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Showing posts from October, 2010

The moment of truth and an identity crisis

A Fatal Error?  (Continued from this post)

The lady at the fingerprinting station had told me to check EVERY LETTER very carefully. Those words would come back to haunt me...

For the rest of Tuesday and all of Wednesday I was thinking about the fact that I had chosen the spelling that was in my current visa. After all, that was the most authoritative document, right?

BUT the spelling which I had written on my residency application (under a different visa) was totally different... and to be honest, preferable.

To make a long story short, it probably didn't make sense for me to be a resident under one name and have my fingerprints registered under a different name...even if it was a matter of transliteration. continue/-

What to do, what to do? Did it even matter, or would no one notice? There was no room for error, as I would need to pick up my permit on the first try and would not be able to run around the city changing things.

I asked a few people their opinion and most felt that …

Unusual missionary jobs

At some point I was in a biography mood while Kindle-browsing, and decided to download a few missionary volumes. One of these was about Gladys Aylward, missionary to China.*

I'd heard of her before, but only briefly, and I was interested in reading more of her story. It has turned out to be quite a page-turner even though I feel like I'm reading something I might have read in grade school as far as the reading level.

It always amazes me when I read about someone who may have been similar to me but had a totally different calling. Maybe my life would have seemed intimidating to Gladys, but I don't know how I would have survived in her situation. I like this book overall, but I had to take a break after it gave me some violent dreams.

This passage blew me away the first time I was reading it: click for more/-

'So,' continued the mandarin, looking rather proud of himself, 'the government has given me a problem. I need someone to be a foot inspector. A man would not…

Where I left off

Another day in the life of a foreigner in Russia trying to get a residence permit...

Date: Tuesday, October 12
90 days in the country are up: Tuesday, Oct.19 


Time is ticking...

Friday (Oct. 8th) had produced another "no" answer; meaning, the local immigration office didn't have me in their file. They kept telling me no sooner than October 23rd, even though the other office had told me September 23rd. Who was bluffing?

Monday was spent trying to get some answers by phone. The central office confirmed that my results had been "sent out" and that they had done their job. The local offices didn't answer their phone. The next day, there were working hours at the local office, and Andrey and I went in once again to see if there was any sign of my residence permit. continue reading/-

There were long lines as usual in the immigration office. As we were discussing our plan of action, a young woman was sitting nearby, eavesdropping.

We went into the waiting area/corri…

Enemies?

In Russia there is a lot of waiting in line. There are some rules of etiquette that go along with it, which I've discussed before.

Sometimes the waiting seems normal and bearable, like at the grocery store or the bank. But there are a lot of more critical situations, like at Immigration or the doctor's office, where every minute that passes seems like torture.

In recent experiences I found that it wasn't so much the waiting that was the hardest part (although it was truly challenging). What I found most disturbing was the way that people turn on each other. I can include myself in this; although I didn't do anything punishable, there were certainly times when I thought to myself, Why can't they all just go away? How can that man be so stupid? Didn't he read the schedule? How could that woman show up this late and think she could get a place in line?read more/-


I found to my horror that these people whom I didn't know were becoming my "enemies." Af…

I think I'm alive

Pretty soon I am going to write about what it took to get two stamps in my passport. One thing it did take was a lot of energy that I didn't have, so I've spent the last week recuperating and letting my immune system replenish itself (if there is such a thing).

I'm thankful to be able to legally stay in Russia and not have to worry about counting 90 days out of 180. It makes me appreciate anyone involved in an immigration/refugee situation.

I'm thankful for God's faithfulness, and I'm also thankful for friends who remind me of His faithfulness when my own hope is wearing thin!

10 months later

Lots of waiting, and it came down to the last 20 minutes on the last possible day.


As you can see, my temporary residency permit was approved...on September 23, the date that they had promised. 5 months after submitting my application. But I didn't know it was going to be "in limbo" for the next 3 weeks...something I will be warning other applicants about!


The work's not quite over; I have to submit another round of documents in a very short amount of time. But at this point I am in! Praise the Lord.

Detour

I was walking home one evening a few weeks ago, and my road had been torn up during the day, just like that.



That's my building (the one in the middle of the photo) across the street. How would I get home? see more/-

Turn right and go past the building materials...



Turn left and trot over the bridge(s). They built the right one first and it was quite a feat to get over! The second one is MUCH better except for in one spot where there is sort of a half step because they didn't space them evenly and there was too big of a step at the end.


Just what are they doing?

This explains a lot

I tutor a young woman in Business English. She's quite fluent but needs to work on a few skill areas, especially for work. We did some talking about cultural differences in the business world, since she works with both Europeans and Americans in addition to Russians.

A recent homework assignment asked the student to rate her native culture on a scale between contrasting behavior traits. To be honest I couldn't make sense of all of the terms that the textbook gave.

One pair related to time perception. Is your culture "monochronic" or "synchronic"? What did that mean? I offered an approximate definition, but promised to find out more. A search yielded the table you can see below (after the jump).

I can think of a few situations with roommates and such where these differences were obvious. For example, a Russian friend would notice something dirty (shoes, the stovetop) and stop immediately to clean it, whereas I would put it on my to-do list to take care of w…

Getting a package slip

I check our mailbox in the entryway a lot and it usually contains a flier or notice of some kind. And the notices are for the landlord or his mother: a registered letter, something from the pension fund, etc.

The other day I grabbed the usual assortment and started to put it in the pile to give to the landlord for when we actually make contact with him (it's already the 6th of October...he does want the rent, right?). But then I looked a little closer and noticed that it was MY name there on the slip. I had received a...banderole? Hmmmm. Something between a letter and a package...

There was an address of a "pick-up center" I needed to find in order to claim my "banderole." A hassle, yet at the same time I remembered back to the college days, when we received those yellow package slips with joy, even if we knew the package would contain something we had ordered ourselves. It was such a treat to get mail! Continue/-

And now, who knew what surprise was waiting for…

Bureaucratic phone calls

The quest for a residency permit continues, as my 90-day visa gets close to expiry...

I suppose the possibility of deportation is enough reason for anyone to get motivated to make some phone calls. :)

Since I last wrote about needing to make progress, nothing had happened. Last week was spent "trying" to make a phone call, which meant that pretty much every day I "intended" to do it, but put it off due to the fact that I either 1) didn't have time 2) didn't have a working phone 3) didn't have the right phone number.

It's imperative to call during work hours, of course.

I know that a lot of this was due to my own procrastination, but it didn't seem possible that SO many things could go wrong when trying to make one phone call! 

Then there was the weekend...continue/-

Monday

This morning I woke up and picked up my cell phone to see that the balance was 3 rubles (about 10 cents). Not again! Then a friend came to my rescue and put some money in m…