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Sunday, July 31, 2005

Cafe Intermezzo III

"Wow. Marriage," Devin exclaimed. "When did all of this happen?? And why didn't you tell me before?"
"I knew I would be in town, so I wanted to tell you in person." There had been so many unspoken things that she had wanted to tell him. To tell him how much she adored him. To tell him how perfect they were for each other, and that the best moments of her life were when she was with him.
Fiona thought back to the time when she had first met Devin. She remembered looking straight into his eyes and capturing each shade of color in them. At that moment nothing else had existed. It was just the two of them standing still, while the world moved about them in motion. At 15, she didn't know what was happening to her or what she was experiencing. Gentle feelings and thoughts began to grow in her like a pearl in an oyster shell, and she couldn't get enough of that warm feeling that crawled from her heart to the rest of her body every time she would see Devin.
She had never experienced love before, but this was unmistakably it. Yet, she knew that it would be a while before Devin noticed her. So, for now, this love was hers, entrusted to her to keep and nurture.
As she grew older and developed a closer friendship with Devin, it seemed as though he began to notice her less and less. He had dated practically all of her friends, and not once ever considering her. She would never forget how tormented those years were. What was wrong with her? Was she not pretty enough? Did he want someone skinnier? Why did he not want her? Oh, if he only knew.
She remembered how he had once confided in her about Beth, his girlfriend at the time. He perplexingly explained how he didn't understand why she wouldn't call him back, and why it was that all of the sudden after 9 months she was hiding things from him. Fiona would caringly listen, all the while thinking how he had no idea that there was someone madly in love with him sitting right beside him. She wanted to call him everyday. She wanted to know everything about him, see every picture that had him in it. It took all of her energy to supress the feelings that she felt for him.
Why had she supressed her feelings? Because she was old-fashioned. She didn't chase after boys; and if something was meant to be, then it would happen. As much as she wanted this, she didn't want to get in the way of destiny. What if she had told him, or manipulated the situation somehow? She knew she would regret it years to come, that it had been her who had joined their life paths, and not destiny. But how long could she really wait?
~*~
Melinda was the last straw. Of course she had known Melinda, being that Melinda was one of her closest friends. On top of that, for some reason all of Fiona's and Devin's mutual friends had thought that Melinda and Devin's relationship would lead to marriage. It was then that Fiona had realized that she needed to let go of this extravagant fantasy that she had built. Let go?! HOW?! She knew she never would until either she or Devin would get married. Only when it would be set in stone, when it would be written "till death do us part", would she acknowledge that it wasn't meant to be for them. She would be leaving town for the next 3 years for graduate school anyway. A long distance relationship definitely wouldn't work; when they were both in the same town nothing happened, let alone being separated by miles. He was currently all wrapped up in Melinda anyway . Although she secretly hoped and prayed that this was just another phase, and hopefully this would be the last one that would finally bring Devin to her.
1:05 PM

7 Falling Stars

And the show must go on....
1:34 AM

1 Falling Stars
Friday, July 29, 2005

An Ode to Red

Okay, so today I'm supposed to post Cafe Intermezzo but can I honestly say that I am upset. My blogging buddy Red, has had to nuke her blog involuntarily. Red was one of my first permanent readers, and we enjoyed each others writing because we saw the same outlook on the world and both wished to make it a better place.
I never saw Red in person, but I felt like I knew her better than most of the people that I have seen in person.
Every morning I would wake up, turn my computer on, and read my daily blogs- always starting with Red's. She was like the pillar blog, and all other blogs built off of hers. She connected so many people together. And now?! What am I supposed to do?! okay, okay I know that life will go on...but I always looked forward to her posts and comments...and she had taken a small sabbatical from blogging recently so we all anticipated her return. And now this.
So to Red, the best blogging buddy EVER and to a wonderful person and friend:
I wish you the best in life because you deserve it and so much more.
I'm sure our paths will cross again...but stay strong, stay beautiful, and keep raising those amazing children of yours!
Email me on your first day of college too :)
I will miss you Red dearly.
4:06 PM

