This is how I can tell that it’s summer in the city:
1. There are ice cream stands and kvas stands wherever you go. Consequently the “no ice cream” signs on doors of shops actually seem necessary.
2. Whole sections of the freezer aisle in the supermarket, which previously held frozen vegetables and some ice cream, are now entirely ice cream. Only ice cream. The vegetables and frozen meat have been demoted and devalued in order to make way for ice cream.
3. I feel compelled to freeze most of my food before eating it. Yogurt goes in the freezer. Frozen bananas? Check. After schlepping around feeling myself melting away I only want to eat frozen things.
4. Areas in public places that have been piles of dirt and snow for months turn into really nice flowerbeds overnight. (Or during lunchtime. I was sitting on a bench in one of the parks a few days ago, waiting for a friend, when I found myself in the middle of the planting process. When I came back after lunch the whole section of the park had been planted.)
5. The fountains in the parks work.
6. Wherever you look there are teenagers making out.
7. There are people biking and rollerblading around the city.
8. Wooden walkways appear out of nowhere because it’s time to start to start doing summer ремонт on the buildings and you gotta protect your pedestrians.
9. Everyone is happy all the time and no one wants to do any work. (Noticeable decrease in class attendance, but really I can’t blame anyone. I was the same.)
The bad signs of summer, which are so few that they don’t even get a real list: the pollution is pretty intense, especially when it’s in the 70s and higher, and I’ve also heard quite a bit about what I think are ticks or other mite-type of insects. I took a really long rambling walk through the city yesterday, and found some pretty buildings that I hadn’t seen before in some neighborhoods I hadn’t visited, but when I got back to my place I had a major pollution headache. As for the ticks, some of the teachers were talking about how they just appear out of nowhere, for example after walks through the center of the city. I don’t know if they’re actually ticks. But still. Any insect that makes people think that they need to go to the health clinic after finding one is a bad insect, ain’t no friend of mine.