Monday, March 29, 2010


In the past i associated Spring with warmer weather and pretty things

It has now become my least favourite season.Because it is not only raining , the snow is melting.There are dirty puddles everywhere.And  +4 to +10 degrees is not any much warmer than 0 degrees.

I'm getting " paddington bear " boots from Lenta supermarket after school.I hate walking in puddles and having the water seep into my boots which are already thrashed after 6 months of heavy usage.

Extracted from , google translated into English

Headline News

One Reason why I'm glad I'm not in Moscow this weekend.

There was a blast in the Moscow Metro.

And I'm glad the SMU student ,Gina who went to Moscow for her exchange programme this semester was in Saint Petersburg over the weekend.

As for the other friends currently studying Moscow , i pray that they are snuggled up safe and sound in the comforts of their homes and not get too affected by the disruption of metro services.

Play Date

After meeting Nadia , a korean international student at Tomac's dinner party last week , I invited her over to my house on sunday after Sasha had classes at школа ключ.She loves children and was thrilled when she found our that i was living with 2 little boys at home.Naja lives with a babushka ( grandmother ) at Oktabriski Ulitisa who only eats sleeps and watch tv, so it was quite boring for her.Since she was living so close by , visiting me wasn't a problem at all.
( I'm so glad that i asked for a russian host who can speak english , and got a host family that is so amazing )

And guess what .She , like all the other koeans brought her rice cooker along with her. ( it is somehow impossible to cook rice properly here without a rice cooker).

She was excellent with the kids.( It helps when you know the different animals in russian too )
So here is a photo of Nadia , the 2 kid ,my host and dinner which i prepared.The pork chop with "oriental sauce" didn't quite turn out the way i hoped.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Cartoon Movie

At Lenta supermarket, i chanced upon a Yash Raj Hindi Cartoon "Roadside Romeo "  (
which is dubbed in Russian and has russian and english subtitles for 99 roubles.The cartoon was filled with the bollywood beats that you always expect from any bollywood movie!
AND the kids LOVE IT!

Although they didn't know Bollywood , India or Hindi , the cartoon movie distracted them from fighting with each other and crying on saturday .Guess what , they are watching it again on Sunday, so I'll have a peaceful Sunday while they dance to the bollywood beats outside.

Picture from :

Turning back Time

After doing something stupid, I often wish that I can turn back time or fast forward time, knowingly fully well that it is impossible. But when I came to this side of the world, IMPOSSIBLE IS NOTHING.

And from this weekend onwards, the clocks fast forward by 1 hour.
I have to wake up one hour earlier for school everyday now.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Snowmobiling on Lake Onega

As spring approaches, I was rushing for time to do some cool stuff ,while Lake Onega (Онежское озеро ) is still frozen. Lake Onega is the 2nd largest fresh water lake in Europe , after Ladoga ( Also in Russia).And in summer , russian rock stars come here to rest!
So I went for a snowmobile excursion. Irina, the attractive manager of Театральное tour agency ( called a few companies to find the cheapest option for me, the poor student and eventually settled with УЯ.

At УЯ, I had a snow mobile excursion across Lake Onega to one of the small islands on Lake Onega  .Alexandre , Irina’s husband was my driver for the trip. Yes, he speaks English. Phew! Cool dude who studied history at PSU in his younger days. He now plays bass guitar for 3 jazz bands in Petrozavodsk and is having a jazz gig at FM club on the 30th of March!

Unfortunately, during the half an hour ride to УЯ, Alexandre got a fine by the traffic police for forgetting to switch on the headlights. It was 3pm.The sky was bright and yet Russian drivers have to switch on their headlights.
It was only when I sat in the front seat of a Russian Lada car that I really felt how terrible the Russian road conditions are. One big bump on the road can cause the CD player to switch tracks. According to Alexandre , the government only wants people to buy cars , but don’t want to pay money to maintain the roads.

