My five weeks in St Petersburg went unbelievably quickly and were filled with so many good moments. Just last week again good times with Anna, Chelsea and Ekaterina (though Max just seems to dislike sleeping). It just doesn’t stop … school attendance again suffered. Life man!
Today I had my last language lesson and don’t want to miss thanking the Derzhavin institute for the experience especially teachers Daria, Ksenia, Nadeshda and the two Dasha’s. I shall practice hard in real life on the farms in иссад and вязье in the weeks from late August. Grammar and I remain enemies, but i am getting there and vocab and free speaking has inprovedd tremendously. Maybe one day i come back for the next level.
Very enjoyable was the time with Vika, Yuri and Daniel who took such good care of me for many a week and were never short of proposing another good night out – Zenit definitely has gained a new supporter. I hope my absence will not end the unbeaten streak in the Russian premier leage. Давай, давай! Сини, бело, голобые! Obviously couldn’t leave out Hadely’s excellent BBQ skills he put on display here (though the food katya and I ordered from the hotel yesterday was also very tasty ;o).
The goodbye evening was brief, but importantly did happen. First with chelsea, tom and jeanluca at dicken’s (where else) and then at daniel’s house for a few beers with a few friends such as ‘kondor’ who is into hiking as well. We spoke mainly russian and it felt like the best exam to pass – it worked as i understood them and they me. While arguably helped by the fact that we spoke about topics i like (travelling, hiking etc), it gives me the feeling that the time in st pete was well spent and helped me to get my russian up and running. Friends, thank god, dont bother too much with grammar. It comes down to having some vocab … and let it flow. And flow we did.
Tomorrow morning its time to say goodbye from St Pete (for a little while) and to Alex grandparents, as we head for Germany where i will spend a week with my son and family (who i meet the first time since returning from Nepal). Lets see what grandpa thinks when i bring him the family flag that i took to the summit in his and my late grandma’s honour (probably: ‘thanks, but dont do such thing again!’). He will also give me a lot of tips for life on the farm ahead … such as ‘are you sure, this is really hard work’. Saturday will also feature the annual festival in my home village Naundorf and the 70year anniversary of my old football club SV Struppen – thanks to a midweek article about my Lhotse trip in a local newspaper, i hope for a few free beers back home (first and foremost from my dad). Let’s see.