Skip to main content


Showing posts from July, 2010

Taking a breather

It's been an amazing week! About a week ago I was at McDonald's in Massachusetts on my way to the airport; right now I'm using the free wireless at McDonald's in St. Petersburg. :)

Jet-lag is really tough, but I can't help but wonder if it is a blessing in disguise that dulls the senses and makes intense situations easier to bear...

I arrived in 90-degree weather and went straight to the new apartment. The weather has stayed in the 90's for the whole week. I have never seen this kind of weather here before. It's incredible, especially when you have the sun coming up at 5:30 and setting at 10:30. No fans or air conditioning in most places.

I didn't sleep much for the first few nights and forced myself to be up and about during the day. I got important things done like registration and started the long list of tasks to do in the apartment. It is starting to look more "homey" even though there is a lot left to do.

On Monday I worked for about 5 h…

A new way to read

So I bought a Kindle. And I need a packing break, so I'll write a little review.


The reviews I read said that the design of the regular Kindle wasn't too hot compared to others. Well, I find it attractive, but maybe not the most ergonomically sound. It took me some time to figure out the controls, and the keypad seems extraneous for the amount of space it takes up. A touchscreen you can call up would be better.



You will notice while changing pages that the screen goes black in-between. At first I thought this meant that the machine wasn't powered well enough or had some kind of bug. But I read somewhere that it's due to the special "ink" used to display the text.

No pictures at this time. :( I mean, they are not included, in the books currently available in the Kindle store. I'm not sure what the implications would be as far as energy usage, etc. But I'm sure they will be working on this.

Book access

You can do all purch…

Suitcase mood, part 2

The hard part of traveling overseas isn't even the voyage itself, it's what has happened to your brain by the time you've reached your destination!

I do have to say that I'm humbled by this family's journey, and don't expect mine to be nearly as challenging.

Of course the packing and the leaving and the sitting and the lugging bags are a hassle. But when you arrive in a place 8 time zones away, well, it's a bit hard to focus. So the anticipation is like preparing for an operation that may leave you with temporary memory loss. And you feel like tattooing your name and phone number on your hand, just in case.
read more/-

I won't be sleeping much for the next few days, and my stomach probably won't let me eat all the foods I normally would be able to.

What country am I going to again? I have to make sure that I have all my documents in order, as well as some of the local currency, so that I can at least pay for the bus fare when I arrive.

Do I even have…

Modern homemaking?

Moving to a farm?

It seems like everyone is these least, according to recent reports on "radical homemaking."

This week, I read an article about this movement, as well as heard a radio program. It seems people are getting tired of the city life and the corporate world and are turning to more agrarian ways. I've seen it in Christian circles as a way to live more simply, in environmentalist circles as a way to reduce waste, and among people who are just ready for a change.

Among the newly coined terms: the's independent woman, who may "stay at home," but pulls her weight in supporting the family farm...I guess. I didn't really understand the concept, myself. (NY Times)
read more/-

I have so many questions about whether or not this lifestyle is even something to consider. The first irony that hits me is the plethora of blogs out there, chronicling life on a farm. Having a digital camera and wireless Internet don't interfere wi…

Hymn #12

It's hymn time! I haven't posted one for awhile.

We sang this one at a meeting recently, and I really like the words. They hit on some key truths and key heart issues.

This observation from Verse 2 is especially striking:

And from my smitten heart with tears Two wonders I confess:
The wonders of redeeming love And my unworthiness.
I had this vision of a person kneeling, turning up a tear-streaked face towards Heaven, and confessing these two realizations.

Complete lyrics:/-

Beneath the Cross of Jesus

Verse 1
Beneath the cross of Jesus I fain would take my stand,
The shadow of a mighty Rock Within a weary land.
A home within the wilderness, A rest upon the way,
From the burning of the noontide heat And the burden of the day.

Verse 2
Upon the cross of Jesus Mine eyes at times can see
The very dying form of One Who suffered there for me;
And from my smitten heart with tears Two wonders I confess:
The wonders of redeeming love And my unworthiness.

Verse 3
I take, O cross, t…

The bats of summer

Last summer, the attic was being sealed off to get rid of our bat "tenants."

With the bats "gone" and the light-bulb replaced, my dad was now willing to go in and retrieve my millions of boxes so that I could sort them (he did find a carcass, probably the last one).

