself to another city. They could call him and he would come by to sign the documents, but that man does not do that because he is in the south and there’s a beach and good weather. So, he just lies on the beach to relax, meets new people whom he does all kinds of stuff with and makes a picture of himself at one of those cardboard things with a hole for your head and in this case he becomes a knight on a horse with a sword in his hand and mountains on the background. He then writes two letters a long one with the truth and the picture to his wife and a short one to his boss to say it takes longer than expected. But of course, each letter ends up with the other person and so his boss sends him a telegram to come home immediately and there he discovers the picture has been hung on the newspaper wall of his job. It was quite funny.
Then we talked about work: which jobs are popular here, is it possible that you would want to change jobs after a couple of years, that kind of stuff. This was pretty much the same in Russia, so no revelations there. Also, about who helps to influence the decision for a profession you make. And whether you choose a profession for the money or because you want to do it. That last question is interesting, because many people in Russia would often choose for the job that pays best even if it would involve sacrifices. We would rather choose for the job with the worst pay if that is the one we would like to do best.
And then we talked about time. Do you do things now or postpone them, what do you do to make it pass, tips to make you use your time better and to do the things you want to do.
Then we also talked about euthanasia, whether I think it is a good thing and that kind of stuff. It’s interesting, because when we went out this evening, Inna, one of the other teachers, asked Rens and me about it because it is possible to do euthanasia in the Netherlands and Belgium. But, she thought that just anyone could get it, so even young people who are not ill or so. So, we explained her what it’s really like. It was interesting to hear that people in other countries apparently do not know how it works and it’s good to have changed that image at least with one person.
Then we also talked about pets and about animals in general and are we really ‘better’ than animals and that kind of stuff. It was fun to talk about. And then we talked about space: Are we really alone. We just each gave our own opinion and that’s it, but it was just fun to talk about.
And then we talked about nature. It was interesting to hear that Maria does not believe in global warming. In the west we just see it as a given, most of us, but it’s not like that everywhere and I do not judge that, but it’s just interesting to hear that. We also talked about whether growing up with nature close to you makes you look differently at it, what do I still want to see. So yeah, class was very interesting again.
And then class ended, which was sad, but Maria is journeying to the Netherlands in September and she’ll also visit Belgium. She said we could meet up and speak Russian. It’s great, not only because of the Russian, but also because it would just be great to meet up.
Anyway, then I went back home and relaxed some more until it was time to head to the city centre again where we had agreed to meet up with everybody. Kasper, Tom and I were the first ones to arrive and soon after us Christiaan arrived. It was quite funny because Tom and Christiaan had never met before and Tom was putting his bike away when Christiaan arrived. So, when he got back he went to Christiaan, introduced himself and wanted to shake hands, but Christiaan had no idea who he was so he was just looking like ‘what the hell is happening, this stranger is walking up to me introducing himself to me and I don’t know what to do’. So I said that it was okay, that he was with us and then they shook hands anyway, but it was so funny. Then Miriam and Joke and Kirsten and Rens and Sjouke arrived and to my surprise Katya and Maria arrived as well. They were joining us for dinner which was great. And then Sasha arrived and we could go. Inna, one of the teachers would be joining us as well but at the restaurant itself. Where Inna joined us then and after some while another Sasha (who is also a student doing practice courses I believe, like the other Sasha) arrived.
It was nice, just sitting there and talking. One thing about restaurants in Russia is that they do not bring all the food together. No, they bring a plate when it’s ready. So, the first ones had already finished their food before the last ones got it. We were joking about it, that they just don’t have enough plates. But, the food was good. I had spaghetti and it tasted fine. And for dessert I had chocolate cakes (with melted chocolate inside) and vanilla ice cream. It was good, very good.
Maria and Katya then went home and Miriam went home too, but the rest of our group decided we would go out. And in Saint-Petersburg that means it’s for the entire night as the bridges between the different islands of the city open at night so the ships can move. They all have different opening times, but basically between one and five it’s impossible to move to a different isle.
We first went to a cocktail bar, which was fun. We just talked, but then we decided we wanted to dance and went to look for a different place. We found one, but once we got inside Sasha, Sasha, Christiaan and I realised we did not want to stay there. There was way too much cigarette smoke and it was way too crowded. So, we went back outside, but the others had ordered drinks already so we had to wait, but we did not want to wait in front of the club because we did not feel safe.
So, we went to nicer places and sat down there when at once Sasha came to the realization that Kasper’s ride to the airport was around five and he was still with our group. And he couldn’t get home and he had to because else he would miss his ride and possibly his flight. So, we checked to see if there were bridges that close late (it was a quarter to three or so), but there weren’t, but there was one bridge which closed again between ten to three and ten past three or so. So, Sasha immediately called Inna who did not understand anything because of the noise, so she texted and we hurried back to the club. The newest Sasha said we had to get Kasper in any car (because there was no time to call a taxi) and ask them to drive him to that bridge and get him onto the right island. But, putting a foreigner in a car with a stranger, we couldn’t do that either so newest Sasha would go with him, but then we didn’t want her to be alone so Christiaan also went with them. So, Kasper got out the club, we almost pushed him into a car so to speak and they were off.
Later that evening I asked Sasha whether they had made it. She had gotten a text that they had missed the bridge, but were going to look for another way to get to the island. I have no idea what the other way was, but apparently it worked out because Camille and Thomas confirmed that he got home and the driver who picked me up confirmed that he had brought Kasper to the airport as well.
I think poor Sasha was about to have a heart attack, but well, everything was fine in the end.
So, everyone had gotten outside then and we decided to look for a different club as Sasha and I really did not want to be in this club. Eventually we found a nice club and had tons of fun there. I know I had and the others seemed to have fun as well. It was already light when we left, I think it was about six o’clock. And then we said goodbye to Inna and Sasha, who had to go another way.
And home all of us said goodbye and went to our own flats. I immediately took a shower when I got home because in Russia you can still smoke in restaurants, cafés and clubs and the smell was in my hair as well. And then I just lay on my bed for a while.
The weather today was absolutely great. It was warm, the sun shone. It was brilliant.
And that’s it for today!