For some reason my internet connection at home has been slow a lot lately. Like, painfully, impossibly slow. I wonder if the building’s security guards are taking up all the bandwith by downloading porn films or something.

It’s May 13 and buds are only just appearing on the trees. Everyone tells me this is an unusually cold spring. I just hope it gets warm before it gets cold again.

In the irony department, in the last week or two posters have appeared in the subway advertising “Bolshoi Brat” — the Russian version of the TV show Big Brother. Everything comes full circle.

Monday was Victory Day, and Kostia and I observed it thoroughly, traversing central St. Petersburg three and a half times on foot. The Victory Day parade was pretty moving, at least when the veterans marched by with their medals pinned to their chests and the crowd chanted “SPA-SI-BO!” (thank you). But, because it’s impossible to separate the victory in WWII from the legacy of Stalin and the Soviet Union, there was a lot of hammer-and-sickle stuff around that was earnest rather than kitchy. A lot of recent polls indicate that Russian public opinion contains a lot of disturbing revisionist history.

Anyway, after the parade I baked a Victory Cake (using an egg- and milk-free recipe developed during WWII), and Kostia and I met up with several friends to eat it, drink Soviet brand champagne, and watch the fireworks on the embankment of the Neva. The fireworks show was one of the best I’ve ever seen. After that we all went to a bar called Dacha, where an American DJ was spinning a most excellent mix of songs I’d forgotten about. Yes, it was a well-spent holiday.

Just a few weeks left before British Kindergarten ends for the summer. It dawned on me recently that ever since I finished grad school, I’d been telling myself that I needed to get a job with an academic schedule, and now I’ve finally got one. I’ll probably teach some private English lessons this summer, but mostly I’m going to spend more time on my Russian, travel a bit, and spend the White Nights staying up late, getting drunk, and sleeping in, because, well, I can. Yes, I do know how freaking lucky I am. No one can say that I don’t fully appreciate my good fortune.

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