Each month, I select three daily goals that I aim to hit each day (thanks to my favorite Nomatic planner). Over the past 12 months, one of those daily goals has been “Russia” and all the related work involved. Between job searching, visa applications, and language acquisition, I’ve checked the “Russia” box consistently for a year.
We’re here now. The visa work is done, I passed the migration test, and I know enough of the language to survive and buy coffee.
Entering this autumnal season forced me to reflect more on my daily goals for the month. Bible reading and working out still made the list but I decided to swap out “Russia” with a more reflective ritual that I’d like to incorporate into my daily life in the long-term: Going on walks.
This is a bit of a cop-out goal because we have no car here so I have to walk everywhere but there are still days when I don’t have any real need to leave the apartment. Luke and I love walking together, but I haven’t done a lot of solo adventures so I was excited about this opportunity to slow down every day, put my phone away, and simply exist for a bit while strolling around. Here’s a little taste of Saint Petersburg in the fall.
My background beat is the steady beep of the pedestrian crossing lights, mixed with rustling wind in the rows of trees that line each street and the little ones screaming in delight when their babuska shakes a leaf off the tree for them.
I see schoolchildren on scooters in their uniforms and moms holding onto little hands while balancing bulging bags of groceries. The golden orb of an Orthodox church breaks the backdrop of shades of white clouds.
When the wind blows my scarf from my head to my shoulders, my velcro hair rushes to cover my ears from the crisp air. Leaves fly across the path, much to the frustration of a worker raking, although you wouldn’t know it by her face.
I pass cafe after cafe and mentally gamble with myself about whether I’ll go in and try to order something complicated. I usually chicken out and find a bench for reading since that doesn’t require me to speak Russian.
Now that temperatures are flirting with the freezing line, my walks have a different flavour and feel. Tune in next time for “Saint Petersburg in the Not Quite Winter but It Sure Feels Like It”