For the Love of the Beautiful Game, Football

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Zenit 3-1 Real Sociedad at St. Petersburg Stadium | Europa League, Group Stage | 28.09.2017

I've been writing and rewriting and rewriting again what could've been the introduction to this entry for the past 15 minutes. Turns out it's not that simple to compose a love letter - even if that letter is devoted to football, a game that, oddly, became an essential part of who I am during the last 10 years.

I genuinely don't know what to begin with. I suppose it would make sense to start off by telling you about the very first time I went to a football stadium in the late 1990's - although back then I was much more interested in the concert of the Swedish pop band 'Vacuum' (whose single 'I Breathe' I was obsessed with at the time) than in the club legends fixture. Or should I recount that Sunday morning in November when I was watching the derby between CSKA (Moscow) and Zenit (St. Petersburg) together with a handsome dark-haired young man that 15-year-old me was in love with? Needless to say, I was cheering for the 'militarians' just to tease the aforementioned guy. But maybe I should've started this entry by describing how I listened to the live match commentary on the newly founded 'Radio Zenit' - instead of listening to what my preparatory classes professor at St. Petersburg State University was saying?..

Then there was the game against Bayer Leverkusen - my first ever game at the stadium which I attended together with my school friend - and the epochal two-legged tie between my hometown club Zenit and FC Bayern Munich in May 2008. I remember how I was walking home and how I passed by a few supporters in our blue-white-sky blue scarves; deep down, I really did not believe that we could win against the team that had the great Oliver Kahn to defend their goal. But that night St. Petersburg couldn't sleep: we won 4-0 and a couple of weeks later our players put on the golden jerseys and brought home the UEFA Cup. In June of that same year Andrey Arshavin made the ball go right between Edwin van der Sar's legs - and straight into the net, earning the Russian National Team the bronze medals of the UEFA Euro 2008. Despite my family's explicit protests, I rewatched that game on New Year's Eve.

Four years later, I traveled to Ukraine to take part in UEFA Euro 2012 as a volunteer. There I met Keisha who became one of my closest friends - we rented an apartment next to the National Opera of Ukraine (cockroaches and all), worked as part of the Hospitality team for a month and spent our evenings watching the games at the Khreshchatyk fan zone. In the end of the month we visited Donetsk to attend the semifinal match between our beloved Spaniards and Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal - and during the final we were there, on the front rows of the Spanish fan sector, waving flags and making up chants about Sergio Ramos, who we met a few days before that. It's funny, but 5 years later I'm still passing the exams I had to miss because of that trip - but I've never regretted going to Kyiv, to this day I still consider it the time of my life.

Shortly after, I heard the news about Total Football (the only magazine I read from cover to cover in 2008-2010) being shuttered, and my full schedule was not allowing me to watch the games regularly or follow all the latest news about Zenit and Real Madrid.

But once you let football into your life, don't expect it to ever leave you. And it doesn't even matter how often you tune in to see the game, whether or not you know the names of all the benchwarmers and how long it's been since the last time your team lost. It only takes 90 minutes - 90 minutes at the stadium, where the atmosphere is charged with electricity, at the stadium that sings as one and where people truly feel united by the love for this beautiful game. You will want to come back, you will want to jump out of your seat again, you will want to support your team until you lose your voice. Because football truly makes us experience the most pure and unfiltered emotions.

Dear football, thank you for all those unforgettable memories I got to make thanks to you. I'm looking forward to many more adventures together.

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September Update

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"Firebird Descent" installation by Poetic Kinetics at New Holland | Trench coat - La Redoute

It feels like I didn't have a spare minute ever since this photo was taken on the first Sunday of September - which has been exactly a month ago.

Over the course of these 30 days I've managed to pass 7 exams, translate 3200 descriptions from English to Russian, go to Helsinki for a one-day trip to pick up this perfect camel coat for chilly autumn days to come, attend 6 French classes (more on that soon!) and a football match between Zenit St. Petersburg and Real Sociedad, watch a couple of movies (including the absolutely charming Un Profil Pour Deux) and TV shows, catch up with a few friends - and, somewhere in between all of this, browse through approximately a myriad of photos from Spring/Summer 2018 collections.

As you can see, it has been a truly intense September - and it has also been a very vivid preview of what the next 9 months have in store for me. The key to surviving the schedule that's overflowing with errands, meetings and obligations? Set weekly goals, don't stress out over things you're not working on at the moment, be realistic and don't be afraid to say 'no' to things that are not your top priority - and, pleeease, stock up on some good vitamins.

I think that's gonna be it for today's update! Keep an eye on this space though: over the next few weeks I plan to (finally!) publish my photo diary from French Riviera, a mini guide to Helsinki, my thoughts on the incredible "Christian Dior: Couturier du Rêve" exhibition and a bunch of summery photos from Paris.

