For the first 8 days of January, the whole country (practically) is off work and everyone goes to visit each other.
We did a lot of hosting since it’s hard to travel with a little one. Some of our guests were friends from church, while others were from different parts of our past-mine from summer camp, Andrei’s from university.
What was interesting was that everyone asked us the same questions: Don’t you want to move to the U.S.? What keeps you here?
While many Russians have a certain amount of national pride, it is very common for people to dream of moving abroad.
I would say that life outside Russia looks more attractive now than it did a few years ago-and that is even with our own apartment (not a rental), which greatly increases the chances of being able to make a living. Without going into specifics, there are many ways that the standard of living here is less than ideal. Of course, St. Petersburg is an amazing city with a rich culture and history.
It makes me mad when non-Russians make negative comments about Russia or her people. I guess it’s partly because it is “my” country in a way and I want to defend it against stereotypes. In general I would agree that there is a lot of corruption and that people are treated terribly. But corruption in a biblical sense can be found in any country. The other reason the criticism bothers me is that it adds to my own temptation, making me doubt my decision to live here. My heart has been happy here, despite a variety of trials and misadventures.
Andrei and I don’t feel “called” to go serve somewhere else. We try to guard our hearts and not do something for the wrong reasons. We believe that God holds our future, and wherever He leads will be best for our family.