Rotary Club of Portland: Service Above Self


An Update from Youth Exchange Student Piper

So.... RUSSIA!!!!! It's only the most amazing place ever!! It is just so beautiful!!! And everyone is so nice, and helpful, and everyone wants to show you everything!!! 

Epigraph! I am only attending school Epigraph and it is great! There is only 5 kids in my class, which I thought I would hate, but I love it. They are all so nice and they help me and Joaquin a lot with our Russian. And because we are such a small group it means we can go on little field trips a lot! And we are all starting to become actual friends which is very nice!

I have been to a ridiculous amount of museums! They are great, but now I am trying to find other things to do because museums are starting to get boring, I think I have been to the Hermitage 3 times in 1 month. ( the Hermitage actually doesn't get boring) ( just museums about restoring churches get realllllly boring) 

I havn't been able to find dance here yet. Not because it's hard, or there are no dance studios, but because I just never have time. I am always doing something here. Like ALWAYS. My host mom said once that if you are bored in Saint Petersburg it is because you are trying with all of your might to be bored. 
Rotary! The Saint Petersburg White Nights are great! They are always asking JoaquĆ­n and I to do thing with them, and to present 5 new Russian words we learned during the week. 
Rotary in Novgorod was also really great! They took us to a night club for halloween, WHICH WAS AWESOME!!!!!!!

History here is so cool! I have learned more about WWII here in 1 month, than in all my years of school in the US. It is a really tragic topic for Saint Petersburg, because they were surrounded and their food supply was cut off, so many people died of starvation and the cold. While it is very sad it is also something that really unifies SPB because everyone was affected by it in some way or another so people can come together and celebrate the lives that were lost to protect their own and to protect this beautiful city. 

Communism. So I was really confused at first, because I went to a metro station that had a giant, and I mean GIANT hammer and sickle. I was really confused because I was thinking... Waiiiit isn't that a bad thing? But no it's not. It's just another thing that happened in Russian history that you still see parts of in modern Russia. You don't see any communism, but you do see lots of cool things left from the soviet era. My history teacher was talking with me as we were passing some soviet buildings and he said something like: Many people think that soviet Russia was bad and that we should all dislike that part of our history, but no, we should love that part of our history because no other country in the world has a soviet era, and I know that it makes my country unique.

Russian language! I was really scared that I wouldn't learn very fast because the language is so hard and my host mom is a Russian/ English translator... BUT I AM DOING AWESOME! I mean sure my grammar is bad, and I don't have a huge vocabulary, but I understand so much! I can go to the store and buy things by myself, I can speak with Elena by myself, I can order coffee by myself! It is such a great feeling knowing I can do these things!!!

Ok! So I really want to help get more kids to chose Russia. So can I help out team Russia by making a short video? I have interviewed all the exchange students here about their favorite thing about Russia and that kind of stuff. 

Now I will go eat blini, and try to get over this cold! 

Best wishes!

Categories: News