6 Falling Stars
Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Conundrum no more...

Back in June (june 7th i think...)I had posted about a conundrum involving the giving of a certain painting, and more importantly the giving of my word. At the time I hadn't decided whether or not I was going to send it, burn it, or keep it. After coming back from Russia, talking to my friends about it some more, I decided to send it. Errands and other preocupations kept me busy, and it was only a week later that I was able to send the painting. The painting's odd shape made it difficult to find a compatible mailing envelope. In addition, I had no idea what the zip code of Mississippi was. All of these little drawbacks made me wonder if maybe I shouldn't send it.
Originally, I hadn't wanted to send a note with the painting, but then I decided that would be slightly dramatic; and anyways, the note wasn't some kind of personal touch. No, the note was for the painting, for its instruction.
The note went like this:
-XXXX,
The painting is unfinished, unadulterated and in the same condition
it was in late January when I put it on my shelf. Never, under any
circumstances, would I give or release an unfinised painting,
but I cannot work on this creation anymore, and I have other
projects that I must start. Now, I am released for I have kept my
word. Its fate is in your hands, do with it whatsoever you desire.
- Masha.
The woman at the Post Office helped me send it off, and walking out the door, I felt awesome, amazing, so good. I couldn't stop smiling, and on the drive back home I reveled in my bliss. A couple days later, I told one of my closest friend's about sending the painting. We talked about how funny it would be if it got lost in the mail, hanging out somewhere in a post office.
A week went by, and I asked this certain person if he had received a package. He replied that he hadn't; it's been two and a half weeks, and the fate of the painting is still unknown. Maybe the post office has it, maybe it was sent to the wrong address, maybe the old couple next door got it and now it's in their possession.
The situation turned out just as it should have. The painting belongs to no one; it chose it's own path. Yet more importantly I kept my word. I said I would do something, and I did it to the end even when it was difficult, uncomfortable, and problematic. All that the painting stood for is scattered about the cosmos- the good, the bad, the ugly, and the beautiful.
A perfect ending to the conundrum and relationship.
5:25 PM

4 Falling Stars
Friday, July 22, 2005

Cafe Intermezzo II

From the moment that Devin met Fiona, he had felt an instant connection. It wasn't sensual or platonic, rather, it was two people looking into the depths of each other's souls. She had always stood out from her average peer group. Perhaps it was because she was reading Dostoevsky at 15. Or perhaps it was because she was constantly reminding him to not forget his French after he came back from Africa. Yet he knew that aside from her intellect, it was her kindred spirit that set her apart. She was reliable, loyal, and whatever she set her mind to do, she did it with full force, full effort, and full passion. Thinking back now, somehow she was always there. Always by his side. Why didn't he take his chance when he could?
He was 20 when they had met, and being 5 years her senior, he saw Fiona as a child. Overtime it had become ingrained in his mind that she was too young for him.
His thoughts wandered back to the time that she interned at his company. So many warm memories. Out of the seven interns, Fiona outshined everyone. Her words were always eloquent,distinct, and to the point. When she spoke, she commanded attention. While the other interns chatted endlessly about where they wanted to go for lunch, Fiona sat at her computer formatting the newspaper they were working on.
Now Fiona wasn't all work and no play either. He would never forget when Fiona came to work with a plastic bottle, cut in half, full of sand, with an assortment of faux flowers 'blossoming out'. Embellished on the plastic bottle were stamps and phrases cut out from magazines. "What?" she naively answered to the stares of her co-interns, "my work area needs some decoration." Out came a square jar full of skittles and starbursts placed strategically next to the flowers. "There...oh wait, I almost forgot!" The maroon bow was tied, and re-tied, and tied again around the top of the jar. "Can you just feel that?" She asked, with her hands trying to touch something in the air. "That is the feeling of equilibrium in the work area. Enjoy the skittles everyone. I bought a king size bag to refill the jar." With that she swirled around in her chair and continued working on her book review for the newspaper.
~*~
He admitted that deep down inside he thought that Fiona would always be by his side. She was his muse and his breath of fresh air. He would always remember the moment when he saw her after he returned from Africa. It was a long seven months in Zaire, but his online conversations with Fiona always refreshed him. Whether she was persuasively arguing that Argentina would win the World Cup in soccer, or asking entertaining questions about his pet monkey, he always looked forward to their quirky, innocent conversations.
When he saw her after those seven months, he couldn't take his eyes away from the beauty before him. She had transformed into an elegant, stunning lady. He was pulling up into the parking lot as she was walking by. Gentle, cascading curls framed her soft face. Her lavendar top and matching ruffled skirt delicately accented her refined figure. She turned and caught him staring at her, before waving a friendly hello. Was this really Fiona?
~*~
Devin's romantic thoughts were sharply abrupted as he caught a flash of her diamond ring sparkling. And now she was getting married?! MARRIED?!?! Something he still hadn't crept close to at 29. Why had he never made the first move? Why had he let something so precious slip away when it was right there beside him? He just never had realized that it was Her, that it could be Her, that it would be Her. He had dated so many young women, even most of Fiona's friends. It was as if he had always been circling around her, trying to find her, when she had just been standing before him the whole time. Maybe he just never could believe that she was the One who would walk parallel with him for the rest of his life. Now, when she was being given away to another, he felt frantic and disillusioned. He could hear his mouth echoing "Congratulations", but his heart was breaking in anguish.
12:41 PM

