4 Days until St. Patrick`s: Savannah, GA.

Saint Patrick`s Day is right around the corner. There is no better place in the States to celebrate it than in Savannah, GA. We take it seriously here and start a week in advance—with Saint “Practice” Day. You can join the third annual charity pub crawl or just wonder around downtown, getting drunk at the local bars. The city dresses up in green and you can tell, something big is about to happen. This past Friday, March 9th, the holiday festivities begun with the Greening of the Fountain at Forsyth Park.

The hottest destinations for both, the practice and the original holiday, are Congress street, City Market and of course, River street. Located in a perfect distance from each other, the streets greet you with some delightful drinks, food, and music. If you come unprepared and aren`t wearing anything green—don`t worry, you can buy anything you need from local shops.

Congress Street Social Club is a great place to start your evening. It`s also a great place to come back to late at night, for their special Patio Grill menu. Social has a very spacious outside area, a bar inside where you can listen to performers, and a downstairs area. There is something to do for every kind of a person. Downstairs, you can play darts, pool, table soccer, and some other games. They also throw events such as Trivia night, or Monday night football, and attract with their drink specials.

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I talked to Jenae Lacy, a server at Social Club, to find out about her St. Patrick`s day experiences. She shared some of her favorite spots downtown as well.

 

Next on Congress street, there is Boomys. Whether you get hungry after a few beers at Social, or just hear “Let`s Hear It For The Boy” by Deniece Williams while passing it by, it`s a must-stop place. They serve delicious Thai food until 2 am (I especially recommend Tom Ka soup, veggie dumplings and Pad Thai) and have a nice choice of beers. You can also play pool there and the atmosphere is always fun.

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Outside, I talked to Jordan Weeks, a server at Belford`s, and found out what she thinks about Saint Patricks day and how she gets ready for it while enjoying Saint “Practice” day.

 

Jordan Johnson and Derek Passmore, students living in Savannah, said they really only started celebrating St. Patrick`s Day because of the holiday`s culture here. Their favorite spots downtown are Social club, Boomys, The Rail, and city market.

After Boomys, you might want to switch your scenery a little bit and move to the City market. There is usually live music, and definitely some bars worth visiting. Try Irish mule or Lucky charm cocktails and lose your friend at Connect 4 at Pour Larry`s.

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Or remember the first times getting drunk and stop by Wet Willies. Get a pedicab home if you are scared of ubers.

If you aren`t ready to go home yet, check out the Jinx for good performances and get a drink at Fifty One Degrees next door. Sweet Melissa`s will give you a nice slice of pizza to help with keeping the energy level up.

If you want to dance more, head to Seed or El-Rocko. Get back to the 90s at the Totally Awesome Bar and play some pool there in-between.

The actual St. Patrick`s Day celebrations will start on Friday, March 16th, and continue throughout the weekend, with the main events on Saturday, March 17th. You can join the celebration and all the activities, the majority of which are going to be on River street and City Market. The event spreads from River street to Broughton street and from Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to East Broad street.

According to savannah.com, the entertainment list includes: dance party, food court, giveaways, Bud Light Lime-A-Rita Cabana, social media video boars, campaign activities, live music, a variety of vendors. Although St. Patrick`s Day festival traverses through downtown, don`t forget to purchase a $10 wristband in order to partake in celebrations (you must be over 21 and have a valid I.D. with you). According to savannah.com, there are going to be various colors of St. Patrick’s Day wristbands for each day. If you are found not wearing a wristband in the designated areas, or wearing a wrong one, you can face a fine of more than $50. Wristbands are useful, make sure to get yourself one for each day.

194th Saint Patrick`s Day parade, one of the largest ones in the world, will take place on Saturday, March 17th, from 10:15 a.m. until 2 p.m. The parade will start east of Forsyth park on Gwinnett street and will continue to Broughton street through Abercorn street, where it will turn to East Broad street. It will then follow to Bay street until it gets to Madison Square on Harris street.

This year the parade will show more than 350 marching units and up to 15000 people. When the tradition first started, the event was more of a military spectacle, with soldiers from different regimens marching. Savannah’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade showcases pipe bands and Irish dancers from all over the East Coast – Florida to New York.

