Saturday was a camp-wide “Parents Day” here at Green City Children’s Camp. For the kiddos, this meant a day with mom and pop, who came bearing all sorts of goodies from home. For me, it meant a day off a trip into St. Petersburg. On the way to the station I was once again an unintentional hitchhiker when I funny little old man slowed down next to me and told me that I he would drive me to the station. In this part of Russia one can be a hitchhiker completely unintentionally. Just walk along the road and someone going that way will probably pick you up and take you where you want to go. Especially when you’re like me and the only places you are ever going to are the train station and the grocery store in Pobeda. Plus, those Russian men just can’t stand to see a young lady walking all alone along a crooked highway. For the short duration of that car ride you have suddenly made a new friend who extremely curious about who you are, where you come from, and what you happen to be doing in this neck of the woods. Sometimes your new friend even has some words of wisdom to share with you. “You know, it’s really great that you can speak several languages,” this nice grandpa started as we neared the station. “It’s easier on the soul when you can understand everyone,” he finished. I nodded and agreed. And he really was right. It’s okay to not understand for a few days or even a couple of weeks while on holiday somewhere, but when you are going to work and live closely with people for the better part of the summer it really would be hard to live in a world of language that goes in one ear and straight out the other.
I didn’t realize how excited I would be to be in the city again until I got off the train at Finlandskij Vokzal. My first mission of the day was to find the bus station from where my bus to Riga will leave next week. It was very simple to find, but I’m glad that I know for sure where I must go on Friday. When I had successfully completed that task I headed back towards the center to buy a few things, eat some lunch, and connect to wifi for a short bit. I then headed to meet up with a girl I met during my first week in Peter and an afternoon and early evening of fun began! We met up in the center and went to meet some other friends were gathered in a park, attempting to have a picnic. I say attempting because most of the day it was rainy on and off. We weren’t in the park long when it became clear that the weather wasn’t going to get any better anytime soon and the decision was made to move the merrymaking to an indoor location. It was a little bit awkward bringing all of the picnic supplies into the bar (especially the giant pot of fruit salad), but the staff at the bar was really chilled out. Beer was ordered for the whole table and we sat around sipping, sharing stories, and having many a good laugh. It was definitely some much-needed social interaction! After a little bit Grace pulled out her “Coloring Book for Grown Ups” and crayons and things got really silly. I wasn’t certain of the train schedule back to camp, so I left for the station around 7 PM. The next train wasn’t until 8:36, but it was a fast train, so I was in luck. I walked around in the neighborhood near the train station to kill some time and before I knew it, the train was ready for boarding. The area near the train station is actually a really nice part of the city and there is a big Lenin Square with lots of fountains, flowers, and benches. By the time the train arrived at my station the storm clouds had cleared and it was a very nice summer evening for a walk back to camp. I was actually glad no one offered to give me a ride because I really wanted to have a nice long walk. Back at camp I finished my lesson plans for the next day and called it a night!
Today it was back to teaching and camp life, but it was a very good day. All of the lessons went well and rounding up the kiddos for class was a bit easier than usual. I think the sunshine had everyone in better moods. I found out that one boy from my third group decided to go home with his parents after yesterday and that he won’t be coming back. Apparently this is his 5th year at this camp and he just wasn’t having fun this year. I can imagine that a lot is probably the same from year to year and 5 years is a lot of years to go to the same summer camp. I’m sure his parents weren’t too terribly pleased about it after paying for both the camp and English classes, but all the same he packed his bags and said goodbye to camp a week early. I, on the other hand, don't seem to have a dull moment here and after an early evening downpour the skies cleared and I spent a fun evening with some of my girlies :)