Friday, May 15, 2009

Back to reality, part 2

This post is going to sound like the one from last summer, when I emerged from the fog and thought I had everything figured out. However, I haven't quite emerged from the fog yet this time. If you get lost, scroll down to the bottom and read the summary of my plans.

I am facing a situation of too many variables. I keep waiting for there to be something constant.

How I abandoned the first plan

I arrived in March on a 3-month visa. The plan was to look for a job immediately so I could get a work visa. But "looking" quickly turned into simply waiting for something to happen. It was a red-light situation that I faced after considering the fact that I could work for either a big-name company or something related to Americans and missionaries. For example, there was a missionary school that I could apply to, but I'm not sure if I want to live in Russia and teach Americans and other foreign children. That seems a bit ironic. I'm also not sure if I want to work for a big company. I would rather help some smaller organization to succeed, but unfortunately the smaller companies don't have the money for dealing with all the paperwork that it takes to hire foreigners.

I had a feeling the answer would come on its own. And in the meantime, there was a lot to squeeze into 3 months without worrying about things like jobs and housing.

How another idea started to form

At some point, residency status became more appealing than a work visa, for obvious reasons. I put the job search on hold because I didn't want to commit to a job and then have to interrupt it while taking care of paperwork.

According to the laws, I don't have "grounds" for getting residency status. No Russian spouse, children, personal property, etc. That means that I'm subject to the quota, which gets renewed after the New Year. It's doable, but it's something that requires a lot of time and energy.

How my summer plans developed

So now another question remained: What to do with the 6 months between my current visa and the end of the year?

This time, a student visa did seem to be the better option. I could sign up to take some classes June-December within an individualized plan. As a result of the course, I could take an official exam that would prove my Russian proficiency at a certain level.

Meanwhile, two of my sisters began planning for their weddings in July and September. I was facing the necessity of a visa trip somewhere in June, then two more trips before the end of the year. I could make the visa trip in Finland or Estonia, but a 3-month visa would not allow me to go in and out of Russia several times.

An idea arose: "Why don't you just go home?" and I didn't want to listen to it, but I decided to give it some thought. On the one hand, I want to be here as much as possible. Life "on the road" is not for me. At least, it's not what I would choose. However, the earth did not stand still the last time I was gone. Summer vacation is always a pretty disrupted time anyway. I would prefer to spend it all in one place, doing something productive.

So I began preparing myself for leaving again for a few months.

How confusion arose once again

In the midst of getting plane tickets and making summer plans, a Christian friend from Serbia (who lives here) called me unexpectedly.

"I have found the answer to your prayers," he said. "There is a company who will hire you and give you a work visa. Tell me your home phone number, and they will call you."

So I found myself talking to someone from this company. It sounded interesting, but I hadn't been looking for a job. And I was preparing to leave the country. It was all so confusing.

"Do you have certification?" the lady asked. "TESOL." "Great!" When I told her I was leaving in a few weeks, she said that they could find another position for me if this one got filled before my return.

So now I am back to thinking of the work option again. It would be nice to have the stability of a full-time job with visa support included. However, I wasn't really looking for a full-time job. I like teaching a few days a week, not every day. I stay quite busy. What about my other commitments? I am going to a conference this weekend on orphanage ministry. That seems like odd timing as well, since I am leaving. None of it makes any sense.

Also, I still want to take steps toward temporary residency. After all, a work visa is still something temporary. What happens if my position is terminated? I will have to start the search all over again.

Obviously, a great many questions still remain.

Here is the summary for anyone who didn't follow that...

Short version:
-In the U.S. June-September
-In Russia September-December
-Possibly applying for temporary residency in January, while on a student or work visa

Any questions/comments? :)


  1. I can share something, but my voice is sorta like a voice in a wilderness. Who will every listen to it?

    Liz, please, listen very carefully. It's not just for you. It is for all of us (myself included!!!)

    Jesus said, "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own". Mt 6:34

    Paul writes, "Never worry about anything. Instead, in every situation let your petitions be made known to God through prayers and requests, with thanksgiving. And the peace of God..." Philippians 4:6

    Liz, I do not know you, but your life from the short time I have known you has represented somewhat a life of dissension. Do no get me wrong, I am not being judgmental. I am just saying you should calm down and rest. For a year. You are young, ambitious, smart. You have a lot of desires fighting against each other inside of you and they seem to be a bit misguided. I know you do not want to hear this. Again, I am not judging you. I am just like you, a bit older though and so I am judging from the perspective of my own life experience.

    Trust me, strife is not your friend right now. It's your enemy. "Pressing onward" should not be your motto.

    Relax. Rest. Bask in God's provision. Do not think of what others think of you. Do no trust people that much. Do not listen to your emotions. You need a time of rest, for goodness sake!

    Do not listen to even your best friends.

    That's all I have to say.

  2. I like that pic though. Very melodramatic! It's like you are ready to fall backward. Scary... freaky... but good.

    Or maybe you are just standing there on the edge of a cliff thinking, "Life is good".

    I think that's what it is...

  3. We're praying for you, Elizabeth. There are certainly many facets to consider.

  4. I certainly have to second V on all of his appropriate Scripture passages - and will say to him - Thanks, I needed those right now, too.

    I'll miss hearing about Russia but will look forward to hearing about the weddings! And how you manage to fill your time in the interim. Usefully, creatively, lovingly as usual, I am sure!

  5. Thanks, everyone. I am not really that "worried" or "anxious." I just wanted to share what was going on. I'm used to plans changing, so I try to remain open to different options and wait for the Lord's timing. Stay tuned...

  6. Wow... you ask for an opinion and then you mock it.


    If you know what you are doing, why are you asking for an advice or an opinion? I gather you do not need it. Is it a pretty accurate summary?

    You do not know the Lord's timing. It's a man's made term. What does it even mean? The Lord doesn't play by our agendas or rules.

    I do not think you understand what I was trying to say to you in my response. He does allow us to do our own thing for a while. Then we can lose it all. If we are not careful or humble enough.

    Well, I will keep reading your posts, though.

  7. Sorry, Vitali. I do appreciate the concern, but I don't quite agree with your conclusions. I don't think that facing choices and decisions means that my life is full of strife or that I'm misguided. It just means that I don't have all the answers yet. Isn't that a normal part of life? I try to write often about God's provision for me. He is very good to me. However, "resting" in God does not mean that life will slow down.

  8. When I was in my 20's I thought I was a genius mixed in awesomeness.

    Listen, it's all good. I will keep reading your posts.

    One thing I would emphasize to you, though, if I can. We are not the Lord's shepherd. It's the other way around. Think of David.

    You, Americans, are full of yourselves, more than you think you are.

    Again, if some of you are serious about doing the Lord's work, come to Tallahassee, FL. I will take to the ghettos. Work as hard as you can for the Lord's sake. Why go to China to do the same thing? I mean it. If you are serious to do the Lord's work, email me to

    I mean, I can give you SOOOOOO much work to do you will feel forever blessed.

    Or will you?

  9. Vitali, I am sure many lessons in humility await me in life! I am not trying to pretend I have all the answers.


Just added word verification to reduce spam. Nothing personal!

You’re welcome to leave a link to your own blog here if it's relevant to this blog.

Please make sure that your comments are 1) relevant and 2) respectful (i.e. no cuss words, attacks on individuals).

Still here

Wintry postcard from St. Petersburg during some recent colder temperatures... I don't even remember how to edit on here! I hope to updat...