Friday, July 31, 2009
After a few emails back and forth with Herzen University in St. Petersburg, they have agreed to get me an invitation for a student visa. It is going to be for 9 months. It sounds like a big commitment, but it will be great to not have to renew my visa during that time! And maybe by that time I will have temporary residency and won't have to have a visa at all.
I think that the classes are going to be a bigger commitment than I realized, akin to a full academic load. That makes me wonder if I should see if the credits will count towards a degree program. I want to see about getting my diploma apostilled just in case I need it to prove I have a Bachelor's.
The invitation will take about a month to get here, and then I will still have a few weeks to get my visa before departing on Sept. 21st.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
I am going to make a rule, though. I'm going to post one healthy recipe for every fattening one. I'm going to run out of healthy recipes pretty quickly, so it will be a good challenge.
Recipe #1- Raw Beet and Carrot Salad
After doing a lot of reading this summer, I seem to have burned out. I normally jump at the chance to read, but lately, nothing I pick up is interesting. I'm hoping the condition is temporary.
Maybe my intellect has been dulled by the Internet. But I think the situation is actually the opposite. I think I am looking for something top-quality to read. It's like when you're so hungry that you don't know what to eat (I'm not sure if it comes before or after the phase when you eat everything in sight). You reject one thing after another. When choosing a recipe, you think....no, that takes too long....no, we just had that one last week...no, not in the mood for that.....
Nothing fits the criteria.
I realized that what I was truly craving was the Bible. At least, my soul was craving it, and my flesh was still thinking about it. Maybe God dulled my pleasure from other books so that I would get back to the Word.
There is, after all, such a thing as too much studying (Proverbs 12:12).
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
I haven't gone to get fingerprinted yet, although expat.ru has a really helpful forum thread related specifically to Americans getting a criminal background check. They tell it mostly from the point of view of getting it while in Russia. I am hoping to obtain it while in the States so I don't have to deal with the international postal system. But a lot of the information is still applicable.
In the meantime, I do have one document that I can check off my list...my birth certificate! It's here (a copy), in notarized form.
Monday, July 27, 2009
Sunday, July 26, 2009
My dear I am writing this mail with tears and sadness and pains. I know it will come to you as a suprise since we haven't known or come across each other before, but kindly bear with me at this moment. I have a special reason why I decided to contact you. My situation at hand is miserable but I trust in God and hope you will be of my help. My name is Akia Ibrahim Bare 25years old girl and I held from Republic of Niger the daughter of Late General Ibrahim Bare Ma?nassara the former President of the Republic of Niger who was ambushed and killed by dissident soldiers at the military airport in the capital, Niamey with his driver and a former Prefect. You can see more detail about my late father here [they included a link for my convenience)...]
Friday, July 24, 2009
She may be right. Last year we were trying out our French in Congo at Nate's wedding. Yesterday, a "Bienvenidos" sign was posted in our kitchen yesterday to welcome Anastasia's groom's family, primarily from Bolivia and Colombia (though not first-generation).
I didn't feel any cultural differences as we gathered...although we were the hosts, so who knows how our guests were feeling? It was a fairly casual cookout, with a tent to provide some additional seating. The kids ran around with bubbles, or tiptoed into other parts of the house and claimed that they had seen "monsters."
The local police check seems to not be sufficient. Or if it were, I would have to find a way to get it apostilled.
After inquiring of a few different people, the consensus seemed to be that I needed to go through the FBI, but that it was "easy."
A guy at my church does background checks and was trying to find out for me, but he can only do them when an employer orders it. He can't independently run a check on someone, which seems to be the case with most agencies.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
It's interesting living in a place where everyone "knows your name." That's a slight exaggeration, but it is small.
Today I kept running into people from church, for some reason.
First I saw a group ministering to the homeless. We had just prayed for them at a meeting recently, so I went over and said hi. As I was continuing on my errands, I thought about how it certainly wasn't my calling to witness to male drug addicts. At least, I think it isn't. But maybe I could bake some cookies or something since they said they often run out of food...
I haven't read it before. I read "Heart of a Dog" (also by Bulgakov) in Russian in college. We had 1-page reading assignments which would take me 1-2 hours, with the help of a dictionary. Then the professor would explain a lot of the culture points since we didn't have much of a clue.
Anyway, I feel a little silly for not reading "Master" in the original. I've always felt that literature should be read in the original language, if possible. I love reading Bible excerpts in the original. It makes me feel so much closer to the writer and original context. Around the time when my Russian became proficient enough to read novels, I decided to cut down on reading fiction. Prior to that, I had wanted to become better acquainted with Russian classics, and had read some of them in college.
Monday, July 20, 2009
Here's a passage that I agreed with, then suddenly noticed that it seemed like a contradiction.
Take a look:
For men are not cast off
by the Lord forever.
Though he brings grief, he will show compassion,
so great is his unfailing love.