2 Falling Stars
Warning:the text below is a bunch of sentences strung together.Otherwise known as rambling.
I've realized that I live in a state of denile. Or perhaps that is just the way my world works. I don't experience anything fully until a good deal of time has passed. Then, I usually become overwhelmed once these experiences hit me all at once. After my aunt's 6th month commerative service ended today, it finally hit me that she was gone forever. Her absence would be a permanent fixture in our family's life.
It was so nice to see Mr.Wonderful again, and after my conundrum (ending to the conundrum story will be posted later this week) was over, I finally came to the realization of everything that had led up to this conundrum. I hated the fact that I was still talking about the catastrophic situation (that happened earlier this year) many months later after its closure. I thought I had forgotten, but time and time again the same conversation came up like vomit in my mouth. That was when I realized how deeply hurt I was. When I spoke about it verbally with friends, it was always in the form of questions. I wanted someone to reassure me that what i felt in the initial moments when I had found out about the situation, that I wasn't wrong. I remember back in March, that I was always so cautious not to say 'cheated on' because I was persuaded that hadn't happened. But my feelings told otherwise. I never understood why one friend in particular was so angry about the situation. It was the confirmation that I needed to hear. That yes, my feelings didn't lie to me; that what had taken place was what I felt, and no amount of persuasion could alter or make me believe otherwise. One other recent discovery of mine concerning the situation has now completely left me at peace.
I've realized that my dad expects me to be perfect. It's slightly relieving that I have learned to not let his constant nagging and remarks not bother me...wait, scratch that...it's slightly relieving that i have learned to pretend that his remarks and constant nagging don't bother me. I mean practically everything I do pisses him off one way or another. I can never make him happy. Yes, there are moments when he is happy when I have cooked him a meal, or played the piano for him, or responded correctly to something...and believe me, those by far, are the happiest times of my life, even though they are few and spread apart, but why can't he be happy that I am just his daughter? I will never be the perfect little orthodox girl that he wants me to be. I wish he would be okay with the fact that the decisions I make are and will be benificial, even if they aren't his way.
I guess I'm just really tired after a long day of work, of smiling at customers, smiling at uncontrollable annoyances, and smiling in general. Tomorrow will be a new day.
11:27 AM

1 Falling Stars
Monday, July 18, 2005

I had a semi-eventful weekend.

Mr.Wonderful was in town*
So naturally I had to make myself look ravishing.
I found out I'm sort of involved in a love triangle (like triangle?)**
I find that slightly entertaining as well as refreshing, perhaps?

I've begun writing a short story called Cafe Intermezzo...hopefully every Friday I can crank something out to read.


*Mr.Wonderful has been around in my life for a LONG time...one of these days, when i have enough nerve I will write a beautiful post about him. For now, he is just Mr.Wonderful who lives in GA and also has family in CA.

