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Internet, yay. And an update. =)

March 18, 2013

It’s Sunday night as I sit here writing this, but who knows what day I will end up actually posting it. I still haven’t worked out the internet situation in my room, so I am still only getting internet on my phone. I am so, so thankful that I ended up paying for internet on the phone – it only costs 5 bucks a month here, so I decided to get it and it’s been wonderful! It’s been invaluable, really. Especially in the first few weeks of going all over Moscow for interviews, etc. Every now and then I will use it to pull up the Moscow metro map when I am out and about and need to make several line changes, but for the most part now I just use it for entertainment on the long commute, or to email quick emails and requests to family. (Thank you mom for taking care of bills, birthday presents, my car, and sending me needed items I can’t buy here!)

I have sent several newsy updates to family back home, so I feel like most of the “news” has already been shared, even if the few of you who read my blog haven’t gotten it. So I will do my best to repeat it all here. =) It will probably be in a completely random order, and the later it gets, the more rambling it will probably be!

 

I can’t believe it’s been 6 weeks already! That’s double the length of time I had previously ever been out of the country. I don’t know if this sentiment will change over the next few months, but right now I can see myself staying here for a few years. Who knows what God wants, but I’m open to whatever it is. At least I think I am, haha.

God has blessed me so, so much here! Living by faith is so much fun! Over and over again in Psalms (and throughout the Bible) God says that if we walk with Him, trust in Him, delight in Him, and fear Him that He will bless us, take care of us, and provide for us. And while we don’t serve Him for what we can get out of it, it is so neat to watch Him provide just like He says He will. God can absolutely take care of us no matter where we are, but sometimes we live a life so “already figured out” that we aren’t even looking for Him to provide for us. So that’s the fun part of being here. Having to depend on Him for basically everything. And He’s more than taken care of me. A big part of even coming here was to have the chance to live by faith again, and to show that God absolutely can provide when we step back and give all our plans to Him.

I don’t deserve any of the good things He has blessed me with, and yet He is so good to give them to me anyways. I want everything in my life to point back to Him and give Him glory for all He’s done.

I’m sure He’s taken care of me and protected me in ways I don’t even know about. Just the fact that He’s kept me safe over all the miles I have walked here (mostly on ice and often after dark) is a huge blessing! People told me before I came that I was so ‘brave’ but really, I am not brave. I just know that God will be with me as He has promised, and so what is there to be afraid of? If you have God, you don’t need anything else! He is enough.

 

At the beginning of this year I said that it would be neat to look back at the end of this year and see all the ways God had provided for me, and it’s already been awesome and I’ve only been here 6 weeks. I can’t wait to see what the year holds! I pray that He gives me all the grace and strength and mercy I need to face all that this year will bring, because I know I will need it. It’s definitely not “easy” living here, but He’s blessed so much, and I’ve been having a great time! I do occasionally have the urge to fly to the Caribbean for a week of sun, haha, but then I felt like that back when I was in California as well, so…I think once you have been to the Caribbean, you will always want to go back! (Same as for pretty much anywhere you go. Or maybe that’s just me. ;P)

 

I have a routine pretty much set now. I have Sundays and Mondays off, which is a really nice way to start the week! Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays I start work at 4 pm, which means I have to leave the house at 1:40 to walk to the bus stop to catch the 2 pm bus. Then I take the bus about 30-40 minutes (depending on traffic) to the Domodedovskaya metro stop (which is the closest one to us). Then I take the green line all the way to the other end (takes about an hour). Then I take a trolley bus another 15 minutes (again, depending on traffic) and from that stop then I walk about 10 minutes to the house where I work as a “governess/tutor” (more just a governess since I am not required to do any tutoring, but I do some anyways) for 2 children. I play with the children, have tea with them and sometimes play with their little brother (who is cared for by the Russian nanny). I get off at 7 and then do the whole process in reverse, getting home at about 9:30 or 10 pm, depending on if I am able to catch the first bus back from the metro. If I am late, I have to wait half an hour for the next one. =(

Sometimes I will grab a bite of dinner at the KFC at the metro if I don’t think I can wait the hour till I get home to make myself a meal. And sometimes I will grab some groceries to take home with me. That’s the nice thing about the metros here, they all (practically) have malls and grocery stores at them.

The 2 hour and 20/40 minute commute definitely has me appreciating my easy 10 minute drive to APU each day! I always appreciated it then too, but even more so now! It’s fun to get out and see the city, watch all the interesting people (Moscow is FABULOUS for people watching!), and just enjoy the commute, but it is tiring. It’s funny to me that I spend more time commuting than I do working each day.

Thursdays I work for a different family who has one 9 year old boy. I do an hour of tutoring with him, and then half an hour of playtime. For that one I can leave the house an hour later, but I get home an hour later as well. That one isn’t as easy to get to since I still have to take the bus, the metro and another bus or trolley (depending on which comes by first) and then walk, but I have to make 2 line changes so that requires quite a bit more walking/time.

