Sunday, January 30, 2011

In medias res

It was a very scatter-brained sort of day that started out with not being able to get dressed. This is not a rare occurrence in the winter, but on this particular day it was related to not wanting to go to my doctor's appointment. After dawdling for awhile, I ended up having to sprint over the snow and bumpy ice to get there on time.

So far, so good. I went and checked my coat right away and put the plastic bag-thingies on my shoes. But how was I supposed to check in? I didn't know if I had to go the registration desk or not, so I did, just in case, and told them I had an appointment...but didn't remember the doctor's last name. "It's the rheumatologist, " I said confidently. The receptionist looked confused. "He's not in until evening," she said. D'oh. I gave my last name and she looked me up. "You have an appointment with the TRAUMATOLOGIST," she said. "The orthopedist." Whoops. They sounded the same in Russian to me. You'd think I'd have it right since it was a follow-up visit. Oh well. read more/-

After the appointment, I looked around to make sure I had everything with me, and wondered where my coat check tag was. Those grannies are pretty particular about their system. I always put it in my pocket, and there was nothing in my pocket. But my mind was blank. I went over to talk to the grannies anyway, thinking maybe someone had found it and turned it in. They hadn't. "Take another look," the grannies said, shaking their heads sadly. "Otherwise you'll have to pay a fine." At least they didn't yell at me.

I went through the motions of checking the examination room again, combed the hallway, looked in my pockets and purse one more time, but no sign of it. Meanwhile, my chances for being on time to my next appointment were growing slim, even though I had gotten out right on time.

I walked by the reception desk, remembering how I had stood there for a few minutes. But surely the ladies there could have walked the 10 ft. to the cloakroom and handed in a found coat tag?

There was nothing else to do but pay the fine. Somehow the lady in charge (there were still other grannies attending) of the cloakroom had "stepped out" and I had to wait for her in order to write a letter to get my coat back. There was a model that I had to follow. I was thinking that it was good that I had studied the cases and also studied different business letter formats last year. Everything is sort of the opposite of what you'd expect. For example, in the upper right-hand corner you write the addressee's position (dative case) and where he/she works (genitive case because it's the director OF something), and the address, and then "from" plus your name (genitive case), blah blah blah. That's the heading.

Once I had written the letter, I handed over the money for the fine and they let me behind the counter to look for my coat. I couldn't find it at first and had this panic of wondering how I was going to get home. How could I walk home in the winter with no coat? It was quite a relief when we found it.

I finally left the clinic and scrambled through the snow, dodging the missiles that were coming from above as several roofs were being cleared. Something made a rustling noise and I looked down to see that I still had blue plastic bags on my feet! And all the trashcans were buried under snow.

Fast-forward a few hours and I'm on my way home. Standing on the platform, I reach for my hat,'s gone. One I had just gotten for Christmas! Arrrrrgh. How could I have lost two things like that in one day?

I got home in the evening and my cell phone rang. I didn't recognize the number, but answered anyway, just in case. "Elizabeth?" I couldn't understand at first, but finally realized they were calling from the clinic. "We found your cloakroom claim tag. You had left it at the registration desk. The next time you come see us you can get your 50 rubles back, don't be shy."

"Thank you." Well, that was nice of them to call.

The end of a strange day.

Monday, January 17, 2011


Andrey and I announced our engagement at church on Sunday. We had tried to keep it a secret since the proposal in December. :) It was really fun telling everyone all at once!

Andrey was preaching and I was upstairs at Sunday School, so he had to come get me when it was time. When we entered the room, everyone broke out in loud applause! I didn't expect that.

Before saying a prayer over us, the pastor exhorted the congregation to do two things: 1) To pray for us as we prepare for marriage and 2) For married couples to invite us to have fellowship and be our mentors. It looks like we are going to do a lot of visiting in the next few months!

It's one thing when people say you make a "cute" couple or are "perfect" for each other, but when they really KNOW you and have been praying for you, it means a lot to hear them confirm that this relationship is of the Lord. We are very blessed!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Babies! (soon)

Earlier this week, we had our second church baby shower.

Russians are more superstitious about pregnancies and are not accustomed to a lot of fanfare and gifts before the baby is born, and sometimes before he/she is a few months old. Plus, it's not like the small living quarters normally allow for a lot of "stuff." But American baby shower traditions are catching on.

In this case, the moms are both expecting for the second time. One's having a girl (we think) and the other's having a boy, so we played some games with Team Blue and Team Pink. They didn't necessarily need a lot of clothing and things, but we still wanted to take the opportunity to pamper them with love and affection.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Recent reprieves

I've noticed a few times lately how have after some hard trials the Lord has surprised me with other processes being easier than expected.

-The first example of this was after getting my temporary residency (10 month-process, stress, illness, etc.) when I went to apply for a visa and it didn't turn out to be too hard after all. No long lines, no surprise requirements, no long waiting periods.

-Next, winter travel. I got waylaid by snow in Europe and almost missed being home for Christmas. There was a 3-day delay, then 3 hours spent taxiing at the airport in Paris, then arriving 3 hours (or was it 4?) late, then not getting my suitcase until 2 days later. On the way back, however all my flights were on time and I got through passport control/baggage claim in about 15 min. Looking at the amount of snow coming down at the moment in St. Pete as well as in my home state, it looks like I can be thankful that I was traveling a week ago and not today.

-And then there are my tonsils. I spent most of the fall trying to get them to calm down. Lots of bed-rest, gargling, and antibiotics. Over Christmas, they became inflamed again and I was really dreading having to go to a doctor again and take medication. But I started gargling again like crazy and when I stepped off the plane, I suddenly realized that I felt better. The infection had gone. I am sooo happy not to be sick.

5 years later

 After my latest  weird dream sequence , I found my mind wandering to an alternate scenario where our church never split up . I did the math...