Photo edited by Sergey Povoroznyuk

Always Pack a Party Dress

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As a final year Theory & History of Arts student who's been working in fashion since 18, I've profoundly enjoyed reading Amanda Brooks' "Always Pack a Party Dress". If you are aspiring to build a career in fashion, I would highly recommend reading this book - it is very honest, very well-written, very funny. I am sure that those who already have some experience in this field will definitely relate to the love/hate relationship the author has with the industry - as much as it is inspiring and exciting, it is also quite exhausting and at times it can also appear shallow and superficial, making you want to either switch to something 'more serious' - or just move to England to make jam, as Amanda Brooks has done.

Last Days of August

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There's something alluring about those last days of August - when the colour of your sunburned-turned-light-golden skin still reminds you of afternoons well spent gazing at the planes on the beach and the city is pleasantly quiet, allowing you to focus on those ambitious new plans, goals and tasks that you can't wait to start bringing to life come September. I always come back home from abroad immensely inspired - and with the new season upon us, I felt like it's time for a change.

After returning from Paris last week, I realized that I really want to change my French school. As much as I love the school that I've been studying at for the past 1.5 years, I had to admit that I haven't been making any progress whatsoever since last September - moreover, somewhere along the way I managed to even lose motivation. It pains me to say that, but last year was a waste of both time and money in terms of French. That's why this autumn I'll be starting my Mondays and Thursdays at 10.15 AM at Institut Français - and I can't express just how excited I am! Let's hope that my "Parlez-vous Français?" series will be back soon - and this blog will be updated more frequently in general.

However, I'm not gonna promise anything - this semester is going to be intense: in the next seven months I will have to pass 24 exams in total, then take my finals and then present my graduation project in the end of March. Things I will be picturing when it gets especially tough and Ancient Egyptian ornaments start looking the same to me? How I'm gonna start the next academic year in Paris. As they say, don't give up a lifetime of happiness for a few moments of pleasure.

Photo edited by Sergey Povoroznyuk

Parisian Rooftops

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Printemps panoramic terrace offers an almost 360-degree view of Paris: from the gable roof of Opera Garnier and the monolithic building of Montparnasse Tower to the elegant silhouette of the Tour Eiffel and the snow-white domes of Sacré-Cœur. And between them - an array of white and grey sunlit rooftops, thousands of windows and balconies with flowerpots, tree-lined boulevards, people running their errands... The whole city in the palm of your hand.

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С террасы универмага Printemps открывается практически 360-градусный вид на Париж: от двускатной крыши Оперы и монолитного прямоугольника небоскреба Монпарнас до изящного силуэта Эйфелевой башни и белоснежных куполов Сакре-Кёр. А между ними - множество залитых солнцем маленьких серо-белых крыш, бесконечные окна и балконы с цветочными горшками, обрамлённые деревьями бульвары, снующие взад-вперёд люди... Весь город словно на ладони.

Photos edited by Sergey Povoroznyuk


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As someone who already owns a 'Merci Beaucoup' sweetshirt, I just couldn't pass by the 'Bonjour' tee. Slogan tops are everywhere these days (a few days ago I saw a really old man in the metro who had 'New Wave' plastered across his chest), making it simple to find the one that reflects your beliefs whether you are a feminist, an active supporter of Macron's Make Our Planet Great Again campaign (#1 and #2) or someone who believes in love at first sight.

Next Sunday I'm flying to Paris again (okay-okay, I promise not to wear this t-shirt on the plane); it will be my fifth trip to the capital of France and I'm looking forward to catching up with friends and finally visiting Versailles. If you know of any photogenic light-filled cafés, must-see exhibitions or secret addresses, I'll be glad to add them to my list of places to visit - and then write about here on the blog.

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Пройти мимо футболки с надписью Bonjour? Невыполнимая задача - особенно для обладателя толстовки Merci Beaucoup. Футболки со слоганами находятся на пике популярности (на днях я видела в метро очень пожилого мужчину, поперёк груди которого красовалась надпись "New Wave"), и в магазинах можно найти огромное количество классных недорогих вариантов: с феминистскими высказываниями, с макроновским Make Out Planet Great Again (раз и два) и с фразами для тех, кто находится в поиске идеальной пары.

В следующее воскресенье я снова лечу в Париж (ладно-ладно, обещаю надеть что-нибудь другое для пересечения границы Франции); это будет моя пятая поездка, и я с нетерпением жду встреч с друзьями и долгожданного посещения Версаля. Если у вас есть какие-нибудь советы относительно светлых фотогеничных кафе, выставок-которые-нельзя-пропустить и секретных адресов - буду рада выслушать их!

Футболка - Stradivarius

Photo edited by Sergey Povoroznyuk