1.40 minutes across the lake to the island
2.20 minutes picnic on остров ивановския ( Island Ivanovskiya )
3.40 minutes back to the island
Includes plenty of picture-taking stops along the way and you will get to steer the snowmobile for about 15 minutes.

Can you spot остров ивановския on the map ? :)

Map from :

I did not have the warm clothing required for such an excursion but the people at УЯ convinced me that I had to wear warm clothes and they provided me with them. Well, now that I know the phone number of the company, trips can be arranged directly with the company without going through the tour agency.

Some Hiccups
1. The snowmobile engine got overheated and snow had to be scattered onto the engine on the way back
2. The people at УЯ spoke only Russian, so there were some problems enquiring about excursions directly with them, instead of through the agency. Because of some payment problems and miscommunication, the tour agency eventually found out about my direct enquiries with УЯ. I don’t think they were happy about that.

But anyway, a super cool experience it was.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The difficulties in learning Russian

Learning a new language is difficult.

While being overseas may seem like all play and nice things in the front, I am literally tearing my hair out and becoming extremely stressed and frustrated behind the scenes. The first 2 weeks has been smooth as lessons were revisions and reinforcement of cases which I know. But starting Week 3, I’ve started learning new things. And very often, it is difficult to register a lot of information within a day or 2.

Although I take individual classes, I do speak to the other international students.And a lot more during a party that an Italian student threw at his apartment this week. We speak Russian most of the time, it helps when some of them don’t know much English.

But I often felt demoralized and helpless because I couldn’t understand many things that they say or find the words to express myself. In addition to that, most of the students have learnt the language for a year or 2.Even the Korean students specialize in Russian language in their home university.

So I’m right at the bottom of the steep learning curve. It is a tough climb up.

Anyway, with the help of my teacher correcting my grammar mistakes, I’ve come up with a new weapon to stop the 2 kids from crying. This......

( Translation : When sasha touches Tioma’s things , Tioma cries.When Tioma touches sasha’s things, sasha cry.When the both of you touch my things , I don’t cry.So why do the both of you cry?
DON"T CRY!You are brothers.Brothers must share.When I have chocolates, I give them to you.But next time, if I hear that you cry , I will not give you chocolates )

I am practising this in my room every once in a while.And once i find the right opportunity , i'll whipped it out onto the kids!

Russian Hospitals

I got to take my first trip to a Russian hospital last weekend .This is the best hospital in Karelia. Julia was heading there to visit her sister, Vesta, who had just undergone surgery and she invited me along.

Medical treatments are free of charge for Russians in hospitals .There are of course certain treatments which patients can opt for which requires them to pay some money in return for some comfort but most people go for the free option. Free means = hospitals don’t receive much money = doctors don’t get paid much and they do not have the best medical equipment in the world.

My host is a surgeon and I spoke to her about her life as a surgeon in Petrozavodsk the next day. It is a really tough life for a person with such a respectable occupation.

Patients do not have televisions in the rooms, the bedside tables are falling apart and they only have a common toilet per floor which everyone shares .I don’t know what patients can do in their room to pass time except to sew , knit ,read books or watch some downloaded movie on their laptops.

And after looking at Vesta’s bandages , I will rather pay to fly back to Singapore to get treated .There is a price to pay for healthcare and I will rather pay the price for it than get any free treatments in Russia if I am ever entitled to any.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Dog Sledding Programme

One of the things I went about doing in Petrozavodsk, was to find a tour agency that could offer me a dog sledding program. Since I have yet to learn enough Russian to communicate effectively over the phone, I had to physically go to the agency to enquire.A painful process, since i got lost trying to find the agencies.But i managed to get there eventually.

So I was scheduled to do this 3-4 hour tour today ,Saturday and I was going to be the only person on the tour UNTIL…..