**So I was trying to set up my 25 year old friend with a guy I met at my brother's youth group. He's 27, they both live in the same house, and they see each other a lot, so naturally i thought, why not? It turns out that he likes me, but I like Mr.Wonderful, and I think Mr.Wonderful likes someone else, but I'm not sure. This guy is extremely nice, courteous, and in short a true gentleman. But I don't know...He's about 8 years older than me, and I don't feel that drawn to him...but who knows maybe i'm not giving him a chance? Anyway, I'm still going to work on setting up my 25 year old friend with him.
1:36 PM

4 Falling Stars
Friday, July 15, 2005

Cafe Intermezzo I

Sitting by the window, finishing up my Swiss Mocha, I think about how pleasant the world is outside as it is here in this small cafe. Summer has turned to Autumn, and a small breeze dances through the air. Beyond the cafe, people are strolling slowly, drinking in each word of their mesmerizing conversations. Even though most are walking in pairs, a specific twosome stand out. Making their way towards the cafe, they are perfectly in unison- their step, their body language, and their expressive eyes. The yin and yang incarnate.

The woman-slender and tall,carries herself gracefully. Long, blonde, flowing hair parted on the side, accentuates her bright face. Her big blue eyes are emphasized with a dash of mascara and eyeshadow, and lightly glossed lips gently bring out her natural shade. Her neatly fitted navy blue suit, slightly reflects the long hours at the office. The pleasant breeze twirls a few fallen leaves, and cheerful laughter escapes those perfect lips.

A tall, dashing Italian stands by her side. His athletic, toned body is intensified by the warm tan that radiates through him. His black hair is neatly trimmed, and his piercing hazel eyes look softly at the angelic being beside him. He wears the classical "I-work-in-a-cubicle" outfit, yet somehow on him it reflects his strong character and brilliance.

A gust of air breezes through the cafe as the large oak doors open.

"Where did you find this place?"

"Oh, I've been coming here since my freshmen year of college. I'll never forget the night that my friend showed me this place. After that, we made it a point to ritualistically come here every year when something magnanimous happens in our lives. Although, I haven't been here ever since I moved to Washington D.C."

The young woman looks around the cafe, breathing in the aroma, and trying to remember those years when everything was relatively simpler.
The years when she saturated in new experiences, and constantly expanded her mind. Life was ever changing back then. She used to live in the future, and now that future had come.
She worked at a high paying firm- the kind of job that only a Yale Law School diploma could give you. The job was every lawyer's dream, and even though she loved the people she worked with, her quotidian workday left her wondering if she could do this for the rest of her life. She had passed the Foreign Services Exam with flying colors, and been promised a position abroad in the next couple of years. Everything was perfect except for one piece of the puzzle.

"So, what are you going to order?"

"I don't even know yet; the menu is so long. I can't believe there is a table of contents in here for all of the drinks. What are you going to order?"

"I'll just have Turkish Coffee. 6 years ago I was in Russia, and I tried their Turkish Coffee and it was better than any fancy White Chocolate Mocha or Creme Brulee drink. Intense, strong, and with just a hint of sugar. I never drink anything else anymore."

" I guess I'll go with my usual. Green tea."

As the waitress left their table, the conversation picked up again.

"So how long has it been since we've seen each other?"

"Oh I don't know. Maybe 3-4 years?"

"How's life in Washington D.C.? Is it everything that you wanted and more?"

"Yeah, it's really great...really everything I wanted," sighs the woman as she gently lowers her gaze.

"Oh, and I almost forgot to ask! How is Max? Are you guys still together...what's going on with that?"

"Yeah, we're still together." Pause. " We're actually getting married."
She fiddles with her ring as the young man begins to shower her with congratulations.

At 29, he was being pressured from all sides-family, co-workers, and society- to get married. It wasn't that he hadn't tried either. He was constantly in the dating world, averaging about one to two healthy relationships a year. It wasn't that there weren't beautiful women out there. He just had never found the One, to whom he could say, "I can't spend the rest of my life without you in it." He thought about the women who had been in his life: the women he had never given a chance, his female friends, and the woman he knew would never be his.

