The view from Brad & Anne’s apartment of Kazan Cathedral and Dom Knigi, as well as the Griboedova Canal
Hello all! It is Saturday afternoon, and it is sunny and 64 F (17.78 C) outside. It feels amazing, especially after how hot it was the week or so before I left Phoenix (it got up to 109 F…which is 42.78 C).
I am staying with the wonderful Brad & Anne and their kids at their apartment on Nevksy & Griboedeva Canal until I find a place to live. It is definitely a blessing, saving me a lot of money on hostels!
Thus far I have mostly just been trying to adjust to the time difference and sleep off all of my jet lag so that I am well-rested for school next week. I have orientation on Monday afternoon, and then classes begin the following day. I will be pursuing my master’s degree in Russian & Eurasian Studies at European University at St. Petersburg. My thesis topic is not solid as of the moment, but my intention is to explore the radicalization of Muslim society in Chechnya and the Caucasus over a 20 year period from traditional Sufi Islam to radical Wahhabism, and its place in the international jihadi movement. This is a dangerous area, but I think that the study of it will really benefit my career.
Aside from sleeping, I have been reconnecting with old friends from when I lived here before and making new ones. I have been exploring the city on foot with my friend Will, who was in the CIEE program with me last spring, and my new friend Katherine, with whom we have a mutual friend in Melissa.
Will, Katherine & I enjoying the city
On Thursday afternoon alone, we walked approximately 8 miles, going everywhere from the Hermitage, to the Field of Mars, to Peter & Paul Fortress (final resting place of the Romanov family & other tsars) to Petrovskiy Stadium (home of Zenit)! My left knee is holding up fairly well after my arthroscopic surgery, but all of this walking is going to be rough. Hopefully once I start running more often, my legs will get stronger.
Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood
Peter & Paul Cathedral inside the fortress
Well, I wanted to just give all of you a quick update and show you some pictures while the weather is nice! I am looking forward to returning to Hope Church tomorrow morning for service, and for getting things going with school on Monday. Have a nice weekend!