I met Julia this morning. Julia is the editor of the 103 Meridian East Magazine.
(The first Singapore Russian magazine launched in Singapore)

She is in Petrozavodsk for a short visit before heading to Saint Petersburg for a course. I told her about the dog sledding program that I was taking the afternoon and she made an impromptu decision to join me!

1 Day Dog Sledding Program

  •  Pick up from your accommodation
  • 30 minute drive to the village Martrosi ( where the dog sledding center is )
  •  Learning about the dogs and harnessing them.
  • 1 hour dog sledding session and a picnic
  •  30 minutes drive back to Petrozavodsk
Martrosi is a village known for one thing, they have a mental institution there. So when I told other Russians that I was going to Martrosi , they thought I was nuts. But a sad and romantic story gave the village its name.In short , Martin , a Finnish man fell in love with a woman called Rosi .He was mauled badly by bears here. And Rosi spent years trying to nurse him. The village was eventually called Mart + Rosi = Martrosi.

The dogs , Taimyp Sledge dogs and Chukotskaya Sledge dogs are reared for races and it is their nature to be extremely friendly. This centre in Martrosi is one of the 3 places in the Russia that rears them.. Some of them have 1 bright blue eye and 1 brown eye. It was a pretty strange combination but really intriguing.
It was such an amazing experience.


Kefir is a popular drink in the Caucasus, Russia and Scandinavian countries.

It taste like acidic milk gone bad, but it is good for digestion. A carton of Kefir imported from Germany costs about 16 sgd (8 Euros) in Singapore. That’s really expensive. So my family started making our own kefir after a family friend gave us some kefir seeds. And I had the responsibility of making a litre of it every night for the family’s daily consumption.

In Russia, a carton of Kefir or milk cost 26 rubles (1.20sgd).
That’s even cheaper than milk in Singapore!
So from this week, I have officially made Kefir my breakfast and dinner staple.


The good thing about Russia is that they provide good heating to households during the cold seasons. Because the heating is so powerful, people dry their clothes there, and so did I. But I learnt a painful and heartbreaking lesson this morning. Never EVER leave my favorite tank top on the heater overnight because the tank top will suffer burns.

Although,7 obvious yellowish brown lines are not stopping me from wearing it outdoors when travelling, it will have to become my pyjamas when I am back in Singapore.

Can you spot the 7 burns? ...sob...

Thursday, March 18, 2010


I thought this was just an American joke.

Then I came to Petrozavodsk where I see tons of children with their parents or grandparents every time I walk along the streets and when I am at home.

I couldn’t believe my ears.
That Family Guy snippet is actually REAL.

Sports Club

One of the first thing I asked Zhenya ( Exchange Programme person-in-charge ) was where I can take Yoga classes .She immediately got down to searching for sports clubs in Petrozavodsk and came up with a list of clubs with the prices!

She brought me to the best option , a women’s sports club, a 10 minute walk from school and with her help ,I signed up for a 8 lesson package with usage of showers and gym equipments .There are various lessons that one can take here.( Aerobics, Body sculpt ,Step, Yoga etc)It is indeed a pity that I didn’t bring my sports shoes to Petrozavodsk , and neither am I keen to get a new pair , or else I can fully utilize the 1100roubles that I paid.

Yoga Class Review-Teacher: Инга
Just stretching and holding poses. No inversions .Cues are all in Russian ,So other than “downward dog”, left and right hand leg etc, I can’t understand anything.
They use 60x 60 cm foam sheets as yoga mats and you won’t sweat in this class.
Nevertheless, it was still a good stretching session.

BodySculpt Class Review - Teacher : наталия
There was 45 minutes of twirling ,moving around and semi dancing.
But the last 15 minutes of abs and lunges can leave you aching for the next few days.
As usual all cues are given in Russian, so all i could do is to watch ,follow and stumble whenever instructor stopped demonstrating.
I suvived on a pair of water shoes without socks. ( Not advisable but still manageable )

Monday, March 15, 2010

Controlling the children

Sasha has 1 hour of tuition class at школа клуч every sunday and I get to sit in the class of 5 year olds too.The most difficult section of this trip to tuition class is the 20minute walk there and back.I discovered the most effective way to keep Sasha moving is to kick big pieces of harden snow like a football.And the 20 minutes passed in a flash.

