I did the unthinkable: I stayed out all night, until the metro reopened at 6am. No doubt this is a source of pride for anyone, but—for an expert sleeper who can just about pass out on cue (usually the opening credits of any movie)—this is the ultimate triumph.
I’d woken up around 9 to meet friends at Catherine’s Palace, located in a town about a half an hour outside of Saint Petersburg. I can’t say anything was that surprising, considering I’d been there once before in high school. But walking around the familiar gardens and inside the lavish rooms (including the recreated Amber Room!) made me really miss my friends from high school. The last time I was there, we spent the entire day exploring, sunbathing, and playing Картошка, a game we nicknamed Death Taps. Everywhere I looked, something would come back to me- something I didn’t even know I remembered.
After a mad rush to get home, shower, eat, and meet a friend from Georgetown, I finally met up with Dasha, my former host-sister, and her friend Nastya. We went to “Big Liver Place,” a frequented café/bar. We sat, talked, and reminisced for three hours. Our only interruption was a free drink and rose for each of us to celebrate Международный Женский День (International Women’s Day).
At midnight, we embarked on the long journey (~30 seconds on foot) to Club Mod, where we danced for a few hours. I planned on leaving at 2am with Dasha and her friends, but as I waited in line at the гардиробка (coat closet) I ran into a bunch of friends from Glastonbury & Georgetown who were just entering. Screw it, I’m staying. Sure enough, it wound up being worth every moment of exhaustion. The CIEE program director was DJing that night, and what a treat it was to hear an uninterrupted playlist of American music. For anyone who says America doesn’t have culture, you are wrong.
It’s amazing that, in the span of a day, you can miss home so much and subsequently realize how close home really is. And, albeit depressing, I couldn’t help but notice how quickly time flies. My long-time friend Jennie kept telling her friends that we met each other in fifth grade. I remember meeting her so well and I can’t really grasp the fact that over a decade has since passed. Later I was hanging out with Liz, and we joked about our first encounter during the most awkward days of freshman orientation. A few days later, I ran into her at Leo’s studying flashcards of the Russian alphabet! I told her I was a Russian major and would help her if she needed anything. Two and half years later, here we are.
Oh, existential crises, how you never fail to interfere with my sanity. It terrifies me that the next three months will pass at least as quickly. JK Rowling said it perfectly in my favorite (#4) of the Harry Potter series:
It’s a strange thing, but when you are dreading something, and would give anything to slow down time, it has a disobliging habit of speeding up.
The next time it’s 5:45 in the morning and I’m counting down the minutes until the metro opens, I’ll remember that this is precious time I should be savoring. Consequently, and oh so ironically, I’ll be home in no time.