Tuesday, March 31, 2009

the highs and lows of living abroad

of course there are many highs and lows of living abroad, it's true, (and many which are much more important!) but those i am focusing on now are:

low - missing familiar things
high - receiving those familiar things from people who love you

you have no idea how much excitement there is in receiving something like Jelly Bellies jelly beans, or Listerine mouthwash until you have received them in a place where you can't just buy them whenever you want. i am writing about this today because our dear friend, Courtney, from Ohio is planning a visit to "Mother Russia" at the end of April/beginning of May to see us. and she, knowing the joy i just mentioned, has offered to devote one of her two checked bags to us!

i regularly get the question from friends about what we miss from the States and what they could send to us, but i know that typically actually sending those things requires mailing a package overseas, which can be costly even for a small box. so, for those who have thought about it, here is your chance without paying for any mailing! we will have up to 50 lbs. worth of space in "our" bag.

so here is our "WISH LIST":

Drink mixes or Kool-Aid
Crest toothpaste (Nighttime formula)
Starbucks coffee beans
Listerine Arctic Mint mouthwash
brown sugar
bottle of Ranch dressing (i have some dry powder packets, but the taste just isn't same due to the taste of the mayo or sour cream)
maple syrup
dried Parmesan cheese
taco seasoning
chocolate chips
canned black beans
yellow mustard
Jelly Bellies
Goldfish crackers
books - "A Thousand Splendid Suns" by Khaled Hosseini, and "The Diary of Anne Frank" (for the books, used is totally fine!)

if you would like to send us any of these things, please reply to this post with the thing or things you will get, so others can see (so Courtney doesn't end up bring us 10 cans of black beans or something!) and i'll contact you and get Courtney's contact info to you. She would like to have the things ready to pack by April 25th.

thanks so much, dear friends! thanks for thinking of us. we think of you often and dearly miss you!!!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

pics i have been meaning to post for a while!

this is Max. (Maxim) he is 11 years old.


i teach him English twice a week at his home

we get a long really well. he's very silly and kind of dramatic, so we have lots of fun together. and he chews on pens incessantly. i don't really get why.


but i will say, he is a very polite kid too. he always offers me a pen to eat as well, although i always turn him down! He once told me that his parents always taught him if he was eating something he should offer to share with his guests. so without fail, i am always offered whatever random piece of plastic he is eating! (thanks, but no thanks!) but this gives you an idea of his personality.

Max and i do Madlibs together in his Tuesday lessons (although that is ALL we would do if it were up to him!) he calls them "stories". OFTEN on Thursdays Max, with great hope asks, "do you have some stories today?" and i say, "no, it's Thursday. not today." and then i get THIS face:


i also get "the face" when we are doing the Madlibs and i won't let him use the same words over and over again. his favorite adjective: "dirty" favorite proper name: "Kirusha" (his little brother's name) favorite adverb: "dirtily" favorite superlative: "dirtiest"...do you see a pattern? other favorites include made up words like "Maximing" which he likes to pretend is a continuous verb, and when i turn him down and tell him "no" because it's not a real word in English, he'll say, "Oh...? Don't you know? it's a new word. they added it to the dictionary after you left America..." then he will argue with me offering several definitions for what "maximing" is. like i said, silly and dramatic.

these are my favorite ads in the metro. they're for an internet company. basically the gist of this is:

"Winter...don't go outside. Go on the internet!"
my favorite ad in the metro

my favorite ad in the metro

particularly i love the icicle picture and the scary snowman. hilarious!

these ar some photos from the International Women's Day celebration the guys from fellowship threw for us. They cooked way too much food (again) and served us like gentlemen. they put together a very sweet powerpoint presentation about how God created women. they also made personalized hand-made cards and gave each of us a little cross necklace.

the ladies of fellowship: Sandrine, Amanda, Pooja and Felcy
(yep, only 4 of us this year! and like 11 guys!)
Women's Day celebration

Pooja and Felcy
Women's Day celebration

Carlson, Charlie, Sam and Shumie
The guys

Me with my card
Women's Day

Sandrine and Felcy
Women's Day

so, there are the photos i have had just waiting to post for like a month now! i'll try not to hoard them next time.

In other news, our good friend Courtney, from Ohio is going to be visiting us here in good old St Petersburg in May. we'll will have the pleasure of her company for a whole month! so she will be here long enough to get a proper introduction to Russia. We are both looking forward to having her as our first guest and showing her the city.

as for teaching,i am teaching an Upper-Intermediate I class that i really enjoy. and i've also gotten a new student who i am preparing to take the TOEFL exam. of course i continue to teach Max, Pavel, Eldar, and Eric too. in fact Eric and i have added another lesson on Sundays and we've started watching "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" (Eric's favorite movie) in English!

Sam is in his surgery cycle now, which he seems to be enjoying. this week he got to watch a mastectomy. his group has worked very hard this year, so they might be finishing the year early (like the end of April) which means a LONG summer for him. we are still hoping and praying God will make a way for us to go to Namibia/Angola this summer for Sam to do his practical work and so we can visit friends and family.

the days are sunnier these days - more often than for months - and the daylight hours are increasing daily, which means everybody is getting excited about Spring. but we're all still hesitant to get really excited, knowing that it could still snow in April! (Consequently, this morning at 9am it was clear and sunny. By 11am it was overcast. By 1pm it was snowing like crazy. and now at 3pm, the snow has quit and the sun is back out. Just a typical day in St. Petersburg!

Blessings from Sam and I to all of you! Thanks for praying for us and for keeping up with us!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

hey everybody, sing along...

I finally remembered to take my camera with me to church today and i took a little video of the worship time to share...

"Blessed Be Your Name"

these are the Russian lyrics to the chorus, which is what is playing in the video.
Go ahead, give it a try! (i used to have trouble, but now i can sing it out with the best of them) enjoy!

"Blessed Be Your Name" in Russian