waiting is absolutely mind-wrenching. i cannot sleep through the night and i cannot do much else than sit on Matt's futon and think...and wait.

i don't know when i'm going to leave St. Louis. so far things have turned sour and i am hesitant to leave with conditions in this current state. i keep thinking.... if i wait it out, i can leave happy. Matt left this morning via amtrak for Wisconsin...but he loaned me the keys to his apartment. so i can leave whenever i want. Iveta is supposed to return on Monday. i told Dad i might go home Sunday, but now.... i don't know what i'll do.

i hope that today everything will get better. (knock on wood)


through times of big mistakes, one should always learn something. after what happened wednesday night and yesterday, the truth has finally been revealed to me. it is simple: i am self-centered. oh, believe me, people have told me that before, namely my own parents, but i just accepted it. i didn't realize what it really meant, and i never really believed them. i was willing accept some of my own faults but never that one. last night someone totally opened my eyes. suddenly things flashed through my brain ~ things i have done without thinking of others. i'm not really selfish, i mean, i am not a mean person who doesn't care about other people. that's not it. i DO care of other people. my problem is that i just don't think of other people on a daily basis. i'm in my own little world...and if i think i can fix things my own way (putting aside what other people really want and how they think) i'll do it.

this is awful, but it is something easily fixed. i don't have to grow another arm or anything. i just have to begin thinking of others. i'm sure that it will quickly improve my own life as well as those of my friends. therefore, i have a lot of growing up to do right now, and as quickly as i can. last night was awful, and i'm afraid i destroyed something very special, but it made me realize what was really going on in my head, or rather, behind my own mind. and now i am alone, but ... well i need this time to sort things out. i do not ever want to hurt someone again. i do not ever want to do something that will push the feelings of other out of the picture as i focus on my own thoughts, my own world, my own solutions.

today i'm going with Matt to see A.I. i'm excited. Kubrick (posthumously) and Spielburg. awesome.


yes i am still (amazingly) posting stuff on here. unbelievable.

i'm in St. Louis. drove up here Monday.

ever say something casually....and have it turn out to change everything? oh i feel awful right now. my friend Matt has stuck me in his apartment for the day, while he is at work...my prescription for my sadness is to read and listen to The Cure. i almost fell asleep, so here i am. typing away. coming to St. Louis was the best thing for me, until last night. but i have faith and hope my "little" situation will turn out ok. at least.... i hope.

i heard a good joke today: Someone asked Hemingway why the chicken crossed the road. his reply was, "to die. in the rain." isn't that hillarious? ah. dark humour of the great man that wrote of bulls, fish, and crazy women.

i am so unbelievably depressed today, and yet.... i am alive, and i know it can't get worse. it has to improve.
my strength is here with me. amazing how much stronger i am now compared to last January.

i decided i can still say i "grew up" in Charleston. but i "matured" here, in St. Louis. it's the hardest thing i've attempted.


this is my last post in Russia....

i'll begin with Monday: after school we (Vlad, Valerii, and me) got in Vlad's car and started off for Peterhoff. note, started off. just after i was done thinking, "gee, maybe i won't have to take the metro home tonight" BOOM we got slammed into. i'm glad i was wearing my seatbelt because it kept me from breaking my nose on the dashboard. we got out, surveyed the damage (the car behind us hit us so hard we slammed into the one in front of us), and waited for several hours for the DPS (police) to come. i didn't mind waiting because it was interesting. of course, my neck and back hurt a bit from the impact. it still hurts, but getting better. (mom-- wanna make an appt for me with a chiropractor? i've always wanted one...) after everything was taken care of, i got a lift to the metro station. shows me for thinking i'd get a ride home. at least the guys were entertaining and conversant.

Tuesday: i realized i left my journal in the car. then Vlad and Valerii took me (by bus) to Peterhoff and it was raining....so the fountains were mostly turned off. i did get to talk to some Japanese tourists, though. then we went to a cafe and has shashlik (shishkebob).