If you want to get more traditional, don`t miss Savannah Irish festival. It goes from 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., both on 17th and 18th of March. The festival celebrates Irish culture through authentic music and dancing, throwing performances on four stages. The event is family friendly.

Savannah`s celebrations have a very long history. It took 190 of years of the famous St. Patrick`s Day parade to get the town a number one destination name. The parade ranks the third largest Saint Patrick`s Day parade in the world.

Saint Patrick`s Day weekend in Savannah is a lot of fun and you will definitely have a great time. Remember to drink responsibly, be nice, and as Jordan Weeks noted, tip your servers and bartenders.

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Sport is good.

For a long time, I struggled with bringing myself to sport. I thought diets were easier but after years of destroying myself I realized I deserve better. I realized I only have one life and actually a pretty good one. Sport helps me to respect my body and not hate it, it helps me to focus on the process of the exercise and not on how much weight I will lose. It helps me to feel powerful and not like I will faint if you touch me.

Sport gave me discipline, fresh thoughts and a different energy around me. I started with running: 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 30 minutes, hour, hour and a half. I felt unstoppable. The best part about running is that you don`t need much to do it—just put some shoes on and go outside.

Put some music on and let your thoughts disappear for a little bit. Absorb what`s around, let it inspire you. Living in Savannah, GA, made the whole process a lot easier—the weather is almost always perfect. One of the reasons I liked running outside was also just because it was something that wasn`t really possible before.

This January I decided I wanted to try some new activities. First I signed up to try almost all the classes at the gym. The two that interested me the most were spinning and yoga. I had to give up spinning tho because biking is my primary way of transportation around Savannah and I didn`t feel my legs after doing both. Too much.

But I kept yoga, and although the majority of my life I was against it, I think it really helped me to stay grounded, to stay in the moment and to respect myself and my time.

Then I surprised myself even more and joined an intramural volleyball team. There`s something beautiful about team sports and being responsible for each other. My teammates know I`m good at serving and they can rely on it. I know what each of them is good at as well, and I can rely on it too. I love seeing progress and I love to be able to get rid of my negative energy through volleyball.

Last week my friends came to my game and brought a sign with my name. I was happy and I knew I deserved it.

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What about cheating?

I`m only 21. I`m still dumb, young and naive but to me—if you love a person, you want to be with this person, to do anything possible to make this person happy. When thoughts about cheating occur, it probably means you are not in love with the person, you`re just there for the idea of a relationship.

Someone in a psychology class once asked “which one is worse: physical or emotional cheating?” It was the second time I heard this question, only about two days apart from each other. The first one was from a friend of mine. Her boyfriend and I were good friends at the time. I thought back then, duh, it`s obvious: emotional cheating is a myth created by those whose love is unanswered. Or by those who control their partners all the time, decide who they can and can`t talk to etc. Of course, physical cheating is worse, it`s the only real one.

I asked this same question a few of my Russian friends—everyone seemed to agree with me. Everyone also seemed to call this question very American in the first place. In our culture, anything emotional is almost considered as anything fictional, made up, something that doesn`t really have a weight in discussions.

To be honest, I didn`t think about the possibility of emotional cheating until I heard the question about it. Emotional eventually leads to physical—and then it`s all just cheating. Why separate the two then?

Maybe it`s because separation gives time to still pretend the relationship isn`t falling apart. Maybe it`s easier to believe that one is better then the other. In the end of the day, both affect the relationship, just from a different angle and with different speed.

I don`t think there are right or wrong answers, good or bad choices when talking about relationships. If you cheat, it`s a choice, not a mistake, or a crime. It`s something that happened and you can`t change the past. Deciding what you want and being honest about it is the key.

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Want to play cards, durak?

When I moved to the States, I learned many drinking games. Alcohol wasn`t a big part of my life until the second year of college and my world turned upside down when I realized how much everyone around me drinks and how much I myself enjoy drinking.

