Catherine's Palace and Finals

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

This past week has gone by so quickly that I hadn't even noticed that I didn't updated. Last week was the start of finals. I didn't have my first one until Friday but I think that went well. I had to write about Stalin's political objectives through collectivization. Very exciting. Saturday we had our excursion to Pushkin which is a town about an hour and a half away from St. Petersburg. This is where Catherine I had her palace. We wanted to visit Catherine's Palace earlier in the year to see the leaves change but I thought it was beautiful in the snow. While most of last week had been rainy, it changed to snow Friday night so there were a few inches of soft snow for our trip to Pushkin. The Palace was, of course, beautiful. It is amazing to see but when you've walked through the seventh golden room it becomes apparent why the people of Russia would rise up against the Emperor. I imagine that if they skimped on ONE of those rooms they could have fed the Russian people for a year and prevented their own downfall. I would never say no to a gold filled palace, but with the number of palace around Russia like that its hard to imagine how you could one up your neighbor and they all get a little repetitive. I wonder if the Tzars ever got bored of the palaces and their superfluous decorations. We also got to see the Amber Room which sadly was not as exciting as I imagined. It was actually one of the smaller rooms in the Palace. I guess it is just famous because of the story behind it. After touring the Palace we took a walk through the park. For some reason I always find the parks more interesting and beautiful than the Palaces themselves.

I spent most of Sunday studying for my Russian finals. Our final was split into two parts, the grammar that took place on Monday and then the Verbal that was today. I wasn't that worried about the grammar and I found out today that I got a 5. I was, however, very nervous for the verbal. For that we had to memorize and recite a poem, read a text, retell the text, and then talk about one of six topics we covered over the semester. Luckily the reading we got was easy and my teacher gave me what I though was an easier topic. The poem I've had memorized for a while. In class I have a hard time retelling the stories because my teacher will often interrupt me and tell me what to say. When I know what I want to say sometime I just need a minute to get it out. The interrupting usually just confused me and hurts more than helps. Luckily I didn't have that today and I think I did pretty well. I ended up getting 5s on all parts of that.

Today I started packing. I can't believe we're going home in four days.

Thursday is my final exam, Russian History from Kievan Russ to the Revolution. I'm not to worried about that but I will probably end up studying most of tomorrow.

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