Sunday, July 10, 2011

First Day in St. Petersburg

9 Jul 2011, 21:55, Korablestroitelei #20/3 (the dorms)

Here I am, at the end of a long one/two days, in my dorms. My roommates are Chloe (from my group) and an Asian girl, Chu Tsi, who speaks no English and very good (fluent?) Russian.

We arrived in St. Petersburg a little after 1pm, our time, and were met by Kirill and Alyona. Alyona took charge of Stephen and Zoe who were going to host families, and Kirill took charge of us.

Kirill is a blond man, 21 years old, with slightly spiked hair, three piercings in his left ear, freckles on his shoulders, and a decidedly Ed Norton cast on his face. He speaks nearly-perfect English and probably very good French, but I haven't got enough French to judge. 

We picked up another kid, Nick, from the other terminal (Pulkovo 2), then dropped off Jen Green, and then got to our dorm building. We stood around a bit, then Kirill went inside. We stood around a bit, then went up to the 2nd floor. There, we stood around a bit and then were divided up into groups of three and two. I am dorming, as I said, with Chloe, while Victoria, Regina, and Danielle got a room on the floor above ours.

Now seems like a good time to do inventory of the people on this group, actually, so here they are: Tom and Oleg are also at Stony Brook. Victoria is an incoming freshman who went to Stuyvesant (my alma mater), before transferring to a different high school. Danielle is a grad student at Stony Brook who was staff at IAP for some amount of time. Ben is at University of Albany (same as Chloe). He is sharing a room with Oleg and Tom. Brandon, Nick, and Sean are in a room 10 floors above mine and I'm not actually sure what universities they're in, which is a failing I'm going to remedy.

The room Chloe, Chu Tsi, and I are sharing is arranged kind of strangely. The three beds are arranged in a U next to the windows. Then there are two desks on one side of the room and one desk on the other. There's also a closet in the wall. When we arrived at the dorms and were given time to settle in, I took a shower in the TINY bathroom, after doing the necessaries in the TINIER toilet room. Maneuvering in those rooms was major awkward, but I did feel fresher afterward.

Even with the changing and the shower, Chloe and I were the first ones down with Kirill, and that was with
both of us forgetting our magnetic pass cards and running back upstairs to grab 'em. We finished waiting for everyone and then went to change our money from dollars to rubles. I ended up changing too little, only $60, which with the dinner we had at Dve Palochki (Two Chopsticks), was not enough to pay for the phone I bought. I ended up borrowing 200 r. from Tom, which I'll pay back by buying him lunch tomorrow. After changing money we all went to to get food at the aforementioned restaurant. Then we went on to an MTS store and bought phones and/or sim cards. I translated for those of us who did not speak Russian.

After that, Kirill wanted to take us to get metro and bus passes, but a bunch of us were near collapse, so we went back. A number of us stopped at the nearby grocery store to buy some necessities, then came back to the dorm. I called my mother using the calling card and she told me not to call my relatives here because it's already late (which I couldn't tell BECAUSE IT NEVER GETS DARK HERE!!), so I'll call them tomorrow at noon-ish.

Chloe and I are gonna buy blackout curtains for the room if we can find them. I'm gonna have some cereal now and go to sleep.


10 July 2011, ~7PM, metro
things to buy:
  • hangers
  • detergent
  • миски
  • чашки
  • кастрюля
  • frying pan

As always, questions, comments, criticism, and other feedback is always welcome.

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