Just like in comedies about American college life, everyone still seemed to be excited about drinking games and I didn`t know any. But I knew Durak, a Russian card game. Since it`s one of not so many Russian things that still stuck with me, I wanted to teach my friends how to play it. The problem was that it had more rules than just “higher or lower and take a shot if you`re wrong” and I couldn`t really explain things back then.

Durak is the one who loses the game and then has to do something. In Russian, durak means stupid, so you can insult a person with it but Durak is also a hero of many folk stories, so mostly the insult is in a joking way. There are many proverbs and old sayings with this word. Also, my American friends sometimes translate it as Russian shithead. I like Durak better.

The first time we played with one of my friends I wasn`t the best teacher, mixing everything up after I started any sentence. I couldn`t figure out how to make Durak make sense or how to remember to say every rule in the right sequence. I could make up the rules but I wanted to play correct and how it`s supposed to be played.

To play, you need a deck of 36 cards and a minimum of 2 people. That was pretty much all the information I was able to word.

I gave each of us 6 cards, the rest went into the deck, except one card that I kept facing up.

That card determined the trump suit of the round. The trump cards are the strongest in the game, they can cover any card, except for trump cards that are higher in value. For example, if hearts are a trump suit, an eight of hearts could cover any other card that`s not hearts and also any heart below eight.

I didn`t say any of it the first time, I mostly played something and when my friend played a card back, I would either say yes or no until he eventually understood what to do. It didn`t take very long. Soon we were able to actually explain it to people and I realized it was actually fun to do.

“The objective of the game is to get rid of your cards by covering the cards that are thrown to you” would become how I started every new explanation. “I know it sounds confusing but you`ll get it once we start playing.” I realized that showing works better then telling and we would start.

“All you have to do is pretty much either cover a card with a card of the same suit but higher or with any trump card.” my friend would follow the explanation while dealing the game. “Or to throw a card to a person next to you if it`s your turn to go first. If you are defending and can`t cover the card that is thrown to you, you can either pass it to the next person if you have a similar value card or, if not, you have to pick it up”.

“When you cover the first card, anyone in the game can throw at you anything they see on the table. You have to keep covering everything creating pairs of cards until there`s nothing left, run out of cards, or, if you can’t cover something, you pick everything up,” I would try to not forget to mention.

Naturally, Durak became a drinking game, and playing became an excuse for drinking. Maybe it was just confidence, but drinking helped me to start speaking English clearer, with less of an accent, and I could even make some jokes. brgo7EUgcJM

Sunday of Forgiveness.

I think no matter where you live, you have to always remember who you are and where you are from. Sometimes it`s hard to remain Russian in a place where nothing reminds me of home. When I first got to Savannah GA, I isolated myself from anything Russian to learn English language faster. I started to pick up on American lifestyle, culture, and traditions but I also started to forget what it means to be Russian.

Traditions and holidays are very important in the Russian culture. Maslenitsa, for example, is a holiday celebrated during the last week before Great Lent, in the end of February. The best thing about it – we eat Blini (crepes, pancakes) every day for that whole week. Maslenitsa is a way of saying goodbye to winter and welcoming the spring season. Also, a way to treat yourself before the 48 days of the lent.

This year Maslenitsa fell on the week from 12th to 18th of February. I didn’t eat blini every day, I didn`t make them even once. But when Sunday came, my Russian speaking friends in Savannah and I decided that we have to fix it. We wanted to make it special and nobody wanted to cook, so we found a French cafe that served us crepes. Good enough, we thought. At least we are trying.

The place we chose was Le Café Gourmet, a tiny Paris in the middle of Savannah. We ordered salmon crepes and some coffee and spoke all things Russian. We didn’t follow all of the rituals, like burning a straw man or jumping through fire to clean our souls, but we took the most out of what we had.

Sunday, the last day of Maslenitsa, is called the Sunday of forgiveness. According to our traditions, you have to let go of everything bad before the spring comes, to leave it all in the winter. You have to ask for forgiveness from your family and friends and forgive them back. Even if you didn`t do anything, it`s a little detail that is very important.

“Do you forgive me?” – you ask or get asked.

“God forgives and so do I.” – you respond or hear in response. crepes