The journal of an American expat in Russia
Welcome back to the beautiful US!I find that it is much easier for me to get used back to the American time than to the Russian time. Every time I go to visit my mom in Russia, it takes almost a week to get used to the time difference. When I am back here it takes about 3 days and then I am back to normal. But the head keeps kind of buzzing from the jet lag for a while still.
Thanks for that adorable photo. :)Vitali - I agree; when we go to Russia it is exhausting....though I have to say I just give in and sleep until I'm normalized. But coming this way is more like just one, long, miserable day. We get here, go to bed, and wake up the next day. Here. Though, our latest family addition seems to still be on "Russian time" after a year.
Annie, since I started posted here just recently, I missed the part on the "latest family addition". I assume you have adopted a child from Russia, right? Are you saying on "Russian time" with a smile on your face or... are you a bit concerned? Seems to be a bit more than usual hyper activity going there. But then again, what is usual? I hope whatever "bad Russian genes" are at work there, they will be balanced out by the love your family provides.
Yes, the picture says it all, Liz.A pink, smiling cat... :P
A correction to my post to Annie: "started posting".What can I say. I am still an imperfect Russian who tries to perfect his English :)
I suppose the same general pattern happens with me, although it also depends on what time of year and on what time I arrive. As Annie said, it's easy when you can arrive and just crash. But if you arrive in the middle of the day or don't make it through the first night, you're doomed.I've done fairly well with sleeping, but there's always this overall laziness or confusion that makes it hard to function. The excuse for why my clothes are all over the floor. :)And the cat was made by my mom.Vitali, I'm assuming Annie meant that her child (Anastasia?) is an early bird, or perhaps a bit ahead of the game.
I am actually referring to the little boy - Ilya - we adopted last September. For some reason he never seemed to adapt to our clock. He has a hard time going to sleep until 1-2 am (at best), then, of course, wants to sleep 8 hours (at least) after that! He is not "hyper" at all....it really seems as though his sleep pattern is "off". A Russian woman I know here in town told me that she, likewise, had a hard time with this for the first year she was here, and eventually had to have someone send her Valerian, which worked. We tried this with Ilya, (American Valerian; Natalya thinks it might not be strong enough)but it was not very successful. I think the sleeping pills the doctor gave would work, but another of my children has convinced Ilya that these are "bad for him" and now he refuses to take them. Well...I dont' worry about it too much. He lies in bed listening to classical music. I guess if he wants to sleep enough he'll try the pills.
Oh - and Vitali - in MY humble opinion there couldn't BE any "bad Russian genes"! I am a true Slavophile.
That's really frustrating! I guess for me the only thing that works (other than jet-lag) is having a really rigid schedule, from morning to evening. And no sleeping in on weekends! Otherwise just out of discipline I can make myself go to bed or get up, but there's no guarantee I'll fall asleep.
"Annie said... Oh - and Vitali - in MY humble opinion there couldn't BE any "bad Russian genes"! I am a true Slavophile."--------Annie, I am not sure I can quite agree with you. I am flattered you think that way, though. Years of alcoholism or drug abuse by the parents can definitely have a significant negative impact on the somatic part of the kids and their psyche, for instance. Of course it can be true for any country, not just Russia, but over there the overall environment is concocted in such a way that it almost prohibits the people to develope into mature, well-functioning individuals. And it has been that way for years and years. It seems like the negative influence over the years and maybe even centuries has been so strong, the human psycic there has been altered (unfortunately irreversably) and so todays it is effortlessly transposed from one generation to another. In some instances it is strong and obvious, in other instances it is not (but it is still there).Just my two cents.
Elizabeth said... That's really frustrating! I guess for me the only thing that works (other than jet-lag) is having a really rigid schedule, from morning to evening. And no sleeping in on weekends! Otherwise just out of discipline I can make myself go to bed or get up, but there's no guarantee I'll fall asleep.--------I have given up telling myself I need to go to bed or get up. Some days I go to bed at midnight and then I wake up at like 4 am and can't get asleep again afterwards. I think the older I get the harder it is to get a good night sleep. Worries of life, maybe? Or who knows what. If I get 6 hours of a good night sleep - I am happy.
When I stop to think about it, I realize I should be very, very grateful for the fact that I always sleep easily and well....with very few exceptions. My head hits the pillow and I am asleep. The nice thing now is that in the summer, I can wake up when I naturally wake (no school!) and that seems to be 7:30 every day. The miserable part is having to wake up in the dark when winter comes. Actually, I have just taken a new [additional] job teaching English to Koreans, and I have to start teaching at 5 a.m. on the telephone. This is to save some extra money for a trip to Russia, though - so hopefully, it will be worth it!
"Bad Russian genes" just has a really negative connotation to it. Americans are born into some bad cultural or family traditions too, but I wouldn't want to be accused of having "bad American genes." The "Ugly American" label is bad enough. My adopted sisters do have heavy baggage: Masha's got a drug problem, as did her birth father; Nastia has an unhealthy relationship with her baby's father, as did her own mother. But God can always redeem a life. It's not really fair to ignore the problems that are handed down, but it's also not right to assume that they are irreversible! To change a society is difficult, but to change one life through adoption or discipleship is possible!Sleep is one of those things that I feel guilty about worrying about, yet it does have an impact on life, whether we acknowledge it or not! We are not guaranteed unlimited sleep in this life, yet I don't think it's God's will for us to lose sleep because of worry or some other factor that we could change.
Liz said:"My adopted sisters do have heavy baggage: Masha's got a drug problem, as did her birth father; Nastia has an unhealthy relationship with her baby's father, as did her own mother. But God can always redeem a life. It's not really fair to ignore the problems that are handed down, but it's also not right to assume that they are irreversible! To change a society is difficult, but to change one life through adoption or discipleship is possible!"--------Liz, I am with you on that one. Thru Jesus all things are possible. My sister was an alcoholic most of her life. Got saved when she was in her mid-50's and she is a totally new creation in Christ now! I am amazed even to think about it. When I saw her the first time after her salvation, I didn't know how to even talk to her, because she was a completely different person. You see, Jesus is like Noah's Ark, or like the bronze serpent in the wilderness that Moses told the people to look upon to be saved. So, those who cling to Him are changed (brought back to life) dispite the consequenses of their sins. My sister was brought back to life in a single moment.When I am talking about irreversible affects of a life of sin and idolatry, I am mostly talking about those who live and will possibly die outside of the will of God. Just want to make it clear.So, you have adopted sisters? God bless you for that. I am impressed and so should be everyone.
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