Yesterday was my last day in St. Petersburg. I finished my last exam for the summer school, and the group went to a little reception at a nearby restaurant. I had to leave early so I could pack for the night train to Moscow, and as I was leaving, the most unexpected thing happened: I felt my eyes welling up.
There were 30 of us in the program. We were all acquaintances by chance and some of us became genuine friends by choice. Even though I only knew them for 2 weeks, it felt like much longer. I guess that’s what happens when you’re around the same people all the time: you bond much more quickly than normal. Add in the fact that none of us was very good in Russian and we were in a Russian-speaking country, and the bonding was even faster, from a survival standpoint if nothing else.
The program itself was not all of what I expected, but the city and the people were great, and it was an experience I’m glad I didn’t miss. Hopefully some of us can keep in touch via email and facebook, because I highly doubt our paths will cross again. In 10 years, it’s not going to be the boring lectures I remember, it’s going to be the experiences I had with the people I was lucky enough to meet (and, of course, the experiences with the people I could have done without meeting, lol)