(to be continued...)
10:18 AM

6 Falling Stars
Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Work

First day back at work. The coffee shop.
I first started working there 3 1/2 years ago, and my boss loved me so much that i have job security for the rest of my life now. If things don't work out when I'm 40, I can probably always crawl back to this coffee shop and get my barista job back. Thank God he doesn't make me wear the uniform like he makes everybody else.
Today it felt like I never had even left work-even though i hadn't been there for 7 months. Making coffee is in my blood now. Even if I want to forget the price of a small double shot vanilla latte I can't. $2.50+.50 for the extra shot+.50 for the vanilla syrup= $3.50. Expensive? YEAH. Why do people buy it? Because it's good....and because it's Marin County where rich hippies(and other eclectic people) who drive Mercedes (not me) live.
Almost nothing has changed...not even the perverts who come and buy a small coffee to sit at our outside tables and stare at young girls walking by.

Thank God for tips.
1:04 AM

12 Falling Stars
Tuesday, July 12, 2005

DONE

I did it. It's finished. The conundrum is OVER.

I feel awesome.SO GOOD.

*The full story will be posted at a later date
*If you have no idea what this conundrum is, look in archives under June.
2:01 PM

4 Falling Stars
Monday, July 11, 2005

I have a few long standing obsession in my life- and quite frankly I think obsessions are a healthy part of life (of course, considering what it is...).
I used to never really listen to music, even though I had been playing the piano for 10 years at the time. You would think a musician would be immersed in music. By the time I was 13, I started becoming interested in music on a listening level -but all of my friends had tons of CDs and were constantly talking about this song or that...and I had no idea where to start. Baby steps. Now music has turned into some what of an obsession. Not the obsession kind "that-oh-my-goodness-I-can't-live-without-this", but the kind where if I find a great album or an awesome song I will listen to it for about 3 weeks straight, minimum of 5 times a day. I remember the time when I listened to "Let Go" by Frou Frou 20 times in one day (no joke). These great albums or amazing songs have like a trance like affect on me. The more I listen to them, the more I get carried away- away from reality, from problems at school, social problems, global problems, etc. You forget about everything except the moment, and if this one song can give you 'that moment' again and again (and again...), then I have to listen to it.
Right now I'm obsessed with Natasha Bedingfield's song "Unwritten". The words are inspiring, but when listened to the song itself is moving.
http://www.streaming-clips.com/videoclips/2198/Natasha-Bedingfield/Unwritten.php

I found a link of the music video to the song. I never saw the music video before (it's interesting...), but in general I don't like music videos because I like to experience the music myself-however my mind accepts. Music videos define the song, limiting it in a way. Anyway, enjoy the MUSIC (not the video...)

"Unwritten"
I am unwritten, can't read my mind, I'm undefined
I'm just beginning, the pen's in my hand, ending unplanned
Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find

Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it inNo one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten

Oh, oh, oh

I break tradition, sometimes my tries, are outside the lines
We've been conditioned to not make mistakes, but I can't live that way

Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find
Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins

Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten

Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find

Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins

Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten
The rest is still unwritten
The rest is still unwritten
Oh, yeah, yeah
3:05 PM

2 Falling Stars
Saturday, July 09, 2005

What an awesome day. In the morning i went to an art gallery exhibiting one of our family friend's art work. It inspired me so much that i wanted to drag my art easel up to my room and set it up. It also got my brain thinking of a few more potential paintings.
After the art gallery, my mom and I drove down to San Francisco to Pier 39 and Ghiradelli. We sat by the ocean eating clam chowder and crab sandwiches. Yum. The weather was delightful, which is rare for San Francisco.
The interesting thing is one conversation we had on the ride back home. My mom asked me if 3 years ago, when we were in Russia, I had talked to my aunt about living abroad in Russia or working in Russia in the future. I told her I didn't think so, or that I possibly just didn't remember. She was slightly astonished. She proceeded to tell me that when she was having a conversation in a cafe with one of my aunt's friend's, my aunt had told this friend earlier that she had found out about a high-paying job, specifically geared towards Americans where they do international work and live in Moscow. My aunt had said 3 years ago that she would like to set it up so that I could work there in the future.
I had known nothing about this; and my aunt hadn't spoken of this with my mom because back then my mom would've had a heart palpitation with thoughts of me moving to Russia.
Ironically (or not), I am now studying to get my International Relations degree, become a lawyer (most likely concentrate on International Law) and head on out back to the Mother Land (Russia for those of you who don't know...). I miss my aunt. My mom broke down in the car. She's so strong though; she quickly wipes those tears away, and thinks about the good memories we shared with her sister.
Could my aunt have forseen my future?
11:04 AM

