tomorrow i am going to one of my late hometowns – saint-petersburg. four and a half hours by train from moscow and i’m there, greeted and hosted by a good friend. it took me many years to straighten out my relationship with the city. i hated it and the city hated me. i didn’t have friends and felt out of place. factor in my yearning to go back to germany and you’ll probably begin to see how unsettling it was for me to live there.
then, one day one year things changed. i went to america on a scholarship for a year and came back a different person. i suddenly had a community. i had friends. i got my first real job where i was with people whom i respected and who understood and esteemed me. i also started aikido and was almost literally devoured by it. i met more interesting people through practices, the kind i’d never dealt with before, and i liked it that i could find common ground with them. little by little, that’s how my coexistence with the city evolved. emotional ties sprang up. i became more at ease with my environment and began to see the good things in it. and while i never came to fall in love with st.petersburg, the city has certainly woven a nest in my heart.
that said, i’m off for a weekend of typical spb white nights activities (typical for me, anyway) like walking along canals after midnight with a friend, going to a beach on the gulf of finland, enjoying good company and the warm weather, having red wine, and talking, talking, talking, catching up… cheerio and see you next week!