Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Working Girl

So, preveiously blogged, I got a job! I will be working for American Language Master (ALM) teaching English. ALM is an American-owned language school here in St. Petersburg. They offer pre-intermediate, intermediate, upper intermediate, and advanced English classes. (this means the students have to know basic english already in order to enroll...meaning I don't have to be able to speak Russian to do this. which is A BIG PLUS.) They offer evening classes and also have a number of contracts teaching english at local companies (in the morning) who want their employees to improve their english. I have been orienting/training a few days these last 2 weeks, and getting familiar with the ESL books from which I will be teaching material. Also, I have been helping with the conversation group ALM offers on Saturday afternoons. The students who attend an English class with ALM can go to the conversation group on Saturdays for free as another opportunity to practice their English. We meet at a local coffeeshop and split the students into 3 groups, each group including a teacher, who then leads conversation on a certain topic, or leads the group in a game or activity that encouages them to speak. I have been to conversation group the last 3 Saturdays - the first time just as an observer to see what they do - and the last two weeks I have been a leader. Its a lot of fun and the students seem to respond really well to the things i have prepared. Plus I just have fun talking to people and hearing what they have to say. Fun for me, and i even get paid to do it! I went to ALM today for my last training thing - I met with the director and together we went through a lesson I had planned. He gave lots of good feedback and at the end told me that he had no reservations at all about me doing a good job teaching. He thinks I am totally ready and he could put me in front of a class tomorrow if he had one. The classes don't run on a set semester schedule, but rather begin once enough students are signed up. I don't know when I will get my first class, but he said that it should be in the next few weeks. Very exciting.


You've made my day. I have loved getting a glimpse into who reads up here!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Ah, Summer....

Ah, Summer....

I did not take this photo, Amy McSwegin did, but I was just looking at it today and remembering this sweet time with lots of heaping nostalgia. This was right before we left Ohio. We shared frozen custard with dear friends, looked at wedding photos, (Neil taught Sam the "neat trick" of spinning his wedding band on the table to see how long it would spin, which he still does from time to time and did I mention that I am just so very proud of that....yeah, uh, Neil thanks for that....) sense the sarcasm? good, because i'm laying it on pretty thick.

In the photo, from left to right: Sam, Lisa J, Josh V, Neil, Maveja, Mike, Amy, Me.
I love it because, well, I can't really explain why, but just that when i look at it, I feel loved. And I am encouraged that the warmness of summer breezes and comfort of flip flips will one day return. Just for today I will pretend that it didnt just snow 3 more inches. I will take cheer in the fact that it is now almost 5pm and it is not yet dark outside. Amen.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


got a job teaching english!

recieved "Christmas" packages from loved ones in the February (thanks to the Russian post)

second semester classes have begun for Sam

have become addicted to LOST. late i know, but its much better this way because now i have 3 whole seasons i can watch on my own time schedule. so much better this way than having to wait for the next show each week.

reading: "God Grew Tired of Us" John Bul Dau's memoir of his journey as one of the lost boys of Sudan. (i requested it, Amber kindly responded, and "pre-read" it for me...ha!)

learning: African geography at

enjoying the new "Inside Russia" series this month on BBC World - beginning with the "Russian Godfathers" documentaries.

the days are starting to get longer, hope that winter will end sometime!

we attended our first "couples" fellowship. Sam dreaded it and said it made him feel old. we also discovered we suck at the "how-well-do-you-know-your-spouse" game.

possible opportunity for an apartment...pray about this!

leave some comments...i'm wondering if anyone still reads this anymore! miss you guys. drop me a line here.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

post-birthday blogging

So, on Monday I commemorated another year of life on Earth. As is the hostel tradition, my friends from the fellowship group came to celebrate at midnight - as Feb 3rd turned into Feb 4th (my brithday). Many of our friends from fellowship are away in Moscow right now on a Winter retreat, so we had a small gathering, which was actually quite pleasant. Deepthi had recorded video messages on her phone from everyone who couldn't be there. So it was very nice to know that even those who weren't there to celebrate with me were still thinking of me. We had 2 kinds of cake and of course everyone sang Happy Birthday and I blew out candles. I got a salwar kameez and dupatta from Deepthi. Follow the link or just look at the pics below if you don't know what that is.

salwar kameez and dupatta

salwar kameez and dupatta

salwar kameez and dupatta

Here are some pics from the midnight party.

The next morning Sam made breakfast for me and gave me my present. I got a steamer/rice cooker. I was totally happy. We eat a lot of rice so this will be really convenient and there is no worry about over-cooking. Plus I can steam vegetables...mmmm.


We spent a leisurely morning at home and then Sam took me out for Sushi for lunch! I had mentioned a little while ago how I wanted to go to this Japanese place for Sushi sometime and he took me there. So sweet. The place was quite nice and the food was good. Oh, I almost forgot to mention that God gave me a nice present too - snow. So Sam and I had a nice walk to the metro station in the snow. It was very pretty because not only the ground, but also all the tree branches were covered.

On our way home from lunch we stopped at the post office because we had gotten a notice that a package had arrived for us. I also got a postcard from Courtney on my birthday. Talk about perfect timing! We received the package from my parents' neighbor whom we recently met when we were in the States. She is a very lovely, sweet lady. We got a number of goodies that we just can't get here that I'm very excited about.


ground decaf coffee (can only find decaf instant here), salsa spices, spicy ranch mix, candybars, Tylenol sore throat/cough syrup (Sam considers this a wonder cure), long underwear, and Crest mouthwash. It was a great birthday present!

After we got home, Sam and I watched a movie and made dinner and had a relaxing evening at home together. I had such a fun day; couldn't have asked for a better birthday. And it was even better because Sam has the week off since he cleared all his exams for last semester and classes don't begin till next week. All in all, I'd have to say that Russian birthday #1 turned out alright.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

changes come

howdy blog-world. i took to heart A's comment about my blog background. i've been thinking the same myself for quite some time now, but just couldnt find anything else i liked, even though i have hated the way the background interferes with my photos. so anyway for now i have just gone simple, deciding less is more, and we'll see what happens in the future.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

чайкофф кафе

чайкофф кафе

чайкофф кафе

чайкофф кафе

чайкофф кафе