The view near школа клуч.Lake Onega.
Kite Surfers doing their thing.

The kids cry a few times everyday, though never in front of me, but i was getting annoyed.I got my first expereince last night.The two boy were again playing in my room.This time, they discovered that drinking my water is alot tastier than the water from the kitchen ,even though my water came from the same kitchen.Tioma accidentally split some water on Sasha.The face cringed up and Sasha went running out of the room.

I grabbed hold of him and used the phrase that i have been dying to say for a LONG TIME.

" ты большой мальчик.БОЛЬШОЙ МАЛЬЧИК НЕ ПЛАЧЕТ!!! НЕ ПЛАЧЕТ!!! "
(You are a big boy .Big boys don't cry! )

His cringed up face became calm again as i helped him remove his sweater , while Tioma tried to dry the sweater with tissue while saying some comforting words.
Let's hope they don't cry so often anymore.

A minute of Silence

After 7 days , the plant which i bought at лента supermarket has officially died.

I don't think i am ever buying a plant in Russia again because my parents aren't here to rescue them.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Saint Petersburg for a day

Yes, I am sane and I just spent 15 hours in SPB on Saturday. It was an 8 hour overnight train from Petrozavodsk and round trip tickets cost 1100 rubles during non peak seasons. (Approx 50 SGD)

Why was I in SPB?

The main reason was Elena. I met her while I was working as a counselor at summer camp in Ohio, USA in 2007. My friend, Elena got a job in America and will be leaving Russia this Tuesday. We spent some time at Café Lagize (a good Georgian crusine restaurant along Bellinskogo ulitsa) catching up on our life.

Elena came down to Moscow to spend time with me during my last week in Moscow last June and we were sad when we parted ways at the airport because we thought we will not meet again for a long time .But we did, on Saturday. :)

I got accepted into a development internship with AIESEC in Saint Petersburg to teach English at an orphanage in June and July. Part of my university’s (SMU) requirement is for students to complete 80 hours of community service, so I’m doing mine in Saint Petersburg. Cool! This trip down to SPB allowed me to clarify some details regarding the internship and meet the AIESECers involved in the project.

So on Saturday morning, I met Dasha, the leader of the project. I was really lucky because on that day, the Russian volunteers for the project met for the first time and organized a “meet the children “session at the orphanage. So I had the opportunity to see all 40 of the children living in the there.I was the only volunteer who was a foreigner there.

Being Asian (looking different) and speaking English, the children took an interest in me quickly .Some of them were hugging me and crowding around me to get their English names written on their ribbons.

Although English was listed as (required) and Russian (preferred) on the internship description, on Saturday, speaking Russian was absolutely required and English just gave me the extra edge.Yes,I did struggle to understand some of the things the children  said. One kids said his name was Spartak, another ,said Naruto (some Japanese cartoon).

There will be about 16 children who will be able to learn English under me and other foreign AIESEC volunteers from May – July. And we will have Russian volunteers who will do the translation during classes as well. I’m excited thinking of the various ways I can teach the children !

Victor , Katya ,Me and Dasha

After lunch with the AIESECers at a Japanese restaurant, Ria volunteered to come with me to visit the Hermitage. She studied English in the University for 2.5years and now, she rarely has the opportunity to use the language. She got to practise her English with me. I didn’t mind of course. There is free entry into the Hermitage for all students irrespective of nationality. But guess what, some parts of the Hermitage were under construction. But nevertheless, I had a great time :)

So that was my 15 hours in Saint Petersburg. I had an amazing time and I have something interesting to write and talk about for Russian class on Monday :)

Russian Fashion

Russia stretches from Europe to Asia. In such unique circumstances, they have a mix of both worlds. I have always tried to define Russian fashion but I was never able to come up with any words to describe it. It is neither western nor asian.It’s Russian.

