So this is the start of it again. Another summer and another opportunity to travel that I did not expect. This summer makes it three years in a row that I’ve been given the opportunity to venture outside of my little world to go places that I only dreamed about seeing. It marks my third time visiting Russia, and my first time visiting Finland and Estonia.
I was lucky enough to be one of the recipients of the University of Virginia’s Summer Foreign Language Fellowships, which will allow me to travel to Vladimir, Russia for four weeks and Moscow for one week to continue improving my Russian and hopefully get a little research done. So why Vladimir? While Saint Petersburg will always be my city-my first little glimpse into Russia seven years ago, it’s time to experience a different version of Russia that is not Petersburg or Moscow. Plus, Suzdal, one of the neighboring towns, holds an annual cucumber festival. It’s really hard for me to turn down a chance to take part in something so awesome.
So I’m going to try my hand at blogging again. As anyone can see from my pitiful attempts below, I lost interest in keeping up with this thing when I was traveling around Russia and Europe in 2008. I probably should have made a second attempt last year, but it seemed like everyone on the ship had a blog going, and for reasons that even I don’t understand while I will spend hours of my life hunting down this season’s most popular Chanel limited edition nail polish in the name of being fashionable, I will dig my heels in and stubbornly resist trends like this.
Plus, I’ve had a private journal online since 2003 that I don’t share with the public, and I’ve been trying to get out of the mentality of just writing for myself. I wrote in that journal during my trips, but it’s probably best that I don’t share that journal with friends and family simply because it names names, and would only confirm my mother’s suspicions that I’m only inches away from being one of those people who lives in caves and composes manifestos.
So to Vladimir we go—with a few stops along the way first.