Some thoughts on the Olympics

So, in case you hadn’t noticed, the Olympics are a thing that is happening in Russia right now. Honestly, I expected them to be a bigger deal here in Petersburg than they seem to be, but it could also just be that I don’t have any Russian friends yet outside of my host family. I mean, I see it all over TV (basically every other commercial is somehow Sochi-related) and there was a big “countdown” installation somewhere on Nevskiy Prospekt (that as of last Saturday was counting down from 34 days, which confused me), but there doesn’t seem to be much else in the air, that I’ve noticed anyway. 

Some kids from my program went out to watch the opening ceremony at a bar somewhere tonight, but I decided not to go with them. Not because I was scared of being identified as an American (I feel like most of the time, it’s pretty darn obvious anyway) but because the last time we went out as a big group I just felt like we were invading any space we walked into with our American-ness, and it made me somewhat uncomfortable. I might go watch some of the events in public venues to get a sense of the Russian Olympic spirit, but I was okay with sitting this one out. Anyway, it also meant I got to watch the opening ceremonies with my host family, which was a treat. 

My host-mom’s daughter, was over with her baby again, and provided excellent running commentary to the events. “Я, Россия? Don’t they know this is an international event?” “What are these people in shorts doing? It’s f***** winter!” “Is that Yanukovych? Isn’t he supposed to be “ill” somewhere?” “Guess that girl next to Putin didn’t get the dress-code memo.” “Yes mom, tell us what it was like back in the USSR when everyone only wore red.” It was quite entertaining. She also shared some rumors about Putin’s personal life which I hadn’t heard before.

My favorite part of the opening ceremonies was, of course, the ballet based on the ball scene in War and Peace. I just started re-reading it (I started it when I was 13 and read exactly half before giving up) and am on page 86/1074. Wish me luck. 


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