But I noticed that Russian winter fashion involves one thing.Fur.Young or old, people wear coats with fur linings. I have never seen so many coats with fur linings in Europe or America. A British woman mistook my fur lined coat (fake fur of course) for an animal in the overhead compartment of the plane on my flight to Helsinki on route to Russia.

So here are some fur lined coats ,which you'll need to blend in with the Russian crowd during winter.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Buying Train Tickets

There is a website where you can buy the train ticket russian price.But no matter how much i tried , the website refused to accept my credit card.So i had to go down to the train station to buy the ticket myself.

I haven't bought train tickets myself before .In the past , Selma ( my former roommate ) and Galya will be the people doing the talking.So i got all the information about train timings , " bottom bunk " in russian  and platzkart class wagon all in my head and with some pronounciation help from my russian teacher, i went down to the station myself.

Guess what , it wasn't a problem.The lady at the counter understood me ,and i understood her questions too.I  got all 4 tickets in 8 minutes!
But i had to wait 30 minutes to get to the front of the line.
I was waiting at counter 5.The lights are switched off because the counter lady went for her 10 minute break.The counter ladies have breaks at certain timings and they will just drop whatever they are doing and go for their break , leaving a long line of people waiting at the counter.

Get used to it ,People are not machines ,they need their breaks.

More Snow ?

Petrozavodsk , unlike Big brothers Moscow and Saint Petersburg , is a much smaller city further up north.
I never saw a huge amount of snow in Moscow last year because by morning , salt will be scattered all over the snow to melt them.

But i get a great opportunity over here!

I love snow for several reasons

1.Freshly fallen snow make icy roads easier to walk on
2.It makes the city look brighter
3.There is always something magical about snow since we don't have any in Singapore.

Near the river bank , where skiing down is actually possible...

And of course , it is always a pleasent walk home every day.

But these are a few reasons why I am glad Singapore does not have snow.

Textbooks in Russia

One of my favourite places in Petrozavodsk is the book shop.
 ( Well , i only had the time to go to a bookshop , a market and the supermarket.)

I can spend hours touching , browsing  the books even though i don't understand anything. So this is the bookshop i have been going to книги мир.I was particularly fascinated by the textbook section.Being a student majoring in accountancy , i was curious to check out russian accounting and audit textbooks.

Then i saw this.

Boy ,I am glad that we use American textbooks in school, where the books are colourful , glossy .

My host is a surgeon and she has a few books on surgery lying around at home.

ok.You get the drift.

Russian Language Classes

I started my individual tuition for Russian language on Tuesday.Every student who studies russian here will have 2 teachers.1 specially to train students to speak while the other for grammar .Petrozavodsk State University ( PSU ) didn't have enough teachers to go around , so they hired one more teacher in to give me lessons.Wow.

I get 1.5hours of grammar lessons 5 days a week with Katya and 1.5 hours of speech lessons 3 times a week with Anastasia.I  had so many questions when i was doing self studies in Singapore and i can finally get them addressed!Although , i get many doubts cleared up over the past  week , i still have plenty more to ask for the next few weeks.There is too much information to absorb.Seriously.And the homework.....can tire you out.

There were times , where i knew things , and there were times that i did not.
So despite ,being able to speak some russian and write some russian , i wasn't doing it the russian way.
So on top of my homework , i had to practise Russian handwriting.

It is easy to write the printed version of alphabets , but of course , i was advised to learn the proper way of russian handwriting ,Cursive..
And i do it....Kindergarten style.That book caught the attention of 7 year old Tioma ( who comes into my room with sasha every night to play ) , and he began doing my "homework" for me .

And this is one of Sasha's masterpieces.A seal or a bush or something along that line.кустик , he insisted.

