|One of my favorite views of the city, Kanal |
Griboedova, looking toward the Church of the
Savior on Spilled Blood.
Since I'm living with a host family and eating lunch at the university cafeteria, I am literally not feeding myself a single meal for the next six weeks. Luckily, my host mother feeds me relatively balanced meals that include a fair amount of vegetables for the typical Russian table. The problem mostly lies in the quantity of food I am served, and the cultural associations that come with saying no to second helpings, large helpings, and sweets after dinner.
|Russian-style campfire on the Gulf of Finland:|
Hot dogs, toast, cheese, and veggies!
The typical Russian meal consists of three to four courses: soup (usually meat based, but can also be a vegetable based borscht) with bread, salad (summer salads are often tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers in olive oil), the main course (often a meat with a starch or carb, such as potatoes, rice, or macaroni) and dessert/tea. It is hard to get around leaving any one of these courses off the menu!
But I'm not new to Russia. I knew all of this before I came here and I came armed with a plan. I joined the gym next to my apartment as soon as I could after arriving, and now, in the third week of my eight week trip, I'm finally settling into some semblance of a workout routine... It can be hard to get to the gym here because I am often physically and mentally exhausted after a day of prattling in Russian, not to mention that I don't have a huge amount of free time to spare.
There's also the language question. I love going to group fitness classes, but attending a group fitness class in Russian, while my comprehension is quite good, can still leave my brain quite numb after class.
And, lastly, there's the fact that Russian women aren't truly hardcore gymgoers. They often wear makeup and jewelry when working out. They rarely wear functional clothes. And the guys at the gym are, as they are called in Russian, such "muzhiki" (the Russian equivalent of redneck tough guy) that I feel more than a little out of place, more than a little of the time.
BUT I SHALL PREVAIL.
I already feel content with the frequency of my workouts, now I just need to up the intensity. While hopping on the treadmill or elliptical a half hour a day may work at home where I drink green smoothies and eat cleanly, here, where I frequently overindulge, it is not going to cut it.
Some of you might think that "not overindulging" is the answer here, but I do not intend to spend the next six weeks of my life (what is likely my last long trip to Saint Petersburg for some time) saying, "no, I can't eat that, no, I can't drink that, no, I would rather eat this cucumber than the delicious homecooked meal you have prepared for me."
Really, this is just an extension of my daily eating philosophy to a different continent. Everything in moderation...it's just that moderation is defined differently here.
|Not my champagne bottle!|
I spotted this on the street, likely left in the wake
of a wedding celebration. :)