Getting close to the end…

It’s been an absolutely wonderful and jam-packed last few days, all of which I will at some point recap on here, I suppose, but just not now. We basically haven’t slowed down much since Sunday night (ergo, a full week ago) and that’s caught up a bit with us today, I think. We went for a trip out to the Udel’naya flea-market this late morning, right after Mitja joined the ranks of the already departed. It was a pretty muggy day, so we didn’t stay too long and caught an afternoon nap before heading up to Shtolle for some coffee and a bit of delicious Russian fruit pie.

We’ve been lazing about the apartment ever since, with the exception of weathering a pretty spectacular thunderstorm that rolled through at around 6:30, and we’re probably going out for a late dinner at the exceptionally tasty Georgian restaurant around the corner from the apartment.

It’s fairly shocking that we board a plane back toward North America in less than 36 hours from now, but it’s been an absolutely full twenty-four days (for me) and ten days (for Steph), so there’s no major moping going on. Saint Petersburg is still a place I love dearly and there are a lot of people here, both itinerant and permanent that I hope remain a part of my life for as long as I draw breath.

There have been some unexpected challenges this year and that has made for an experience that is in some ways quite different from last year. I sort of alluded to them in an earlier post and that’s all I can say about them, so let’s just leave it at that. On the whole, though, it’s still an experience for which I am immensely grateful and which I hope to be able to continue having for some time to come. There are very few stretches of time in my working life that have felt as fully integrated and meaningful (if also wildly improvised at moments…) as these past two NYIs and I hope that what others get out of my efforts here is even a shadow of what I get out of it in return. I can’t flatter myself that it’s equal, though people tell me nice things and that admittedly feels pretty good.

With Stephanie here for the last few weeks this year, I’ve been less inclined to write on this blog and more inclined to go out and experience some of the things we did before again as well as find some new experiences. She’s also had a ton of new people to meet and interact with and that takes a lot of energy even when it’s fun, as it has overwhelmingly has been. We’re both pretty gassed, though, and it shows in today’s pace.

We’ve got some last-day running about to do tomorrow early in the day and then we need to pack and move out of the apartment (we’ll be stashing our stuff at John and Dijana’s for the evening until our 3 a.m. taxi to the airport arrives) before going out for one last evening of Petersburgian delights — a lecture, some drinks, perhaps one last glance of the bridges opening in the midnight hours — before our long transit back across the Atlantic on Tuesday. I’ll write out some of my thoughts and chronicles over the course of the next few weeks, but I don’t know that the quantity of posts will be like that of last year. For whatever reason, I’ve felt less like writing about this year’s, not because there’s been less about which to write, but mostly because I haven’t had the same inclination to burn the midnight oil in the good Russian writerly tradition. When I have had such time, I’ve largely been working on Maurice’s memoir, which has been good work, but time-consuming.

In short, don’t read anything into the fact that you’ve not been (compared to last year’s logorrhea) been reading anything. I’ll likely get to it in my own time, but it simply hasn’t happened yet, that’s all. Perhaps during out seven-hour layover in Frankfurt on Tuesday morning/afternoon, I’ll find the time to hammer out some prose to at least get the chronicle up through the second week, if not a bit further. Until we meet again, dear readers/friends…

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