Wednesday: we went to the Russian Navy Museum after school and then i walked around, had dinner by myself, and exchanged some money. then i started to feel nauseated and went home. everyone was meeting at a dance club, but by the time i got home i felt sick and just wanted to go to bed.

today: language exam. i don't know what's going on later.

tomorrow: more class !!! and then we leave around 4 for the airport and leave Russia at 1920. then i go to Frankfurt for the night, and leave Germany around 1pm, and then get home, in Charleston, around 1830. (Yes, Hazel, I'll need you to pick me up.)

now...i must go take my exam and try to stay awake. i'm tired. i don't feel so hot, and well frankly.... yes. i'll admit it. just this once. i want to go home. (it's just a passing feeling, i'm sure i'll deny it later.) ;) so...i'll get tougher and be back online Saturday night.

Fare Thee Well


i think perhaps the most annoying thing right now is not being able to access my emails. so...anyone with anything important send it to ambotchka@yahoo.com...

this saturday i went on a picnic.... again i thought i was going to a forest and ended up going to a place that was totally flat, no trees, lots of grasses and trash. as Tanya said, "it's not the location that is important, but the conversation." --- quite Russian.
yesterday i went to Novgorod.... i really liked the monastery. i bought myself a silver ring for $2 that has something written in Russian about God saving me and the world...but within hours it turned my finger black (that's what i get for being cheap).

i am frustrated today. grrr. hopefully it will get better... at 5pm i am meeting Vlad and his friend. they want to celebrate because today is the last final exam (they're going to be psychiatrists). i'm not sure what we'll be doing, but i hope we eat somewhere. i'm starving. right now it's 2:20. i was going to go home, freshen up, etc...but i decided to check out some stuff with Kari...she wants to get a really big, expensive Matrioshka for her dad (he's paying her back). i need to look at tea sets for Claire. i don't know how i'll carry them back, but i'll find a way. tonight whenever i get home i'm going to pack up and see how much room i have in my bags. i still have hundreds of dollars left! this truly shows how much cheaper it is here. i've lived it well and bought lots of things... and i am under budget. if i had been stringent i could have probably survived off of $200 the whole month...that is, if i didn't buy lots of things. i've bought lots of books and videos in Russian so i can keep it going strong when i get back....

started dieting. these girls here.... they don't make clothes in my size. in America, i'm a 10. i don't understand. i haven't seen a babushka around that isn't fat. but the girls my age are rails. does this happen overnight?

ok. too mad about emails. i'll check this one more time before i go home, probably tomorrow... i leave Friday night.



thank you, all of you, who sent me the diffinition of "nihilism." ironic that i heard it here in St. Petersburg, i guess.

yesterday i went to the church....the most beautiful, colorful one i've seen. all mosaics. i have an affinity for mosaics.
then...Tanya did my hair. it's very cool.... she bleached the top, and added copper to the tips and around the top. it isn't as extreme as it sounds (or as it first looked). whenever i get a chance i'll send a pic. i really like it, and so far everyone has complemented me. she cut it a bit too, mostly in the back. i felt like Jackie Onassis last night when she blowdried it.

today spent a few hours in the Idealnaya Chashka (Ideal Cup). i love it. i sat by the window at a small table....along Nevsky Prospekt...across the street from the Literature Cafe that Pushkin himself spent many hours writing ... in fact he left from there for his famous duel (his mortal duel). i felt...inspired. i wrote several pages in my journal and started a short-story.

tomorrow a few of us are going on a picnic somewhere south of the city, and then Sunday the Major, both Kelly's and i are going to Novgorod for the whole day on a real Russian tour... i am certain that will be worth it.

i leave in a week. i know for sure that i will miss the sun when i go home.... when i was in Moscow i missed it. night time in summer? what is that? ;) i absolutely adore this city. it's delicious. i hope to return in two years for the big 300th Birthday Party. they're preparing for it already... so many constructions going on.

i am going now... i should be back a few times only next week. i am trying to conserve money.

