"Let him who cannot be alone beware of community...let him who is not in community beware of being alone." -Bonhoeffer, Life Together, p.77
I find this to be an interesting pair of statements because we often group people into introverts and extroverts by saying that there are those who like to be around people more, and those who prefer alone time (this is actually not the correct definition, but is commonly believed). They are naturally happy and thrive when in their preferred social zones.
So it is interesting to think that a person who prefers being with people would actually be a hindrance to the community, or that a person who loves solitude would actually be harmed by it.
But I think that Bonhoeffer was not talking about personality here. read more/-
"...only as we are within the fellowship can we be alone, and only he that is alone can live in the fellowship." (77)
"One who wants fellowship without solitude plunges into the void of words an…
Take a look at these books. What do you observe (other than a Josh McDowell title that used to be seized by border guards)?
Okay, obviously the Cyrillic on the Russian book stands out. But if you will also notice, the title is going the opposite way...from bottom to top, as opposed to top to bottom. This isn't always the case, but it happens often enough that I sometimes mistakenly open Russian books upside down...
It would be interesting enough to leave it at that. But to be fair, I decided to take a wider sample and check out a few Spanish books I have in my collection... continue/-
One title goes the "Russian" way, two go the "American" way! Now I don't know what to conclude! Funny, though!
This is a part of my series on pursuing a Temporary Residency Permit in St. Petersburg, Russia.
In this episode: I officially hand in my application for review
I will write a more informative summary post later, but for now I will just tell about my own experience.
My appointment was on Friday, and I got my final document on Thursday, took it over to be translated, and picked it up on Friday morning.
I was really happy at the prospect of handing everything in, but at the same time I was nervous that I had forgotten something or made a mistake. I knew it would all work out in the end, but I really didn't want to have to go run around fixing something and then have yet another appointment at Immigration. read more/-
The queuing has been different each time I've gone. This time I wasn't sure of my number because I made my appointment over the phone. At 2:00, we were allowed to make our way to the back porch where the security guy was waiting. There were more people than I thou…
I suppose it will be “fun” one day when my grandchildren ask, “Tell us about the time when a volcano almost stopped you from getting Russian residency.”
At least, that’s what I had been telling myself all this week.
My father received my FBI results just before leaving on vacation, and sent it to my brother in DC, who was able to get the apostille and immediately ship it out via FedEx.
That was last Wednesday.
With the help of the package tracker, I was able to see that by Friday the document was already in Frankfurt, and I would have no problem getting it by Monday or Tuesday, with plenty of time to get the translation and make my appointment on Friday...continue/-
I have to admit, I wasn’t initially concerned about the volcano in Iceland or even about closed airspace. My loved ones were all where they needed to be, and no one was planning to travel through Europe. This is not to say that I felt no sympathy for anyone affected, nor concern for the mes…
It's been awhile since I've truly felt "stressed." But this week, deadlines, presentations, and various emergencies have given me that tense feeling in my stomach.
On the other hand, now that I'm used to my instructors, I feel much more relaxed with them and my classmates. It reminds me how important it is for students to feel safe in the classroom, especially when learning a foreign language.
My grammar instructor takes an intense approach to teaching, but at the same time her emotional character provides moments of amusement.
Yesterday, for instance, someone in a nearby classroom was speaking rather loudly and boisterously, but not very coherently... continue/-
Tatiana's eyes widened.
"Girls,...that person...that intonation!" She teaches Phonetics too, so she listens for these things.
The talking went on. The speaker was presumably Chinese since there are many of them in the department.
"Oh, how I would love to give that student a lesson in i…
Why am I awake? I'm not hungry, thirsty, cold, or hot. Everything is silent. I don't remember any dreams.
I roll over...
WOOSH...or was it CRASH? Something is happening, but I don't know what. Zhenya is out of town, so it's a good thing I invited my friend to stay the night.
Neither of us know what is going on. Did I leave something on in the kitchen? Is there a fire?
I walk towards the kitchen in dread. It's coming from the bathroom, but I'm afraid to open the door.
I open the door and a spray of water hits me in the face like a geyser. I don't even know where the water is coming from, but the neighbors upstairs have "flooded" us twice before, in the middle of the night. It's hitting the walls and ceiling and me, and the floor is already covered. continue/-
I panic, wondering what to do first...rescue everything on the floor, or find the source of the leak? While moving shoes and rugs to safe territory, I send Lida upstairs to tell t…
While waiting for my pupils in the orphanage the other day, I amused myself by looking at the bulletin board set up in that particular group.
Along with birthdays, awards, and other announcements, there was a list of rules displayed prominently in one of the sections.
I found the phrasing of the rules intriguing, as well as the juxtaposition of moral standards with rules meant to preserve order. Of course, the orphanage is a place for academic pursuits as well as a home, so it’s natural that classroom rules and rules relating to family life would be combined.
First, a sample of American classroom rules for comparison (found in a forum here):
1. Raise your hand.
2. Keep your hands and feet to yourself.
4. Treat people the way that you would like to be treated.
5. Follow directions. continue/-
The rules posted in the orphanage: (loosely translated)
1) Respect yourself and others.
2) Listen to your elders, for they will not lead you astray.
3) Help the younger ones, wh…
By unnatural, perhaps we mean that it isn't a God-given desire. We were created to be attractive to the opposite, not the same, sex. We were made to love one another and not to commit murder. When a gruesome killing occurs, we shiver in dread...it's so unnatural. It's perverted.
But this argument is not entirely correct. To say that "non-traditional" sexual and other desires are unnatural is to ignore the Fall of Man.
This is a part of my series on applying for a temporary residency permit in St. Petersburg, Russia.
