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The week that felt like a thousand years

Last Sunday, we went to church. I kind of figured it would be our last for awhile. By the way, we usually get around 15 people...but we do have to travel public transportation to get there. People were making plans and it was awkward feeling like we wouldn't likely follow through on them.

Anyway, that was a weird day, but not for the reasons you'd think. On the way to church, the tram wasn't working...then on the way home, the escalator broke down when we were halfway up! And I had the beginnings of a migraine. We stopped to eat on the way home...also probably our last time for awhile.

I was still checking the news every 5 minutes at that point. In the tram on the way home, I heard someone on the phone explaining that they were unable to drop something off at the orphanage because it was under "quarantine." First time I'd heard that word used around here in regards to COVID-19, although it's common to quarantine orphanages during a seasonal epidemic.

Recent posts

Coronavirus in Russia Q&A (personal observations from a resident)

Hello from St. Petersburg! This isn't supposed to be a strictly factual OR deeply philosophical post... just a little journal entry during this strange life episode.

How many cases are there in Russia?

-Officially around 150, but it's unclear if there are enough tests available and at what point people are seeking medical attention. Pneumonia wards are pretty full, though.

Is there panic?

-Something shifted over the weekend and people started panic-buying, and some new quarantine measures were introduced at the beginning of the week. At this point people seem more skeptical and annoyed by it than scared. But a few people are nervous, especially if they have older relatives.

What are local people stocking up on?

-Mostly toilet paper and buckwheat. Other popular dried goods are oatmeal, flour and pasta. I found it interesting to see empty bread shelves in pictures of U.S. stores. What do you do with extra bread, put it in the freezer?

What protective measures are in place?


And so it begins (Lent and Lethargy)

A week or two ago I felt like I was coming down with something. It was a weird combination of symptoms: fatigue, sore throat, but also a bit of a GI bug.

It wasn't really progressing, but it was the middle of the week and I figured I had picked up something at church on Sunday. I just couldn't get my energy back, though! And suddenly I recognized the feeling. In the spring every year I usually have a period where I'm totally dragging all the time. Not the same as winter malaise, a special springtime variation where the sun is out, everything is good, and yet I just want to sleep all the time. I've been attempting late afternoon couch time, but that also happens to be Sophia's neediest time, go figure...maybe it makes her nervous when I lie down.

I have a few old posts on "avitaminosis"...I just checked them and they were written in May, BUT with the mild winter, maybe things are just happening a bit out of order this year?

To get some energy back, I dete…

The month of change

I keep trying and failing  (timewise) to type up Finland notes, but meanwhile a month has passed since our trip, so it's time for an update. (Side note: Been having terrible trouble with Chrome, had to download Opera before I could get images to show up on here. Anyone else?)

I'm liking our schedule right now, and usually there is much more daylight by the end of February, so there is a different feeling in the air as the seasons change.

Andrei has fewer class hours this semester, or at least they're scheduled differently. He's home most days by 6 instead of 8 pm. He teaches at 2 universities and even has a few foreign students that need instruction in English, which is great practice for him.

Bureaucracy Update: Roadblocks

My children are 7 1/2 and 3 1/2 and have lived in Russia all their lives on guest visas! They were born in the U.S. and only have U.S. citizenship.

Last fall, the government passed some new laws allowing foreign minors to apply directly for permanent residency on the basis of one parent already having permanent residency. That's us!

As soon as the law came into effect, we began to make preparations to start the application process. From my last few posts about this, you can see how the individual documents can be difficult to get.

One of the things we were advised to do was to switch the kids' registration to our flat instead of Andrei's parents.' Everyone living in the Russian Federation has to have an official address where they're registered, which might not be the place where they actually's confusing. Currently I'm the only one registered in our flat.

We were going to switch the registration to my name, but that was going to be a complicated…

Bureaucracy Update: Tuberculosis Tangent

Last month I had my meltdown over the kids' medicals. Maybe it's good that I didn't know another month would go by without getting them done!

We were sick until early January, then everything in the country was closed until January 9th. As soon as offices opened back up, we were at the clinic with the kids.

We went to the kids' section of a fancy private clinic down the street (not the same one that failed to diagnose my appendicitis in a timely fashion). We consulted with a pediatrician first ($$$) per the rules, then got the kids their Mantoux skin test which rules out tuberculosis. That's what is required by immigration authorities, and it has to be entered into a vaccine booklet, which we didn't have yet.

Speaking of tuberculosis, one of Andrei's students got sick with TB this year, and he (Andrei) had to go to the infectious diseases hospital and get all the tests done to prove he wasn't infected! The student likely had had a latent form anyway, t…

Blurting things out

Are there any topics that you find yourself arguing about and then regret it later? (mine are down in the second half of the post)

I find that with social media especially, I am always sticking my foot in my mouth.

Before there were faster methods of communication, reticence tended to save me from saying anything stupid, except around people in whose company I felt totally relaxed. Yeah, I got into ridiculous arguments with siblings, but nothing out of the ordinary. A friend and I had this game called the "random game" where we would just say the first thing that came into our heads. Innocent life before Internet...

Then came chatting via instant messenger, where it was just silly banter.

For emails and blogging, I would always take the time to choose my words carefully. In some ways I still prefer those forms of communication, and that's why I hang on to my blog here. Since I type on my laptop, the effort of powering it up and finding a quiet moment to sit down and wri…