I survived! Leaders from the world's major powers were all here this weekend, and it didn't even inconvenience me! That could be because I didn't do much - I only really left the dorm to check my email/chat with my buddies. I'm glad nothing happened. The special forces militia was making me nervous last week.
Anyway, I guess I should fill yall in with what did happen this weekend. Thursday was my last day with the guys from RISD (that's the Rhode Island School of Design, not Richardson Independent School District :-D). We had a nice little going away dinner - we rented out half of a little cafe and the staff of the youth center met us there. They even got their hands on some bottled wine (the shortage is starting to wane as they've finally released the new import stickers). We had every imaginable Russian dish heaped upon our table, and at the end of the meal the waiters brought out two MOUNTAINS (I'm being completely serious here) of ice cream. It was every little kid's fantasy come true. Aahh, so good.
After dinner, the youth center people and Elena said goodbye and went home, and I was left with my classmates to have a real goodbye. Elena arranged for me to have a cot in their dorm so that I wouldn't have to sleep on the floor again (good thinking, Elena - she knew perfectly well that I would want to hang out as much as possible with my buddies for their last night in Russia). After some debating we decided to hang out at the beach by the Peter and Paul Fortress. Unfortunately, after we bought our midnight picnic supplies and walked all the way over to Hare Island, the bridge was closed. This was especially odd since none of the bridges were going to raise this weekend (the ports are all closed for the summit, making the nightly bridge-raisings rather pointless). We decided to just have a seat on the embankment instead, and spent a good hour just talking and lamenting the fact that they would be leaving in the morning. Quite early in the morning, in fact. At that point, two of the girls decided to go back to the dorm to get some sleep. The rest of us, convinced that we were invincible and struck by the novelty of the fact that the bridges, for once, would not keep us from getting home at a somewhat reasonable hour (meaning before dawn) we set out for one last trip to the center of town.
It was a glorious end to the program in my book. I just hope that I get to visit some of them soon. I think I roadtrip to New England is in order for next spring.
I woke up early with the group on Friday and saw them off, then went back to my dorm and slept until late in the day. What else was I going to do? I wanted to stay as far from the center of town as possible. I went out to dinner with Lindsay (the American roommate) and a couple of our Polish friends from the dorm, who were leaving on Saturday. Other than I just sat and read more most of the evening. Saturday wasn't much different - though in the evening I went to the "beach" near my place with Lindsay and two of our neighbors - Charles, from Paris, and Stephan, from Switzerland (the German-speaking part). I put beach in quotations because it's more of a used-asphault dumping ground. But the sunset was very pretty (yes, we were out there that late), and a storm was coming in, so it was really cool and windy.
Yesterday was another lazy day. I went to a few DVD shops and ate lunch at some cafe, but didn't really do anything of any great importance. I talked to Liam and heard his tales of adventure from Mumbai (if you are one of our mutual friends, you need to read his blog).
Today I had my last class with Elena Romanovna, as I go back to group sessions starting tomorrow...at 9.30. It's going to be hard to get up. But then I didn't get much sleep last night (I have a bit of a cold), so maybe I'll get to bed early tonight. We'll see.
Hannah - out (for now, anyway).