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Bureaucracy Update: Roadblocks

My children are 7 1/2 and 3 1/2 and have lived in Russia all their lives on guest visas! They were born in the U.S. and only have U.S. citizenship.

Last fall, the government passed some new laws allowing foreign minors to apply directly for permanent residency on the basis of one parent already having permanent residency. That's us!

As soon as the law came into effect, we began to make preparations to start the application process. From my last few posts about this, you can see how the individual documents can be difficult to get.

One of the things we were advised to do was to switch the kids' registration to our flat instead of Andrei's parents.' Everyone living in the Russian Federation has to have an official address where they're registered, which might not be the place where they actually live...it's confusing. Currently I'm the only one registered in our flat.

We were going to switch the registration to my name, but that was going to be a complicated…
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Bureaucracy Update: Tuberculosis Tangent

Last month I had my meltdown over the kids' medicals. Maybe it's good that I didn't know another month would go by without getting them done!

We were sick until early January, then everything in the country was closed until January 9th. As soon as offices opened back up, we were at the clinic with the kids.

We went to the kids' section of a fancy private clinic down the street (not the same one that failed to diagnose my appendicitis in a timely fashion). We consulted with a pediatrician first ($$$) per the rules, then got the kids their Mantoux skin test which rules out tuberculosis. That's what is required by immigration authorities, and it has to be entered into a vaccine booklet, which we didn't have yet.

Speaking of tuberculosis, one of Andrei's students got sick with TB this year, and he (Andrei) had to go to the infectious diseases hospital and get all the tests done to prove he wasn't infected! The student likely had had a latent form anyway, t…

Blurting things out

Are there any topics that you find yourself arguing about and then regret it later? (mine are down in the second half of the post)

I find that with social media especially, I am always sticking my foot in my mouth.

Before there were faster methods of communication, reticence tended to save me from saying anything stupid, except around people in whose company I felt totally relaxed. Yeah, I got into ridiculous arguments with siblings, but nothing out of the ordinary. A friend and I had this game called the "random game" where we would just say the first thing that came into our heads. Innocent life before Internet...

Then came chatting via instant messenger, where it was just silly banter.

For emails and blogging, I would always take the time to choose my words carefully. In some ways I still prefer those forms of communication, and that's why I hang on to my blog here. Since I type on my laptop, the effort of powering it up and finding a quiet moment to sit down and wri…

January term oddities

One of these days I'm going to do a photo dump and give these posts some visual appeal! Today is not that day...

I was going to write about how weird our schedule is in January, but then I realized it sounds like a normal family's schedule: work in the morning-afternoon, then errands.

It's different for us since Andrei leaves so early. David has been getting up and listening to audiobooks while Sophia and I sleep a little more.

Okay, that doesn't sound so weird, but how about this: since Andrei is teaching an intensive course that fits in all the credits in short sessions a few times a year, he has been teaching for stretches of like 8-10 days, including Saturday and Sunday. It was really confusing at the beginning of the month because there were the holidays, and then Andrei jumped into teaching, so he went from being home every single day (for like 2 weeks) to being not home every single day. So it's very disorienting not dividing up the days according to a work…

New Year's Eve in the suburbs

Okay, we don't really live in the suburbs, just a residential area, kind of on the outskirts of town. We've got lots of stores and banks and public transportation. But, that's about it.

Meanwhile, we were sick on Christmas...then New Year's Eve rolled around, and we were STILL sick and STILL didn't want to pass it on to the grandparents. And hadn't gotten to the store to buy groceries, let alone presents.

Some good friends of ours (Russian) just emigrated to Canada. Like, in November-just over a month ago. I've been keeping up with their teenage daughter on social media, and she wrote this heartbreaking post about not being able to find the holiday spirit. Now...this was after Christmas. So, most people had done their celebrating already, in North America. But when I read that, I realized that she was sitting there, still waiting for the holiday like we Americans wait for Christmas. In Russia, that holiday is New Year's Eve. And if you've ever been…

Trying to wake up

Happy Solstice! Although I have been focused on celebrating Advent and the Birth of Christ, I breathe a sigh of relief when we are on the other side and the days are starting to get longer again. We did a little Hanukkah dinner, too, meditating on the wonder of the Light that stayed.

(I came in to write about being tired....and discovered my computer was drained of energy, how ironic! Trying not to be mad at The Person who goes around plugging and unplugging things.)

(The Internet is being slow, too...but at least I can write!)

A few years ago, I read a book about Winter Blues or Seasonal Affective Disorder. Then last winter (earlier this year, apparently) I wrote a post here about my findings.  https://lizinstpete.blogspot.com/2019/02/sleep-and-sad-can-you-ignore-weather.html

Side note: Winter Blues (Norman E. Rosenthal) is worth reading for the case studies alone. Many of us will recognize ourselves in those mentioned...

"The physical difficulties start first: eating more, slee…

December doldrums

Excited to be writing my 28th post of 2019, making this only my second-least productive blogging year. :) That's still more than 2 per month-not bad, right?

So, how has December been treating you? Are you on as much of a roller coaster as we have been?

December started out with a few inches of snow, fluffy and beautiful for the first Advent. It was so nice!

Speaking of Advent, I managed to get out the candles and a minimum of other decorations just in time. I couldn't find the Jesse Tree ornaments, so I had my son coloring a print-out. He did great! Speaking of print-outs, I used to search for Advent (and general Sunday school materials) back 10 years ago, before Pinterest was really used, and before people monetized their blogs. Maybe there was less on the Internet then...so not as much to choose from, but at least it was free! It actually took me a while to find a sheet of really simple Jesse Tree symbols to print out in black and white. I understand that monetizing is pret…