The time has come for us to leave Russia and move on to our next post. We are bringing with us boxes and boxes of Russian souvenirs (perhaps too many!), photos of places we visited, and memories of people we’ve met and of things we’ve done. And even though all of those mementos will do their job of reminding us of our times in St Petersburg, Russia, I still feel I need a final touch to complete my Russian experience. I need my “What will I miss” list.
I first wrote this list when we were leaving Argentina and I am glad I did. Because every time I read it now memories of my life in Buenos Aires take on especially vivid colors. As human beings we tend to replace old memories with the new ones and so recollections of a country, where you were awhile ago, will most certainly fade to make room for the new ones. And that’s where the “What will I miss” list comes in handy. It makes that long-gone experience alive for you all over again. I suggest you do it for each place you leave behind too!
So here is my list about St Petersburg, in no particular order:
• I will miss the beautiful white nights when memories of a harsh and grey winter disappear as fast as the speedboat to Peterhoff and when you suddenly feel you can live in this city forever.
• I will miss our trips to the Mariinski and the Mikhailovski and the Philarmonics and the Capella and the … I can go on and on. I will miss the fact that in this city you can go to a high quality performance every day.
• I will miss the New Years celebrations – the time when the city is transformed into a magical fairytale where Ded Moroz (the Father Frost) and Snegurochka (the Snow Maiden) are the main characters. I will miss the optimisim in people’s eyes during that time and the omni-present “S nastupajuschim” (“Wishing you an upcoming holiday”).
• I will miss the beauty of the city where each building is not only an architectural wonder, but also a historical one.
• I will miss people’s dedication to remember the World War II and especially the Siege of Leningrad. I will miss the holiday of the 9th of May, when the whole city comes together to celebrate its survival after the war and to remember those people who perished. I know there is a lot of political exploitation of these events, but I am not going to remember them.
• I will miss some of the world’s greatest museums and I will miss seeing group after group of Russian children touring them with their schools.
• I will miss seeing the opening of the bridges on summer nights and I will miss the moment when the sun doesn’t disappear behind the horizon, but instead comes up as soon as it sets.
There are probably a few more things that I will miss and I can add them later. And, of course, there are things that I will not miss, but I am not going to try to remember them.
What about you? What would you miss when you leave the place where you are living now?
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