In this episode: The FBI takes its time
Since I couldn’t get my original criminal background apostilled, I had to start a new one back in February, for which I made a little trip to Moscow.
I was optimistic about getting the results back in 4-5 weeks, as I had the first time, but no such luck. I don’t know if the FBI had more requests because of recent policy changes, or if they just weren’t working as quickly, or what. They don’t guarantee a specific turn-around, although I had written URGENT all over the place.
So it was getting down to the wire as my medical test results are only good until April 28th. As you can probably guess, I don’t really want to redo them. That means the last day I can submit my paperwork is April 23rd, since they’re only open on Fridays.
Then I found out that my parents were going on a trip, leaving Sunday (the 11th). If the document came while they were gone,…
Yes, the 8:30 pm sunshine would be a clue. Ahhh, basking in the glory. Well, it's maybe not so glorious from a productivity point of view. So hard to make myself sit down and do something when the sun is shining outside.
What, how did it get to be bedtime already?
Yep, that's one aspect of summer coming.
Another is that the schedules for turning off the hot water have already been posted! I didn't take a photo for fear of freaking out the security guard, but I walked into the building this evening and read that they have already chosen the three weeks during the summer when our building will not have hot water. This is an annual procedure in St. P., done for maintenance purposes.
Good thing we have a hot water heater! Not sure where I will be living in the summer, though...
I've never really been a fan of searching all over town to get that one special ingredient to make an American dish. Especially if it's something Western and expensive. I'd rather use what's more available and cheaper.
However, I do have a grasp of what is sold where, so that I can stop off to get cocoa on my way home from worship practice, for example.
Meanwhile...I have been doing a lot of baking lately, but sometimes I worry about all the white flour. Supposedly it is not great for your health, but giving up bread products is not something I see myself doing anytime soon.
That's why I recently started the search for healthier bread-making ingredients.
One friend suggested a certain store that would have whole-wheat flour, and mentioned something about online bread-making forums. Hmmm, what juicy bits of information could I dig up in the forums? I found that there are ways to get wholesale ingredie…
The first time I read about little Justin, my heart was troubled.
You see, for many children, orphaned life starts out this way: being left somewhere with a note or maybe a little backpack with some food, or even nothing at all.
But Justin had already been through all that...he was being abandoned for the second time.
Now that some time has gone by, I've been able to get away from the tragedy of the situation and think more about the logical implications.
Getting help- return to sender?
-How many adoptive families have the thought cross their minds to send the child "back" to where he/she came from? Let's face it, the decision to adopt is life-changing and anyone might find himself wondering whether or not he made a mistake, regardless of whether or not the child (or parent!) develops psychological problems. It is like any human relationship with its ups and downs. read more/-
There are certainly cases where the child should be removed from the home. However, I think…
I’ll be honest. The bullet-proof vests in the metro make me a tad bit uneasy. I’m not against “security,” per se. They are trained to notice things, act promptly in certain situations, manage crowds…
It just seems ironic that after a series of bombings, a new group of guys in uniforms pops up. Everyone is scared enough, and here is the added security to prove that their fears are not unfounded. Yep, it’s gotten dangerous around here. I suppose that’s the way it always is. I mean, one liquid-aided bomb and now we can’t carry our toothpaste on the plane.
Do I have a reaction to people who look like they might be Islamic militants? Perhaps. I’m not going to deny that certain thoughts cross my mind. But I also have a reaction to migrant workers constantly being pulled over for document checks. They just want to make a living. They are people.
So much of it is psychological. I don’t want my approach to life formed by what I’ve heard on the news. Life is too short for that.
Easter may be "over," but today we finally enjoyed the Easter bundt kulich (a new invention?). The preparation was about a 12-hour process interrupted by lazy yeast and a trip to the store for missing ingredients.
(5th attempt to get both of us AND the cake in the photo)
In class on Friday, one of the teachers poked her head into our room and said that the last class was canceled but that we could attend her church’s Good Friday service. Of course it wasn’t mandatory, but she knew that it was Easter all over the world, and that we might be interested.
I wonder if American college professors would be allowed to invite students to church. I suppose a plus of teaching foreigners is that you can call it a “Cultural” excursion.
Valentina is an Orthodox believer and sings in her church’s choir. Even though it seems that attendance at Orthodox services is intermittent, they do have ongoing activities as in other Christian congregations, and the liturgy is read only once a day, so people have to be somewhat intentional if they are going to attend.
There is definitely a mystical side to Orthodoxy, but I didn’t find it as intimidating as I had in the past. continue/-
Perhaps it just doesn’t feel quite as “foreign.” I suppose that kind of fear is a social fear;…
-You stop at the store on the way home just to buy fermented cabbage sauerkraut. I really need to learn how to make my own...
Anyway, what I really meant to write is that I'm going away for the weekend. I'm not leaving the country, or even the surrounding region, but I am going out of town to a church retreat. It happens to fall on Easter this year, so that should be a blessing.
A trek visit to the orphanage. Would it be worth it? It seemed like for the past few months I had often shown up at an inopportune time, when the kids were in bad moods or otherwise occupied. But I needed to at least fulfill my commitment, and I also had to get some information from the director, so that was another reason to go.
As I approached the orphanage, I went straight into the school/administrative building, in order to catch anyone that might still be in the office. I decided not to look for the director, because as friendly as he is, I couldn’t picture him sitting down and getting some information for me. I went instead to seek out the slightly intimidating, yet competent social worker.
Room numbers and street names are not always my strong point, and I usually rely on my visual memory. Walk into the building, turn to the left, then into the first door on the right, then a jog to the left. continue reading/-
There was a woman sitting at a desk in between the two offices. Was…