Despite paying a little more for the individual tuition , the money is worthwhile.
Especially when you  know what you want to acheive and want to do it fast.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

First Day in School

THe Russian Language Department at Petrozavodsk State University (PSU) welcomed another student from Singapore! I became the second Singaporean student to study in PSU!There are 12 international students stuying Russian ,some on group tuition while others on individual tuition.

I started my Russian classes and was given a Russian name because Ying Ying (Йинь Йинь ) was too difficult to pronounce.So i'm now known as инна ( Inna).It's going to be quite hard getting used to that.....
But despite cringing at my new name , i really enjoyed the class and look forward to the next one!

PSU in summer
Photo from

женский день Women's Day

Women's Day is on the 8th MArch.

It is a day where people celebrate the work and achievements of women!THe flower and plant section of лента supermarket was filled with men nitpicking on the kind of flowers they will buy for their women!
After i came back from the supermarket , 5 year old Sasha presented me with a rose and a bar of золотая марка chocolates!My favourite russian brand!Sweet!

My host family invited me for cake together with them.And as the little kids get their hands pushed away from touching the icing of the cake , Yura , my host dad announced that this was indeed a tough and tiring day for the men to make the day special for women.

The rose that sasha gave me now sit next to the plant i just bought.Despite my love for plants , i have a problem of causing a premature death due to unidentifiable reasons.Let's see how long this one will last!

снег snow

Petrozavodsk was hit with extremely heavy snow and low temperatures of -30degree celcius this year.Snow is pretty when you stay indoors and stare outside.But not when you are outdoors,falling all over the pavements filled with uneven hard/ice/snow.Although the main streets were cleared of the snow , the parking lots of the apartments were not.Some people don't use their cars all winter.

THey might have a problem finding it if the need arises!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Starting from Kindergarten ( детский сад )

Staying with a family with children has its perks when you are trying to learn Russian .On Sunday , sasha has school for one hour and Tatyana invited me to sit in his class with the other parents .Although the 5 year old kids understood the lesson more than I did , it was still an interesting learning experience for me .Perhaps I will join kindergarten classes every Sunday as well.

The room ( моя комната )

Instead of staying in the dormitories, I decided to stay with a host family this time .My school shortlisted 2 families and eventually picked Tatyana’s family .The school called it the classic Russian family.2 adults holding respectable jobs and 2 children.

There is a King size bed, small table, a cupboard and a carpet .It is a nice room and I thought, “Well, she is a surgeon and her husband works long hours fixing machinery for roads, perhaps that’s why they can afford to have such a nice guest room.”

Then the hard facts sank in the next morning .I wasn’t living in the guest room.There was no guest room.There is only a master bedroom and a children's room.

For Euro190 a month, the parents had given up the master room for me and they now sleep on the living room couch outside.

It was difficult to sleep on that fact.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Host Family

My host.Tatyana picked me up from the Petrozavodsk train station.She's a surgeon ,married and has 2 children...5and 7 year old boys.Sasha and Tioma.
Sasha was having his birthday party in the afternoon.So that was how i spent my first day.A birthday party of a 5 year old russian boy.

Before the Party
I had my first glimpse of the supermarket in Petrozavodsk after Tatyana sent Tioma to the kindergarten.There used to be a market right next to where the supermarket is, but it was demolished and now a supermarket stands in its place.And most of the people of Petrozavodsk shop there.There are huge discounts if you buy the supermarket loyalty card.Thank goodness it is just a 10 minute walk away from the house.

Just before the party started,Tatyana went off to pick Tioma up from the kindergarten. I was alone at home with Sasha.Perhaps i made a very bad move by introducing my camera and laptop into his life , because the aspiring photographer and computer gamer couldn't take his hands off them, pressing ,clicking ,fiddling and constantly pleading to use them.

