Here’s a long overdue post, although I have been actively adding some videos to my personal Youtube channel.

Here’s my video from my trip to Saint Petersburg trip last weekend.

Here’s a video on a group excursion around Moscow.

You can find a few other videos about my study abroad experience on my channel, as well.

Today’s blog topic is about Moscow weather, which is mostly cloudy. The sun is a unicorn in Moscow. It is a mystical creature that does not exist.

For example, in December 2017, Moscow got only 6 minutes of sun over the ENTIRE month. Usually the December average is 18 hours of sun over the entire month, and while that is much better than 6 minutes it is nothing to rave about. Rather depressing.

The February average is 71 hours for the entire month. That is like having sun for only 3 days.

The first week in Moscow I was so busy adjusting into the new city that I did not really notice the lack of sun . But by week 2 I would practically pray for the sun to come out. And that has been my routine since.

Last week I was deep in some funk. Constantly in a sour mood and not feeling very social. I thought it was because of the stressful situation of moving out of my first host family for horrendous mess it was in, recovering from being sick, and maybe hitting a drop in the W-curve (if you’ve studied abroad before you know what I’m talking about).

I then thought it was because I was recovering from a really busy weekend in Saint Petersburg where we did much touring and very little sleep.

Then by the end of the week I realized it was the WEATHER. The constant cloudiness affects my mood. And the fact that we are inside almost all the time on school days does not help. I like to be outside as much as possible, but that can be hard if its cold too.

With little sun, too, I think my sleeping schedule is not as tight to a routine. I would fall asleep later than I wanted to and then feel tired when I woke up. So it is a cycle. No sun = dark days = poor sleep & lower vitamin D = sour mood. That’s my best guess.

Before coming to Moscow, everyone told me that I need to prepare for super cold weather. In the end, the temperature is not bad in Moscow. In fact New Hampshire is often much colder and receives much more snow than Moscow.

However, no one warned me about the little amount of sun. I had no idea this was a feature of the Moscow climate until after I arrived. Now I realize that conversations I had at college about Russia’s heavy dependence on oil was missing a crucial element. Part of this dependence on oil is simple: Solar power as an alternative energy source is essentially impossible. 6 minutes of sun might get Moscow like 0.00001 seconds of energy.

Interestingly, Russia does have a goal to convert 4.5% of its energy use to renewable sources by 2020. So instead of solar, Russia can turn to hydroelectric energy from dams and also energy from nuclear power. Hydropower demonstrates significant potential for Russia, so it might be interesting to read more into state initiatives to expand this option. After all, 2020 is coming very quickly.

Anyways, I CANNOT wait for spring. I feel like I say that every day. The celebration for spring’s coming (Maslenitsa — Масленица) was today. People were out and about with their families going to different festivities. I walked 9.7 miles today exploring. It snowed this morning so spring is still a ways to come, but I can feel it trying to come!!!

That’s about it. Nothing super insightful this week. Here is a photo drop too for those who like seeing them. A friend on program is a great photographer and so I have a lot of “photo shoot like shots” he took.

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