Whilst this year has already been and will undoubtedly continue to be one of the best years of my life, it is not without its lows. I have recently been slower than usual to post a blog, the reason being that I have been in a state of confusion about what exactly to write about. Having written and rewritten five or so articles detailing various things from the change in the weather in the last few weeks to detailing the struggle of being in a new country away from family, friends and dogs. These articles have either felt too cliche or just not good enough to post, thus they have remained stacked in my drafts file waiting to be perused, modified and promptly returned to the draft file.
Despite the numerous and cliche stories, novels and trashy films around the fact, it is impossible to ignore the fact that moving to a new country takes a toll on one’s psyche. As a seasoned country hopper I did not think that I would really be affected by moving to St Petersburg, and for the most part, I haven’t been, in comparison to, for example, the American “College Student” who weeps at the thought of spending a single night away from her family. However, this last week, in particular, has left me feeling a little sentimental. Since being in Russia I have had to accept the fact that I would miss various milestones in friends and relations lives, however, acceptance does not necessarily mean being unaffected. For example, I have, in my time here missed the birth of my niece and will not meet her until she is a few months old, which, while not devastating is certainly unsatisfactory.
This last week, in particular, has also held a missed milestone for me. But to give some context as to why else this week has been difficult, most of my friends in St Petersburg study at a different institute called “Smolny” and they have had a reading week this last week. This has meant many have returned home to see family and friends and for those that remained meant that they had boyfriends, girlfriends and family members visiting. Thus, unsurprisingly, they have all been engaged in their own activities with their plus ones. Meanwhile, I have been one of the only people I know attending Uni this week and have had few people to spend my free time with. The trickiness of this week was exacerbated by the fact that it was a week that I was meant to be in England for a very close family friend’s wedding, at which I was supposed to be a bridesmaid. So not only was I feeling ostracised from an event many of my family and friends were at, but I was also distinctly lonely in Russia.
Despite the purveying sense of negativity in this particular post, I feel the need to assure those of you reading that I am not, in fact, unhappy here. Bear in mind that I have been here for two months already and this is the first time that I have felt any real sense of unease and loneliness. Not only that but in this week of solitude, at those moments when I felt particularly sorry for myself, mere minutes from my doorstep were endless canals, beautiful streets both big and small and intriguingly strange shops (not to mention the famous Pishki doughnuts) which help. Though I cannot claim that I spend every day in a Disney princess-esque state of perpetual joy, laughter and singing, the return of those who had been in England has heralded a return to normalcy. I have also come to realise the power of a good cup of tea on the English soul, its effects are completely unparalleled. And, worry not with tea and humans to hang out with, I am beginning to settle into my usual St Petersburg state of content, though this is at threat as the snow and ice draws ever nearer…