Do Svedanya....


yesterday was rainy, cold, and quiet. i saw Pearl Harbor in Russian (good thing to do when it's wet out). sad movie, but predictable. all of us girls were sobbing, but we liked it.

sorry to all of you i sent pictures to that didn't work.... i'd fix the problem but my disk is at home and frankly, hon, i'll wait till i get home next week. right now i'm inwardly quieting down... i'm very blase. depressed in a sense that i'm not flying around the room, but i'm not sad.

if it weren't for the gypsies on the train there would be no color. smashed up against dozens of people wearing black leather jackets and gray woolen sweaters with stale-smelling hair is a wonderful way to spend the morning. at least it's quicker that sitting in stop and go traffic in a car.
oh and Matt---- i haven't seen any pretty gypsies. they're all dirty, poor, ragged, and carrying three children. the pretty ones are in Hollywood or old paintings in Parisian museums. still~ i thank them for their color.

going to the Church on the Spilld Blood today. oh~ after that Shaun's hostess, Tanya, is going to "fix" my hair. she says she is good at hair and wants to give me red and bleached highlights. i said sure, why not...it's summer, after all. it'll be a long time before i get my hair done in Russia again. of course, today, my hair is behaving absolutely perfect and looks beautiful in it's natural colors...as if to say...no, don't change me. alas, i have promised Tanya already. i cannot disappoint her.

what does it mean to be Nihilistic? i don't have a dictionary over here. i know that in Russian, however, it is...oh gee it's not in my dictionary. go figure.

today is Thursday. 9:16am. (don't believe the times this things says...they're State times)....i leave in 8 days.


Priviet Everyone! I am alive, and i believe it has been a record...not being online for five days! anyway...
I WAS IN MOSCOW!!! can you believe that? and to tell you the truth, i was excited the entire time. even though it rained. hailed. dropped in temperature.

and yet... (i am going to make this as brief as i can) Moscow just wasn't St. Petersburg. it was a gigantic city that just happened to have onion domes on the churches. and the body of a man who changed history. St. Pete is more like St. Louis and Moscow more like Chicago, i decided. it is ironic that the city built to be "european" is more Russian than the first and current Russian capital. still...i was in the Kremlin. i saw Lenin's body (he seemed less real than Ramses II in Cairo did). i went into the church where the Tsars were corronated (before they went to St. Pete). i saw the White House. i saw the Moscow River, the Bolshoi theater i had to ask directions to my first year in Russian class.... and i took picture after picture and bought many things (i did it all in Russian! you try to barter in another language!) ...

and monday we went to class as soon as we got off the train. then yesterday i slept b/c it was a holiday and it was raining...it's been raining a lot the past week. i'm sure i needed the sleep too. my cold is slowly, bit-by-bit fading... but not gone.

i am finally looking more Russian...i walk around with a plastic shopping bag carrying my items instead of my backpack. my bag is a big advertisement for Winston cigarettes, but i don't care. people don't immediately think i'm foreign anymore and the gypsies bother me less. no one carried backpacks, and everyone has a plastic bag (they don't give you one when you shop-- you need to have your own). also since i've washed my clothing here...they're not as bright. my white handkerchief was pure white and came out of the washing machine yellow. i can't wait to wash this stuff at home. makes you understand why no one drinks the water. it's the color of urine.

and yet-- i love St. Petersburg! i feel almost like i'm in Japan...city with the rain.... i remember when i was little and always had my umbrella with me. and i have to relearn to avoid cars... i got splashed pretty badly last week.

i bought some Russian CDs. i had to get the pop one of all the songs i hear over and over in the stores, metro, stations, kiosks, discoteks.... i know all the pop songs now... you would too, if you were here 2.5 weeks.

that's right. i leave St. Petersburg next Friday at 7pm. then i spend the night in Frankfurt (that should be fun). then to DC, then to Charelston. then i'm sure i'll sleep for a bit. ;)

well i must head off to class. Paka!


haven't been online in a few days. saving money. wednesday i went with Kelly and Vlad to the Walnut Fortress (although he told us it was the Walnut Forest and we were confused until we got there). it was awesome. don't feel like typing much here for some reason. yes i'm alive. tonight i take the night train to Moskva so i won't be online until next week. be patient. my cold is still running strong... i think i'm allergic to city pollution.


