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Showing posts from May, 2011

Another week gone by

I'm a lot calmer than this time last week. For one thing, the dreaded packing and moving is over! I'm already in the apartment where we'll live together after the wedding. I haven't had much strength to put anything away, but the hard part is over.

Andrei and I went back to Immigration twice this week. The first time was to argue our case. We got in line at 8:00 in the morning and it wasn't our turn until 6pm. They were taking about 1 person an hour. I was calmer though with A. there and everyone praying for me. I had clarified a few things, but the Inspector still wouldn't accept my new passport. She said I needed some kind of proof that I had changed my name and all the documents matched. We were arguing in circles.

-"On what basis did you change your name?"

"On the basis of the marriage certificate."

-"But the name on the marriage certificate is different."

"But the marriage certificate is what I used to change my name.&quo…


Now that I'm a bit calmer, I can write about what's happening. I think it's important to write about trials, so that I can praise God later for them. Maybe by the time some of you read this, it will even be resolved. :)

I went ahead and got a new passport, with my new last name...after doing plenty of research to make sure my residency status would be transferable.

The line to visit the local authorities was very long, to put it mildly. Oh, the atmosphere of that waiting terrifying. How many people's lives has it changed? The pacing, the biting of the nails, the rocking back and forth as people on the last day of their visas try desperately to get an extension. Or they wait in line for days to pay a fine, and the fine grows while they wait.

Anything to not go insane! I tried praying, singing, reading, thinking about hope in general...but thoughts kept going to the clock and The List of people in front of me.

The fact that I made it into the room to see The In…

Fun changes


The Love Nest! :)
This is where we're going to live after the wedding...actually, I'm moving in first, sometime next week. These are the "before" photos-we haven't made any changes or cleaned anything up since getting the keys.

The wallpaper is new. Through that little door is a closed-in porch that we can use for storage. The furniture is "older," but has character. ;)

more photos/-

Part 2 of The Bird plus The Passport

(Read the previous post first.)

On Wednesday night I was finishing up blogging and e-mailing when my roommate knocked on my door at about 1am..."he's still here."

Apparently we hadn't checked very thoroughly for Mr.Pigeon, and he had been there all along, all through Bible study, without so much as a peep. Now that the lights were out and all was silent, he had started flapping around again behind the wall of shelves in Yulia's room, and she didn't particularly want to sleep in the same room. So she got in the spare bed in my room and we left Mr. Pigeon alone for the night.

On Thursday morning, he was still there, sometimes sitting still and sometimes pacing a little bit back and forth. No signs of trying to get out.

Andrei came to our rescue on his lunch break. He moved the heavy shelves out of the way enough to get access to Mr. Pigeon. But he ended up having to grab Mr. Pigeon with a cloth and manually carry him out onto the balcony, because that bird wasn…

An intruder

I wanted to pick up my new passport today, but the Consulate hasn't informed me yet of its readiness. I had cleared my schedule anyway, so I was home, throwing everything on the floor doing some spring cleaning.

Suddenly I heard a creeeeak. I freaked myself out with thoughts of the boogey-man visiting, but I attributed the noises to the windows being open and causing things to flutter around in the breeze.

I headed to the front door to put my shoes on and do some grocery shopping, and came face-to-face with a pigeon. It was just bobbing along down the hallway, blinking its eyes. Ummmm....that thing was NOT supposed to be inside!

I guess I thought it would just go "toward the light," or in this case, the open balcony door. No screens here, just some gauzy material to filter out insects and other creatures. I opened the door wider and pulled the curtains aside. A pretty wide target.

Pigeons, it turns out, cannot be shooed. Ever noticed how they just flutter about 2 feet a…

To whom?

To WHOM? (meaning, 'who have you come to visit?') This is often barked at me when I enter Russian establishments. I mean, the kind of establishments that have guards. To be even more precise, certain apartment buildings, and orphanages, and even the Consulate.

I have been grappling with why this is such a strange question for me, as an American.  Do we even demand to know people's business as they arrive? Or is it always something super-polite, as in, "How may I help you?" What question would they ask in other countries around the world?

It used to irk me at the orphanage, and actually it still does, because I'm always ready to say who I am, but then they ask whom I'm looking for. I know I should learn the right answer, but I usually end up saying something like "everyone" or "the children" since I go around to different groups. Really, I'm supposed to say "Group 2," or the counselor's name there. They want to know th…

To America and back in one hour

Don't know if it was risky to go to the U.S. Consulate today or not. In Moscow, maybe. But they don't seem to be likely targets for "activity."

I successfully applied for my new passport today (after filling out the form a few times). When I pick it up next week, I will have to get it translated in a hurry and dash over to the local authorities to get my residency stamp transferred. Foreigners must be registered here within 3 days, and my old registration will be canceled along with my old passport.

The scene at the Consulate hasn't changed much over the past few years. What has changed is the new "appointment" system. It seems like a joke because there is NEVER a line at Citizen Services. Well, maybe I've had to wait a few minutes while they dealt with someone else or did something paperworky in the back. But in general, it's a ghost town.

I suppose they want to 1) know exactly who is going to be coming to the Consulate on a given day and 2) re…

An age-old or modern problem?

"Well, you dress like a little girl, for one thing."

"I am a little girl, so why shouldn't I?"

-Louisa May Alcott, An Old-Fashioned Girl, page 10

I read this book for the first time recently, and quite enjoyed getting to know the main character, "old-fashioned" Polly. I've noticed some social commentary lately on how young girls dress, and here in Russia their wardrobe choice is an issue as well.

It's not so much that Russian girls dress more or less scantily than in other countries, but there is a lot of premature sophistication, in my opinion. I'm almost 30, and there are eight-yr-olds more sophisticated than I am. The heels, the pea-coats, the perfectly coiffed hair...Is it a problem or not to dress older than one's age? That's debatable.

What I liked about the girl in this book was that she herself was conscious of how she differed from her vain peers, yet she stood firm. It is one thing for parents to set rules about modesty, …