Baidi is arriving

Trip Start Feb 05, 2006
Trip End Jun 30, 2006

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Flag of Russian Federation  ,
Thursday, April 20, 2006

Depression is gone. I feel like I have lived in a black hole for the last months. Now I have recovered, however the dark shadows of being panic still rest inside my forehead.

Everyday I explore the city. Everyday I encounter something new. Everyday the sun is shining. Summer is coming to St Petersburg at a high pace. The days are getting longer. It is bright till half past ten. The sun rises at about 6:30 in the morning. People are spending their nights on the streets, carrying vodka bottles or beer cans, chatting with their friends, watching the waters of one of the many channels that divide the city into several islands. If u walk along the street by yourself, you won't stay alone very long. Somebody will invite you to drink or smoke.

The people at the dormitory have turned into my family. I have got to know them much better during the last weeks. Each one of us has his or her problems, his or her fears, his or her depressions. We are all trapped in the vicious circle of the rat race. In Germany, companies are looking for people who are under 25, have a master degree, speak three or four languages fluently, have several years of working experience, know how to work with every kind of software, have a social life, ... it's incredible. I heard in China it's even worse.

It seems like the German society pressures itself a lot. It seems to be a German trait of character to pressure yourself a lot. Pressure yourself until perfection. Just that there is no perfection.

Some of us are lost. Some of us had traumatic experiences in their childhood which were a shock to us at the time. Now we are still influenced by those events. We are afraid what the future will bring because of what happened in the past. We are looking to find security. At the same time we want to be independent and travel the world. Our minds are split. One half wants to leave the other wants to stay. We can't rest. When we rest our brains start working on something and something else happens and then everything turns into something we didn't want, we didn't expect.

"I don't want to worry about the future so much. But sometimes I'm just really afraid. Sometimes I have panic attacks. I just don't know what to do. I'm just so fu**ing afraid of the future."

Three German students sit in a St. Petersburg restaurant and discuss their fear of the future. What can you do? Buy a house? Buy a flat? So you don't have to pay rent. Buy a caravan? So you don't have to stay anywhere. Buy stocks? So you don't have to worry. What about earthquakes? What about the duties connected to owning immobiles? What about the fuel prices? What about the US and Iran?

Can't we just take some damn pills so that everything will be all right? The pills might give you the impression that your problems are gone. But are they really gone? Maybe there is something fundamentally wrong in our society. I'm not the only problem child. There are so much more. I'm not the only one who feels the fear, who feels the darkness, who feels the insecurity. There are so much more.

It comforts me to have found new friends. It comforts me that I can be who I am. Here in this dormitory.

Outside the dormitory it is a bit more difficult to be who you are. If you are of Asian, Arab or African descent, it is dangerous to stay in Russia at the moment. The news are full of reportings on xenophobia. African people get shot on the street. Mongolian people are killed when they leave the train station. Caucasian girls are stabbed to death with a knife on the open street.

Almost every week there occurs such an event. Today is the birthday of Hitler. Racist groups have announced a "blood bath" for today. The foreign students at my university don't have to come to class today and the entire week. They can choose to stay home if they fear to be attacked. No one showed up.

There are some efforts by local newspapers and cultural organisations to integrate foreigners (especially with different colours of skin) into the society much more. Africans play the drums at elementary school. There are feature articles about foreign exchange students in the newspaper every once in a while.

It is peculiar that xenophobia is at sich a high level in the biggest country of the world. In Russia there live over 150 peoples.

Anyway, I will go to the airport now and get Baidi. She is coming directly from Beijing. I'm so happy, I don't know enough words how to describe my feelings.
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