A short breather…





Class is over for the day, but this is only a short breather. Tonight we leave for St. Petersburg! Most of the MiM group will be spending the next three days in Petersburg, touring the Hermitage, some museums, and checking out the cultural center of Moscow. Apparently, Euler is buried there, so maybe I’ll go and pay my respects to one of the most famous guys in math. We’ll be leaving sometime around midnight (a dreadful idea, if you ask me), but the train ride should take at least 8 hours, so hopefully I’ll catch a decent amount of sleep.

The adventures have slowed down a bit now that school is in full swing. I’ve mostly spent my time studying and doing homework. Lured by some ridiculous ambitions, I thought I could handle 4 math classes and the Russian class, but Calculus on Manifolds fell by the way side. I didn’t even get a chance to start the homework. But the three I’m sticking with are awesome (topology, basic algebra, and complex analysis). Topology will definitely be my favorite, but it is also the hardest. We just learned about the Covering Homotopy Property, abbreviated CHP (ahh California…).

This past Saturday, we did take a bus tour of Moscow. We got to see the Cathedral of Christ the Savior up close and we even went inside (unfortunately no pictures allowed inside). We also went to a hill where you can get a panoramic view of the city, it was really amazing. This was also my second or maybe third time going to Red Square. I got some decent pictures of St. Basil’s Cathedral and some of the most interesting buildings around that we couldn’t see last time because of the Military Music event.

On a more personal note, I’ve really come to enjoy living in a non-English speaking environment. I love the fact that I get to practice my Russian almost all the time and am constantly learning new things. But at the same time, today for some reason I realized how exhausting it is. There is a nontrivial amount of mental effort required for almost everything. This has definitely given me an appreciation for those that move to the US with little knowledge of English. I can now imagine what a tremendous task it is having to arrange your life, take care of errands, and find your way in a world that you can barely understand. Maybe because of this, and I also think because I’m so tired from school, I was particularly missing home today.

I will post again when we get back from St. Petersburg. Hopefully with many pictures and interesting stories.