Russia / St. Petersburg / Travel

4 weeks in, 12 weeks out


Today I awoke, like most days, to find that my host-mother is not home. Hosting students in Russia is seen very differently than in the states. My experiences with host-families and students from abroad in the states has always been positive. American families host students out of generosity. These families usually have empty rooms, kids in high school or just out of school, they want to learn more about other countries or perhaps they had a friend do it and wanted to dive into it as well. In Russia, hosting a student is seen more like a side-job. These families, or host-mothers usually have kids who are already married and living elsewhere, but have a need for an additional source of income. While this is obviously a stereotype because it would be impossible for me to go into detail about every host-family I had heard about while in Russia, it is a fact that Russian host-families do make money off of this venture.

That is not to say they don’t care about their host-students. On the contrary, my host-mother is always trying to make sure when I feel ill, I get healthy fast. However, this tends to be in very old-fashioned means. When I have a migraine, I am only to drink hot tea with at least 4 spoonfuls of sugar. I should never to drink anything cold. I need to always wear slippers in the house or I will get sick. When I am sick, I should not wash my hair (for it makes your head cold). While these are just a few, some of them are actually based on realities while others are just ridiculous.

Our host-mothers also worry that we are safe and careful, because the city can get dangerous.

On another note, today I am feeling better. I have been sick for the last week or so. I think I had the flu and now it appears I just have a cold. I woke up rather late today, 13:00. No one appears to be home. I’m not quite sure what to do about lunch, as I am hungry now.

Anyway, I need to get out of this apartment. Jessica has invited me to meet up with some Russian friends she met, at around 18:00. Maybe I will buy something at one of the many corner-stores on my way out.

Russians tend not to stock up a lot on food. They generally buy what they need for the day, or maybe a couple days. My host-mother goes to the store a few times a week. Sometimes even just to pick up something small. But because of this, everything is always fresh.

Other great things about Russia definitely include their attitude towards everything. Though it can get annoying at times, how even the simplest things may take forever to be accomplished, it is very relaxing. I make plans and meet up with friends at no particular time. We make no specific plans and just go wherever we feel. It is normal to not know what time you will be home at, or what time dinner will be served. People do not live on schedules. They do whatever they need to do then leave the rest of it for later. I feel like people truly live their lives here as they wish. I really feel like I have more freedom than I have had in a long time. It’s nice to not have to worry about being late or about having a plan.

Until next time,

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