2 Falling Stars
Friday, July 08, 2005

SOCHI!

The jet lag is starting to catch up with me, but we must visit our last destination- SOCHI!
This is where I was born, and when I visited 10 years ago I thought that the city was so big and so amazing. Even 3 years ago I still was amazed by the city, but this time I felt as though I had out grown a doll house. Maybe it's because Sochi used to be a resort, and now it has turned more into an actual city.
About 400,000 inhabitants reside in Sochi, and it's a beautiful city on the Black Sea. Sochi,itself is known for its Sanitoriums, which are kind of like hotels with medical corpuses that are lined upon the beach. Most people take a month off and live in these sanitoriums; for a month they work on their health- from eating lifestyles to physical health.

Russian Fact: Russian people drink tea obsessively! You wake up, what is the first thing you do before eating breakfast? You drink tea! Russian people drink tea about 5-6 times a day. In Sochi, it gets really hot and humid in the summer, but you still better drink your tea!

In Russia almost everybody lives in apartments; only rich/wealthy people live on the outskirts of town in houses.


In Sochi I spent all of my time with family- even though it was chaotic. Our trip to Sochi was supposed to be us supporting my grandparents and cousin after the death of my aunt. Unfortunately most of the trip was spent arguing about her will and the gravestone. I was glad to see my grandma; even though we rarely see each other we have a very special connection. We understand each other and she tells me about all of the family secrets that everybody hides from each other. She was different though...which is understandable since she lived through the death of her daughter.
Everyday, in Sochi is a celebration. Music is playing, people are walking around, and on the weekends there are fireworks over the sea. Sochi, considered Russia's third capitol, is a small gem nestled on the Black Sea.
This is my little expose on Sochi and my travels to Russia...I'll post my webshots pictures of Sochi when I get them up...Hope you enjoyed traveling with me :)
2:10 PM

8 Falling Stars
Thursday, July 07, 2005

Hello World Part Two

I have webshots, and since Blogger is being retarded right now about posting pictures...I'm going to post the St.Petersburg pictures on webshots for now:

http://community.webshots.com/album/388946864soPNdb

ENJOY!
5:01 PM

3 Falling Stars
What a trip. I am officially back from Russia, and once again I have fallen in love all over again with the culture, the people, and the way of life- even though it is so drastically different. Second, Moscow, the best city in the world is now in a tie for first place with St. Petersburg. Moscow is fast, modern, and has a sense of rawness to it. St. Petersburg is classial, calm, and in general more European. The city was named after Peter, the Apostle, but interchangeably it is thought to be named for Peter the Great.Peter the Great wanted the city's buildings to seem as if they were lined up for a parade, and upon initially arriving and walking around the city the buildings were slightly intimidating. You feel so small because they are all about 50 ft. high and all in a row. Second, all of the buildings are in classical European/Russian architecture of the 16th, 17th century. The city is magical.

