Reading, writing, and walking around in St. Petersburg

Saturday, April 29, 2017

I've been in St. Petersburg for about a week now. This is the fourth time I've researched here. The first was in 2002, when I came here for two months as a second-year PhD student for language training and exploratory research in the archive. I returned for three months in 2004 during the course of an academic year spent in Russia under the auspices of a Fulbright student grant, most of which was spent in Kazan. And then, in June of 2010, I spent a month here after finishing up my first year at Montana State, doing supplemental research for my dissertation that ended up going into Turks Across Empires. So, up until the moment that I stepped off the night train from Moscow last Sunday morning, it had been nearly seven years since I'd set foot in this town. 

Moscow-Kazan-St. Petersburg

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Since getting back from Morocco two weeks ago, I've been pretty busy. Mainly, I've been finishing up work in the archives where I've been working in Moscow, but I also managed to head down to Kazan last weekend for a short visit. 

Bauman Street in Kazan

A quick break: Morocco

Thursday, April 13, 2017

I'd been in Moscow for six months, and it was time to leave the country. According to the terms of my visa, I need to exit Russia at least once every six months, even if only to turn around and immediately head back. At the same time, however, the Fulbright grant that brought me to Russia makes allowance for up to two weeks out of the country, and we're encouraged to make use of it. 

So, I decided to take their advice. 

Arriving in Marrakesh  

Emerging from winter...

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

I woke up the other day from a dream. It was a version of the classic student dream that many people have, the one where it's the day of your final exam and you haven't been to class all semester and don't know where the exam is being held, and one hurdle after another emerges to stymie all efforts to get to where you need to go.

Only in the version of the dream I'd had, it was the first day of class. I had suddenly realized that I was supposed to teach that day, but had done no preparation, had made no copies of the syllabus, let alone write one, and had not even ordered books for the class yet. And where was I when it occurred to me, in this dream, that I had to go to school and teach? A banya, of course. 

Fortunately, I soon woke up from this nightmare to realize that I was safe and sound in my apartment in Moscow, still six months away from the beginning of my next class. Nevertheless, I found the symbolism apt. A Russian bath probably would be the best place to realize that the school year had started without me.