Saturdays I am with that family again, but first I have to go to an English club from 11:15 AM to 1 PM. Then I run straight to the family’s house, taking an hour to get there. Saturdays are definitely busy since I have to leave the house by 9ish AM. But I do get home by 5 or 6 pm so that’s nice! =)

 

Anyways, that’s probably way more information than anyone cares about, but that’s mostly what I do here now.

 

One of the nice things about my schedule here is that I get to revert back to the night owl that I normally am! During the 5 years I spent working at APU, I had to start my days at 6:30 AM, which was early for me to get up! So that meant getting to bed at a decent time, otherwise it was so hard to get up on time. Eventually I got used to the schedule, and enjoyed it, since it meant getting off work at 4:30 pm (as opposed to 9 PM) and meant I still had some daylight left to enjoy. But now that I don’t get home till 9:30 or 10, I end up staying up till at least 1 AM and then sleeping in since I don’t have to leave again till after 1 PM. (yes I consider staying up till 1 AM a night owl, ha, I’m getting old! Although tonight it’s much later)
Tonight after church the girls and I went shopping, then came back and played with Hannah’s new Husky puppy, Mocha. He’s a doll and is only 6 weeks old, tomorrow. (Pretty sure in the states they have to be 8 weeks old before you can pick them up). He’s tiny!

Then Hannah and I cleaned all the cobwebs from the church ceiling – the ceiling is so high that I had to stand on a tall ladder AND hold a long broom handle with a rag on top of it to reach them all.

 

I was also able to do some laundry today, yay. Simple things such as laundry, that are so easy back home, aren’t as easy here. While I was staying in the Reasoner’s guest bedroom I had easy access to a washer and dryer, so long as the others weren’t using it (which, with so many people in one house, using small European-size washers and dryers, wasn’t all that often, but still it was easier than it is now)

Now that I have moved up to the apartment, all I have here is a washer that does a number on my clothes! I am not sure what it does, but my clothes sure looked different when they came out! It’s really rough on them and so they were slightly faded, and completely pilled (? is that the right word?). So now I am afraid to put my nice clothes in there. Towels and such I don’t mind washing there…So I wash everything but clothes there and hang it all to dry in the kitchen since there is a clothes line strung across the ceiling in there. I feel so pioneer woman or ghetto woman or something. Reminds me of when Leanne and I hand washed our clothes in the bathroom sink, by candlelight, in India. =)

And then on Sundays when I go into the main house for church, I just go early and take a load of clothes to wash and dry and take back with me when I leave. It’s a slippery, icy walk to and from the house/apartment, so it’s not a trip I take too often unless I have to. To complicate the wash process though, I don’t dry all my clothes in the dryer (or else they will shrink) so I always hang dry things like jeans and shirts and then fluff in the dryer, which here means washing, then bringing the wet clothes back to the apartment, hanging till dry, and then hoping the dryer is open at some point so I can take it all back down there to dry for a few minutes. But really, it could be a lot worse, so this works.

Next time you want to complain about all the laundry you have to do, at least just appreciate the fact that it’s probably fairly convenient for you. And while you are at it, appreciate all your ice-free sidewalks and cheap, good, American products! =)

You appreciate little things a whole lot more here! (ie I don’t think I had ever thanked God for ice-free patches of sidewalk before I came here! Or a seat on the bus or metro. Not that I ever used the bus bacl home, ha.)

 

Anyways, things have been going fabulously well here. I have met several other girls who are doing similar things here and it’s been great to connect with them, network, and share stories, etc. I really couldn’t have asked for a better adventure! Before I came here Russia seemed so intimidating and mysterious, but the longer I am here, the more normal it seems. Every now and then something will happen to remind me that I am in Russia, but for the most part it’s been incredibly tame (knock on wood) and “normal.”

Practically no one speaks English here, so the limited vocabulary I picked up before I came has proved invaluable. I really need to get back into practicing and learning more, and not just relying on the few things I do know.

 

I am so looking forward to all the possible travel adventures this year will hold! Right now I am so busy that there is no time for weekend trips, but hopefully this summer or fall I can take off a few weeks here and there and do some traveling. I am also hoping to be able to meet up with the Lighthouse group that is going to Israel, Greece and Italy in November. Flights from Moscow to Rome are cheaper than flights from California to the midwest, so I really want to take advantage of being here as much as I can! And there are so many fabulous cruise deals from Europe as well!

 

Okay, well, I hope that long update is good for a while since who knows when I will update this again, other than putting up pictures now and then.

Even though I am having a great time here, I am still counting down the days till Sweden, then Ireland, then HOME! Can’t wait to see the family, the church building, friends, the dogs, the car, and Wal Mart again, haha. Got some stocking up to do for when I come back!

 

Goodbye, for now.

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