24 September 2007


School this year starts an hour earlier than it did last year. I'm glad. It means we get home a half hour earlier. I'm all in favor of changes that allow me to have more of a life outside of school.

Starting earlier naturally means I leave the house earlier. I don't see the same people on my morning commute. I don't see the mousy woman--mousy of hair and demeanor--who wears the brown coat and hurries to work in her worn, low heels (by Russian standards they're low...but I'd never attempt to run in them). She'll run a few steps and then walk a few steps. I've never figured out if she is perpetually late (in which case why didn't she leave earlier?) or this was her exercise (in which case, why wasn't she able to run further each day?). I don't see the man with the high-swinging briefcase anymore. And, the street cleaners on the bridge haven't started work when I'm walking across now. I miss these "friends" of mine. I used to be able to tell the time by who I saw at which part of the bridge. Now, the bridge is fairly empty.

One person I still see is my fisherman friend. He's out most days until the Neva freezes. We exchange good mornings and he is always smiling. Sometimes he tells me about what he's caught. One day he had an enormous fish and was just bursting with pride. Grinning ear to ear he held it up to show me from a block away. And, he said he'd caught an even bigger one (six kilos!) two days earlier. In a culture where smiling is frowned upon (What is there to smile about?) it's nice to have his smiling face greeting me each day.


Tami said...

He has a very contagious smile!

Tami said...

It's nice to have you back! :)

Rachael said...

Glad you're back. I was just checking up on you, thinking 'surely by now', and viola! a new Kate post.

You were missed. Hope you had a nice time in Finland and glad your internet is back too.

You are my vicarious link to my daughter's hometown so I love it when you tell colorful Russia stories.

I never left a response to you on your previous update about your home study. I kept meaning to, but I just didn't know what to say. Speechless, really.

votemom said...

i love this entry. love.it. more! more!

(i wonder what the mousey woman and the briefcase-swinging man thot of you as they passed you each morning... and i wonder if they wonder where you are...)

Anonymous said...

I love this too...tell us about the people you see and meet in St. Pete! It's so charming :)

6blessings said...

Glad you have someone to give you a smile everyday. That's great!

Maura said...

Such delightful images you've brought to life. And your fisherman friend even smiles with his eyes.

I love hearing about everyday life in St. Petersburg. :-)