Thoughts on SPb (from Moscow)

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Moscow is lit for NYE. Going to Europe and the States for Christmas is overrated. Go to Russia for New Year’s instead. I’ve been at my grandparents’ in Moscow for the past few weeks, and before that, traveling with family around Germany around Christmas. I’ve been relaxing, talking with family, celebrating the New Year with traditional extravagant Russian festivities. This time away from SPb has given me the much-needed time to reflect on the past 4 months that I’ve lived …

Russian food: Yes, give me another portion

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PRECURSOR: I do not talk about Russian typical food. You know what I mean: borscht (beet soup), blinchiki (pancakes/crepes), olivier salad (it’s a mess to describe), katleti (meatballs), etc etc. I’m not talking about kitsch – I’m talking about experiences. Food is so important in Russia – so so so important, as any food is pertinent to any culture. While most of Russia has certain staple “Russian” food, St. Petersburg has a special situation. Most of SPb residents lived through …

Artistic Revolution

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Saint Petersburg acted as the capital the country for 2 centuries, where aristocracy full of military and government officials did their jobs and flirted at balls, and artists and musicians all flocked there too. Best international talents also coursed there at the request of the aristocracy stuck in this swamp and needing some beauty – the designers of SPb were Italians, mostly, with statues for people like Francesco Rastrelli, designer of the Winter Palace, Carlo Rossi and his son, Francesco …

On Three-Hour Lectures and Soviet Style

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During the 20-minute break in my 3-hour Soviet Cinema class, I catch Professor Dvinatina for a quick question. After a couple minutes of discussion about how well Petersburg About Love (2016) captures the state of the modern Russian film industry, she elegantly responds, “Dasha, it’s lovely to talk to you, but I really need to smoke right now.” Which is fair. So we end up chatting outside while she smokes. This is the best way I can characterize my academic …

First Impressions

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Petersburg’s cold air comprises of poetic verses and brush strokes. That’s not quite so apparent when struggling with closing an umbrella while opening up the door to a coffee shop’s warm pastry atmosphere. The efficient cashier raises his eyes as I shrug my wet hoodie from my head and try to order that weird M-something untranslatable-berry–flavored latte on the almost-gone summer menu. I fiddle with my money for 3 minutes longer than necessary: cash is the preferred system of transactions …