Before I take off talking about St.Petersburg, I want to mention a few things about Russian culture. Russian is very loud and European- but there is no uniform fashion. Everybody wear bright colors, jeans with different embellished designs, and outfits that are really unique. Another thing, is that in Russia you walk EVERYWHERE. It's insane, because you could end up walking like 6 hours in one day, and your feet are just falling off by the end of the day. So naturally, everybody is really in shape, and when girls where short shirts to show off their stomachs it looks really good because most of them have flat stomachs or even stomach muscles. I didn't see almost any fat people, except only old grandmas (but hey, you can't expect much from them at that age...). The people here are really attractive too ( i don't think it's just because i'm Russian that i'm saying that, but who knows...)In St. Petersburg, since it's a HUGE city, it's starting to have visible influences of the West reflect in its culture. For example, I saw Subway, KFC, McDonalds, and Pizza Hut. When I looked at their menus they were slightly different though. Russian style cafes or deli's aren't that good, because they only sell Russian food that they heat up in a microwave for you. For example, they would sell beet salad or cabbage salad in a quick cafe type place. I don't know about you, but i would have to be in the mood to eat that, even though i love Russian food. The restaurants were good, but in general food in America is MUCH more appetizing...but then again that's why everybody is so fat. It's better to go to the market place and buy fresh vegetables, bread, and cheese which are SO fresh and SO good.Another difference from America, is that the youth are ery open with their public affection towards each other. In America it seems people are more reserved to kiss in public or be affectionate. In Russia, it's actually really refreshing to see that, because it's so natural and genuine; seeing people hold each other affectionately sitting in a park or walking through the city fosters a sense of freeness and uninhibitedness. Another thing, is that Americans have this thing about personal space, where if a person gets too close to their face they start to feel uncomfortable. In Russia, people always hug and when greeting a friend you are expected to kiss them on the cheek.The sad thing about Russia though, is that a majority of the youth drink heavily and smoke excessively. We would be walking around the city, and we would see 11 year olds smoking. Most of the youth have a very bleak future, and even a college education won't necessarily get them a good job.
Okay, on to St.Petersburg...

The Winter Palace is where the Emperor's used to reside. In front of the palace is a huge square where people can walk, rollerblade, and even ride a carriage for fun. The finest gold, jewels and architecture embellish the buildings.
After the Winter Palace, we went to Petergof; this is where Peter loved to stay the most. One can only reach Petergof by boat, crossing Finland's Bay. It's hard to describe these places because the beauty is incredible, and everything had to be fit for an Emperor so you can imagine how the gold sparkles and how beautiful the parks are.

The next day we went to the Hermitage which is inside the Winter Palace. We had a personal tour guide to direct us to important paintings, exhibits and sculptures. The inside of the Hermitage was astounding! Gargantuan crystal chandliers hung from the ceilings, equisite architecture was carved out of different minerals and everythings was covered in gold ( i guess you can start getting the drift of this city...practically everything is embellished in gold). The guide said that the Hermitage was not an interior museum, meaning that it didn't hold royal furniture, but they still had some things like the emperor's throne and other furnishings. (I have no idea who this kid is trying to pose in my picture)

Later that evening we went to an awesome Ballet. I just wanted to mention one thing about the theaters. Almost every theater has a huge seating area for the Emperor. So if you can just imagine, you bought a seat to watch a ballet or performance, and not too far away from you is sitting the Emperor. Naturally, now those seats are the most expensive in the house since there is no more emperors/czars in Russia, but that seat is considered the best viewing position in the theater.

I think one of the most astounding places that we visited was the Isakovsky Cathedral. I think one of the most amazing things about Russia is that the cathedrals are magnificent! They are great tributes of architecture to the city. In general, Russian are pretty spiritually aware; just about everyone wears a cross (now whether its genuine or not is up to the person...) The majority of the Russian population claim to be Orthodox, and there is a great reverence to spiritual things. If you go into a monastery a woman has to wear a head covering and a skirt to show respect and not be a distraction.

So this is a short synopsis of my time spent in St.Petersburg. It's nice being back home in America, although I really still want to be in Moscow or St.Petersburg. Who knows? Maybe i'll move out there in the near future. I love the culture, the people, the life of a Russian. The only thing is that regardless of Russia's beauty, you don't feel safe there. With the increasing uncertainty in the world, such as terrorist attacks, you want to be secure and live in a place that you won't be harmed. I hope you guys saw a glimpse of the beauty in Russia, and next I will post about Sochi, Russia!


NOTE** my computer is being really retarded right now, so I will have to post pictures later. I would never deprive you guys of that!
3:48 PM

2 Falling Stars

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