Tuesday, March 26, 2002

i don't know what's wrong with me -- i half feel like i have mono. everywhere i go, i get tired. anne made fun of me in budapest because whenever i had a drink i started to droop. even the other nite at the spanish bar, sipping the strongest and smallest white russian i've ever had, my eyes kept slipping shut. maybe it's just that i've been ononon: first midterms with ben here; then two nites on andrea's floor playing tour guide; then budapest; then immediately st. petersburg. i think i'm approaching saturation, which isn't good considering i have still have russia to go. it's been much seeing new things, and maybe what's more exhausting, talking to new people. that's why parties at the barn tended to put me to sleep. social interaction knocks me out. at least recently.

i'm at a computer in the hermitage right now, as huge gorgeous and ornate as we'd been led to expect. the exterior is one of the most beautiful buildings in st. petersburg, catharine the great's winter palace. i can't help but wonder, as i appreciate, that's it's odd that the country, or at least our guide, seems so proud of these romanoff relics. one room alone had twenty-four chandeliers. isn't that representative of the excesses that sparked the revolution in the first place? people are still starving: couldn't you pawn a table of lapus lazuli or two and finance some public works programs? why didn't the revolutionaries do that, anyway, when they had socialism on the brain?

last nite we saw our first ballet. since i'm unfamiliar with ballet, i don't know if my issues with it were related more to the performance (an uninspired Esmerelda) or the dance itself. there isn't much room for personal interpretation or thought: since the communication and storytelling is all nonverbal, it's exaggerated, symbolic, archetypal. you think, watching it, essentially the same things everyone thinks. sure, it's pretty, but there isn't much else to it, i feel, unless you have a deep knowledge of ballet and can understand what hard work it is keeping on your toes like that.

passover starts tomorrow. i apologize. i think that's the root of my sudden onset of malaise. i don't like being away from home on passover. worse, i spend the first night on a train. we're going to try to find a seder but there are no guarantees. ah well. someone eat some macaroons for me, wouldja? (hey ben, remember, a year ago i was pulling my hair out in fear and stress cuz you were about to meet my family? memories.)

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