So there was 6 children in the house.SIX.I never realized how difficult it is to handle 2 children until now.6 children...was ......exhausting.One minute they were watching tv,fighting over the educational computer games , playing cars.They were everywhere.Children.Regardless of which part of the world they are in , they are all the SAME.

I was looking through some of the past party photos and saw one of the girls ,with black front teeth.Apparently , the tap water is so bad that it has damaged her teeth and they had to be painted and this girl is just 5 years old.I made it a point never to use Russian tap water when brushing my teeth in the future.

Arriving into Russia

After spending 3 amazing days in Finland ( Tampere and Helsinki ) with Tiina and Lasse respectively , it was finally time to head to Russia.

The nice Finnish old man

As i was approaching the bus heading to Russia from Helsinki, a jolly fat man came forward to help me with my luggage and translation .He is a Finnish man ,Alex who spoke perfect Russian  and was on his way to the Caucacus for a vacation .He  will be making a 2 day train ride from Saint Petersburg the next day.

Alex talked to me on the bus , helped me with immigration papers and even brought me to the metro stop in Saint Petersburg where my train departed for Petrozavodsk.I knew the Saint Petersburg Metro well, but his sincerity to bring me there touched me.He was heading to the metro stop after mine.

He asked me to write him a postcard and call him if i ever needed any help.I gave him a $2 singapore currency as a souvenir .

The Bus Ride

The bus ride costed 15 Euros , 7hour from Helsinki.There were nearly 20 Russians , 1 Belarusian , 3Finns and Me , the Singaporean on the bus.Like Russian trains , the bus even has a hot water dispenser.

In terms of view , there didn't seem to be much of a difference between Finland and Russia.Snow,trees and vehicles.You can't see the difference initially , but you can definately feel it in the roads.A smooth ride on the Finnish side and a bumpy one on the Russian side.The bus driver adhered to the rules in Finland.But once he crossed the border ,the atmosphere became more relaxed , the bus driverplayed an old russian movie on the tv, drove faster , started overtaking all the slower moving vehicles on the road of potholes.Welcome to Russia.

Shock at Customs.
Unlike the smoot pass i had at Domododevo Airport  in Moscow last year ,my heart skipped a beat at the Finnish Russian road border.

Custom officer looked at me
" Вы говорите порусский?" (you speak russian ?)
Me :"немнога" ( a little )
Custom officer " #$^%*&|" something incomprehensible "
Me "uh.... непонимаю" ( don't understand )
Custom officer sighed , shook her head , made a phonecall.all i heard was "lalalalalal  ........сингапур"(singapore)

The russian in the next queue went off.
Another russian in the next queue went off.
Another russian in the next queue went off.

Then the militsa came in.A discussion ensued
Militsa took my passport , looked at the visa ..."hmmm....петрозаводск " Looked at me
Militsa flipped to my photo on the passport , looked at me
My eyes were already wide open, jaws semi dropped
He laughed , gave the custome officer my passport said something and left.

Yes.I got my passport back.

Train Station
Yes,you can get your train tickets online, russian price .But you have to exchange the eticket to a printed ticket at the international ticket booth.The train ride from Saint Petersburg to Petrozavodsk was smooth ,but getting to the train station was painful because i was carrying nearly 35kg of luggage.I didn't travel light after all.You can say that i seriously couldn't wait to get to Petrozavodsk the next day.

Petrozavosk петрозаводск Petroskoi

Capital of the Karelian Republic
Small city founded in 1703 in order for Peter the Great to build an iron foundry for manufacturing cannons and anchors used in the GReat Northern War between the Russians and the Swedes. (1700 - 1721)

Over the years , Petrozavodsk has been wrestled between Finland and Russia.
Now half of the Karelian Republic lies in Finland , while the other half in Russia.
And Petrozavodsk is in the Russian side of Karelia.

This is the city to reach in order to take a ferry to Kizhi Island.One of the UNESCO world Heritage Sights of Russia.And this is where i will be spending 2 months studying Russian !