Daily life in Apartment 62

The last two weeks passed by so quickly. I am almost at the end of my two-week adventure here in St Petersburg. It feels like I have barely scratch the surface of this huge city. The number of places I have visited seemed too little compared to the list of must-see. Where did all my time go?

Ah yes, lessons of course!

My schedule of lessons is at 9:00 in the morning and at 12:45 in the afternoon the next day, four hours each day. This gives me just enough time to do my homework, do the groceries and cook my food. It’s not wise to eat in restaurants all the time because St Petersburg is not exactly a cheap city.

I also have to spend time communicating at home, both the Philippines and the Netherlands, which has difference time zones as well. I usually do this before or after class and always in the apartment because telephone cost to Europe is insane, almost €2/minute to call and €1/sms. That’s why I bought a Russian simcard. But of course, unlike at home, you can’t just take your phone out and start texting while on the street or while on the metro station. It’s very cold outside and the metro is very busy. Forget about texting while walking, it takes tremendous concentration to walk the streets of St Petersburg in winter, especially when it just snowed.

The rest of the little time I have left, I use for sight seeing.

In the winter, daylight in St Petersburg comes at one in the afternoon and at 6:00pm, it is already very dark. Museums closes between 5-6pm and are close either on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. From my apartment to the center is about 30 minutes by bus and by train so you can imagine how I have to rush everyday to actually be able to enjoy one attraction.

Peter is a very huge city and you need to walk a lot, from one attraction to the other or from one side of a museum to the other side. Everything seems to be massive in this city and with the slippery streets, you can’t hurry your movements otherwise your butt will end up on the ground, at the very least.

My body had a hard time adjusting to the time difference (three hours ahead, winter time) so I sleep between midnight and 1:00 am. This becomes very difficult when I have to wake up before 9am, shower and prepare for lessons. Maria always notice when I have not had enough sleep, I am usually slow in understanding my lessons.

I did not imagine it to be so difficult. Sometimes, while struggling with my Russian, either with my lessons or with the people on the street, I tell myself, “What the hell am I doing here? Why am I burdening myself with studying this very difficult language?”

The answer comes whenever a driver, a cashier or a vendor makes a small conversation with me and I am able to fully understand them. And maybe eventually, I can talk about books, arts and politics with them just like how I do it in Dutch.