For he does not willingly bring affliction
or grief to the children of men.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Here I am with the "Very Hungry Caterpillar" who is perched on top of a big "cake" (my arms are of equal length in real life).
Friday, July 17, 2009
I have been wondering whether or not the "language" analogy works. For one thing, I don't think it's true that we naturally give love in the same way that we would like to receive it. I mean, I may need words of encouragement, but what if I am not very eloquent myself? I might even avoid that particular form of communication, although wishing to receive it from others. I also wonder how we can be expected to give in a different language if it's not a strong area of ours. What if I know that a person whom I love likes to receive gifts, but I'm not good at picking them out?
It turns out to be "orthodoxy" with a little "o." I think. It took me awhile to make sense of this book.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Although many teachers noted my "lack of participation," there was one teacher who tried to help. He caught me one day after class.
"Why won't you talk?" he asked. I didn't know. I couldn't answer. There is no answer. It just doesn't come naturally.
"How about if you start out with saying just one thing a week?" I agreed, although I was skeptical that it would work.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
"The light comes forth""Sense of community"
"An intimate atmosphere"
"...flow with grace..."
If you glanced quickly at these phrases, they could describe a Christian gathering.
But they actually belong to an article describing the opening of a new yoga studio.* This is an example of how the language we (or others) use can be misleading.
Monday, July 13, 2009
But the first time I read testimonies of other introverts, it was like reading about myself. It's the little things...like mini-panic attacks when you have to sit in a circle and introduce yourself, and waiting for your turn is just agony....
When I was a child, I used to whine, "Don't look at me!" at the dinner table. I would like to say that it is about not liking to be the center of attention. But we all seek attention, in our own way.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
A few commenters agreed that her statements were off-base; others thought she had a point.
Evangelicals do focus on a person's decision to accept Christ as his "personal Lord and Savior." If a person were not convinced of his own faith, what reason would he have to invest his life in serving the Lord and others? Many people can perform acts of kindness without having repented, but God knows the true content of our hearts, and in the end these deeds will not be fruitful if they are not coming out of a heart devoted to God (Matt.7:17-20).
Friday, July 10, 2009
I am not planning anything, nor doing serious research. It's just a season I'm in. While I have a little more time and better access to libraries and books in English, I am soaking up information through reading.
I do enjoy reading books on the church. I normally look for books that seem to have solid doctrine, in line with my own. I don't usually continue reading a book if I can tell from the first few pages that I don't agree with the viewpoint. If I want to learn more about that viewpoint, I read a review or synopsis, so as not to waste time and energy on something that I am just going to argue with. But I do try to make sure that I have trustworthy sources so that I don't misrepresent anything.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Meanwhile, I don't have any caveats about the book I'm about to review. That is, in contrast to the last book I reviewed (which had a questionable tone), I don't find anything unedifying in this one.
I had seen Elizabeth George's A Woman After God's Own Heart* recommended on various blogs and in women's circles. I was ordering some Christian books anyway and decided to add it to my "cart." The cover says "over 900,000 copies sold," and the author explains her wish that her readers will carry a copy around with them.
Suffice it to say, my expectations were high as I cracked open the pink cover. In the introduction, Elizabeth George promises "practical insights about what it means to follow God in every area of life...(p.12)"
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
"The most salient feature of orthodoxy is not its rigidity but its flexibility. Since orthodoxy is centered in life in the eternal Word, it is free to enter willingly into infinitely varied cultural settings on behalf of its all-embracing vision of the truth." (Oden, Thomas C. The Rebirth of Orthodoxy, p.38)
Monday, July 6, 2009
It was a pretty typical evening. Except that, a year ago on this date, my dad fell ill and had to go to the hospital. It was nice to have a healthy Fourth of July.
Saturday, July 4, 2009
Wow, my blog has certainly been a potpourri lately. I haven't done a linguistics rant for awhile, and I'm feeling inspired, so here goes...
One of the fascinating things about the English language, or perhaps American culture, is the extreme inconsistency in (mis)pronunciation of foreign names and phrases. Let's face it, we're not known for our sophistication in this area, as a nation.
Today I got a letter from Russia! It is so nice to receive something in a friend's handwriting and to see the smudges where your friend touched the paper. Also, I think she mailed it out before receiving mine, so maybe they crossed somewhere over the ocean...
Sir, more than kisses, letters mingle souls, /For, thus friends absent speak. (John Donne)
Thursday, July 2, 2009
I have to admit, I was impressed at the end when they slipped in the point about marriage being a covenant, not a contract.
I liked it because it reminded me of one of my favorite sermon illustrations-the same concept, but in terms of our relationship with God. For example: a contract is between two people who do not have a close relationship or trust each other, so they draw up the document to protect themselves. A covenant is a relationship of trust, in which each person gives of himself. A contract is signed for a certain period of time...a covenant is for life.
And so on.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
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