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On my last legs

Date: October 18
Number of Days until registration expires: 1
Status: Sick in bed

(Click to read previous episode)

Two thoughts had occurred to me. The first (spoken by others until I finally accepted it as truth) was that I had to step up my energy to a new level and FIGHT. This I had already realized during the previous week, but as the working hours drew to a close on Friday and I saw how difficult it was to maintain one's place in line, I realized the gravity of the situation.

The second realization was that I didn't have any strength left. Of course it's pretty bad if you need to fight and don't have any strength, but I realized that now was the moment when I needed to lean on others. I had wanted to do as much as I could by myself, mainly because I live here in this country and need to learn some survival skills. But that didn't mean there was any shame in asking for help. continue/-

Especially when I was near the point of total collapse. Everyone prayed for me over the weekend and several friends offered to go check on The List first thing in the morning on Monday.

Monday. A morning phone call, as my friend was headed to work. "I signed you up. You're #28." It was a miracle that I was even on The List. I wondered what kind of scene she had had to deal with, and was glad that I wasn't there myself. Now I had a few hours before I needed to head down to resume the vigil.

2pm, everything was in order; they were starting to go down The List. It was slow again, but at least they were open 6 hours today instead of 4.

Another hitch: the registration window would be open from 2-8 pm, but my friends still needed the stamp from the housing authority, and that office opened at 3pm. :)

We were already in the 20's when I got a phone call from my friends with the apartment. "You won't believe this, but you have to be present with us to get this stamp." What? How? They were in a completely different area of the city (I might add that the geographic location of the registration office had no physical relation to the neighborhood in which I would be registered). But they were on their way to get me, in the car. Andrey stayed to keep an eye on progress.

Zoom. We sped down to the housing authorities. I poked my head in, flipped open my passport, and we got a stamp. Had it really been that necessary? Zoom. We were back within the course of an hour. Labor Things had barely progressed, since people who had skipped their turn were suddenly showing up.

Each time we would get one number closer to mine, another person would appear. Now #16 had arrived; now #1 was back with his photocopy...

But I DID get my turn. Masha came in with me since she was familiar with the housing documents. The lady checked everything multiple times, her eyes darting quickly back and forth. Then she started to gather things together, methodically placing paperclips here and there.

She didn't find any mistakes. I couldn't believe it. I expected at least another photocopy to be demanded of me. I had been sure I would have to leave and fight my way in. Even on Friday when I had my documents "ready," I still had a list of questions. Little by little I pieced things together, but some uncertainty remained. And now she was telling me to come back on Thursday, and everything would be ready. It was another miracle.

We celebrated by going to McDonald's. I was high on feelings of relief mixed with cold medicine, even though I didn't really have a was tonsillitis. But there would be time enough to go to the doctor, now that I didn't have to worry about The List.


  1. Do not keep us hanging in there... Are you ok? Is everything else ok?

  2. Hi Liz,

    You are the best kind of Christian soldier!

    Being persistent sometimes pays off with Russian bureaucracy.

    Now it's time to find the cause, cure, and future prevention of your painful tonsillitis. Let us know how you are now.

    Rob at American Russia Observations


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