Saturday, July 4, 2015

Thinking Cap

I had a busy week, but there was something different about the intensity. It was one of those times when it felt like my problem-solving skills had to be on constant alert! I used to have these kinds of adventures all the time, especially when first living in Russia, or during seasons when I would be commuting to all different parts of St. Petersburg each day of the week. Times when you have to be thinking, thinking, thinking. Like when it would take me an eternity to find someone's home; the public transportation route, street name, building number, entryway, apartment number, floor, and door code all in my head or scribbled on one or more scraps of paper.

That was the kind of week I had, including a meltdown halfway through! But it's not meant to be a complaining post, and/or bragging about how "busy" I've been. Just doing some reflecting about some experiences, and thinking about why I might have felt overwhelmed.

Last Friday

-Commenced making a cake for an event, using a new recipe. Failed twice (complete inedible disaster), then ran out of time.
-Was called into the bank to "fill out a form." Didn't understand what/why or how to fill it out. And the bank employee didn't either. Left feeling confused.
-Headed over to worship practice for the first time in the new building, but didn't know where to go! After waiting around for about 10 minutes, received a call from the worship leader, who came out and led me to the new room.
-Got home around 11pm, found a new cake recipe, and finally had success, though I had to calculate carefully since I had very few ingredients left at that point!


-Got up early to get ready for the church baby shower: presents and cake all packed up; had to figure out how to stop along the way for fresh strawberries and some other last-minute ingredients; took the metro and then a tram and then circled the buildings looking for the hostess' apartment...
-After arriving, got all the cake layers assembled/frosted/decorated/etc....whew.

Long story...


-Second time singing/playing in the new church facility, and our repertoire ended up excessively challenging, including flute solos/improvisation in several different keys, a singing solo, etc...I ended up flubbing the instrumentals in a few places.


-Andrei's birthday! Lots of cooking and partying.


-Nice "quiet" day at home...but the Internet wouldn't work. Spent about 2 hours trying to get it back, and experienced a meltdown....of the emotional type.


-All-day trip out to the suburbs to the Adult Psych/Neuro ward to deliver a computer. 2.5 hours each way (tram+metro+commuter train), and on the way there I got confused and went the wrong direction in the metro! I had also copied down my contact's phone number wrong, so it was lucky she had mine and called me right as I was finding my way around the hospital. Then there the usual blur of activity as I talked to the head nurse and the other volunteer, as residents milled around, at times poking and prodding me, and the residents we've known for several years waited for me to give them attention. And then there was the whole matter of getting the computer to work, another long story!


-Best point of the week as Andrei's UK visa was approved.
-Enjoyed having a lunch guest, but David refused to nap...oh well.
-Andrei's last official work appointment for the summer.

Next week we have two more birthdays in the family: Vladimir's and David's!


  1. Wow! I'm glad you are in one piece and able to reflect on it. What sort of building is your new worship space in?

    Are there Russian cake mixes, and are they any good? What cake recipe do you use? (Or - I should say - please share the one that came out!)

    1. Actually, I have seen a few cake mixes in Russian stores, but would never think of buying one...I doubt they would be very popular since the most common sponge cake is just 3 ingredients, or you can simple buy a sponge cake and split it into layers to fill. The one that worked out for me was an Ina Garten recipe, but I used a cream cheese frosting.

  2. Hi, I'm currently contemplating moving to SP. I was trying to find an American living there to pick their brain. I can't seem to find a "contact me" button on here. Mind if I pick your brain?

    1. I guess I should make my contact info more obvious, but it's


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