well downloading AIM....not working well. each of these computers has different programs on it, and i happened to get the one that does have it. i am going to have to leave earlier in the morning... the 9am crowd is too big. i had to wait for a few trains to go by before i got up in line to get on...and then i was jammed in there. lovely scents in the morning.

this cold is kicking my butt still. at least i found out one of the girls has sudafed. :) it's not fun coughing when you are too smashed up other people to move your hand to your mouth.

last night i watched a program filmed in Moscow....all these mothers were on with with pictures of their sons and daughters that had disappeared recently. there were dozens of women on the show. it was depressing, to say the least, but in one instance, the wife and husband were rejoined. they found him in Chechnya. you can guess how he got there.

there is always so much i plan on saying...but when i get here i forget.
oh yeah. the disk drive on this computer isn't working. whenever i finally do send out pics there will be a lot of them.

they say the American students that come here like it the first week, are bored the second week, and can't wait to go home by the third week. when we were told this yesterday we were shocked. it's true that this week isn't as "exciting" -- but we're more comfortable. i seriously doubt i'll be chomping at the bit by next week. this place still has too many secrets.

hmm finally getting AIM to download. it's only about time for me to head to class...

funny when i read over my previous posts and recognize all the typos. when i'm in a hurry i don't care about the little mistakes.
i will be here around 8:15 tomorrow morning...that is 11:15 for all you "central" people. hopefully there will be people online. not that i'm lonely or bored or anything. there are plenty of people in this city.

and how is my language study going? it is amazing how much i am beginning to understand. i still have problems communicating, but listening is the first to master. tv shows are making sense.

wow! aim is working. and i'm talking to people! :) oh my lord it's a holiday!
what a few days it has been since i last posted. saturday night we got together and went to the Tikhoff again to listen to some Russian jazz. it was pretty good. sunday i went to Puskhin (Tsakoe Selo) and Pavlovsk. i took pictures but can't email them out b/c i brought the wrong disk. then we went to the Sting concert....that's right, boys...i listened to Sting in St. Petersburg!!! it was awesome. he is an incredible musician. after that, i went with Denis, Shaun, and their hostesses to a real Russian diskoteka. i wore my paisley silk dress... the ladied did me up...complete with lots of make up and poofy hair. we got there at one am... and left around five. i had to pay 200 rubles for a taxi to get home b/c the metro was closed and i didn't want to wait until 6am... it was convenient. the diskoteka was very fun... cleaner, brighter, cheaper... but all russian dance music. :) then i woke up at 8:30 (sorry if anyone was waiting to talk to me online) and came to school... eto vsyo (that's all).


saturday afternoon...it's 5:15pm... i didn't do much yesterday..except, oh --- visit the Hermitage! they said it would take over nine years of constant walking to see all of the exhibitions. imagine that. i saw several old mosaics, gold-leaf hallways...i wonder how Russia would have done if the Tzars had fed the people instead of spending millions of Rubles to decorate their summer palaces. "it's for show only...for the diplomats of other countries." ah. that's disgusting. no wonder the Revolution began there.

last night we were going to go to a Diskoteka (dance club) but when we all got to our homes and had dinner, no one felt like going back out again. i personally was feeling like crap. i have this terrible cold, and Aleve just doesn't cut it. oh-- and they don't have tissues here. i've been using the card-board toilet paper and napkins i've taken from the cafes. considering it is finally warming up, the cold might go away.

oh---here's some interesting new i forgot to mention yesterday : the city is turning off the hot water in our district from the 5th of june to the 27th. for "testing" purposes. to make sure the hot water will work in january, i suppose. imagine if they told st. louis residents this. what a riot!

the gypsies have arrived. when i walked through a tourist district today (i won't do that again) i saw them everywhere... the women carry babies and ask for money... the men are no where to be seen. it makes me wonder what mischief they are up to. Vladimir Petrovich told me to never look at them and walk quickly by. if they stop me, ignore them. and yell at them in Russian. never English. however, if i am attacked, i must scream loudly in English and the police will come. i've heard that many times the children will surround tourists, and poke them with needles so that they'll let go of their bags/wallets. sounds fun, doesn't it?

if anyone wants to get pictures, let me know. i have been emailling several out to people who've asked. Paka~~