So I've been consolidating my memorabilia and defending my position as the family pack-rat archivist.

Soooo many amusing and interesting these 5000-ruble notes from 1993, when the ruble had depreciated. This might have been from our first trip to St. Petersburg in 1996. I remember thinking I had so much money, when in fact it was only worth a few dollars. continue/-

Then there are my first compositions, like the "chapter book" I started when I was 8. I'm sure I was doing a lot of reading and reusing some of the story-lines. But it is still cute to read.

I found a few chronicles of family trips, complete with weather reports and tales of sibling/cousin interaction...


Cooking bloopers

Can't quite put this one on the food blog! My mom and I were determined to have successful results a few days ago using a pizza "slip."

You are supposed to "build" the pizza on the wooden slip while the pizza stone heats up in the oven. If you have seen them do this in pizzerias with brick ovens, they make it look easy-breezy.

We lovingly assembled our on/-

And then came the transfer. It was a flop, literally. The pizza accordioned; the uppermost toppings spilled onto the hot stone with a sizzle, reminding me of those fajita platters that they carry by you in restaurants to tempt you. But this was a monster. We put it in anyway to bake, and got something interesting and even tasty:

Pizza #2 had the same problem, and I didn't want it to meet the same demise, so we folded up the edges to make it more easily transferable. It took on the characteristics of a calzone or stromboli.

And we ended up with pretty unique twin "pizzas." We have…

Keeping up and pleasant surprises

Does it ever get old? ...the thrill of receiving an awaited piece of paper; a report card, diploma, plane ticket, letter, paycheck, etc...

I did battle with the Fed-Ex drop box on my first day back in the States. I was determined to get my visa application in the mail, but was having trouble focusing.

I had the forms, but no envelope. I stared at the drop box and wondered where to get one. I circled the machine like a predator checking out its prey. Then I poked at a flap, which opened to reveal supplies! Oh, and a sign read "lift for supplies." All of this seemed so foreign...

I had struggled with the visa application (and won) while in Russia, so no delays there. After about 30 minutes of wrestling with the Fed-Ex billing slip, I was ready. The sticky label buckled as I placed it on the envelope, but I wasn't about to rewrite it for the second time. It would have to do.  continue/-

Next stop, the bank. I walked in and headed to where the deposit envelopes used to be. …


Have you ever just assumed you weren't eligible for something, crossed it off your list? I know that I do it. I'm too young, weak, busy, clumsy, single, etc...

I was helping with a program to aid local Christian families in becoming foster parents. I didn't have professional training and my Russian wasn't great for dealing with bureaucrats, but I could offer some encouragement and help with spreading the word.

A single woman at a local church was interested in finding out more and going through our training program. I took a packet of information, and prepared to meet with her.

When we met up at her workplace, I was surprised to see that she was about my age...just a working single girl, trying to make ends meet like everybody else.
read more/-

I had met so many people who "wanted" to help but were struggling financially; living in cramped quarters; unsure of themselves...or, who simply weren't winning favor with officials, for whatever reason.

At the sam…


We were entering the dressing room in a clothing store in a certain town that has a larger Russian immigrant population. The attendant's name-tag said "Yelena," and my mom ratted me out in pointing to me and announcing, "My daughter lives in Russia!"

To which Yelena responded by asking if I spoke Russian, and I said, I did, a little bit.

Anyway, we chatted for a few minutes in Russian and by the end of the conversation she knew I was a missionary and had invited me to the Russian Baptist Church nearby. She even wrote down her phone number, labeling it "sell phone." I don't know if I will make it there for a visit or not...


The thing that feels comfortable when coming back to the States is not so much that I know all the rules. I feel pretty awkward with some of the customs, but I feel at ease because of the diversity. It isn't weird to have had some sort of cross-cultural experience, or to wear funky clothes, or to cook exotic foods …


It is always strange to be writing a blog post from a new location. The last time I clicked on "New Post," I was on a different continent.

The worst of jet-lag is behind me, though it's still hard to focus my mind on something and do it. But it is nothing to complain about!

I headed off to D.C. a few days after arriving, where I met my youngest niece (8 months) and saw some college and even high school friends! We marked our 10-yr high school anniversary this year, so it's nice to see how the Lord has enabled friendships to continue.

And now I'm back in Massachusetts, waiting for my new visa...

click to meet Hannah/-