Friday, February 10, 2017

And then 10 years went by in a flash

So I was waiting around for an important anniversary, and now it's come and gone...oh well. If you look at the archives in my sidebar, my very first post was on February 5, 2007. Ten years of blogging! And it's not only the blogging that's interesting, so much as the living that was going on during that time period.

I'll be honest: I find anniversaries on other people's blogs pretty boring. So feel free to scroll on by, but in case you're just joining up and want to catch up on my missionary life pre-kids, etc, here is a selection of posts from each year.

(Side-note: have you ever printed and/or published a blog? Or just backed up the posts somehow? Wondering about a good format...)

-How to choose from just one of the 226 posts? I wrote about faith, culture, orphans, teaching English, Bible study, friendship, and probably food, too. A good representation of that phase is probably the post entitled The State of Things.  It's interesting for me to read about what has changed in terms of ministry opportunities here.

-Lots more thoughts about orphans and missions and life in Russia, but a special shout-out needs to go to my trip to Congo for my brother's wedding, definitely a unique experience. In this post I talk about going to the Congolese Embassy to get a visa, and that was just the beginning! Check out the tag "Africa" for notes about my trip.

-My busiest blogging year yet! The year started off with Obama taking office. I was in the U.S. for the inauguration, and this was due to problems with obtaining a visa to reside full-time in Russia. Those problems actually started back in 2008. That was such a challenging year or two, going back and forth all the time! You have to kind of read through all the posts to follow the story, but here is a post about my heart for Russia which sums up what was motivating me to keep trying.

-A big year in terms of bureaucracy, as I began applying for a residency permit and had some frustrating issues. Here is a post about my first visit to Immigration to try to find something out. Little did I know that by the end of the year I would gain not only a residency permit, but a Russian fiance!

-Suspiciously low on entries. What happened that year was mostly wedding planning, which isn't as fun as it sounds because it required a lot of paperwork, a trip to Moscow, etc. After that I changed my name and the Russian government didn't like that, so the next several months were spent trying to get a few stamps in my passport. Then there was another wedding and some honeymoon travel. For entertainment purposes, here is a description of our civil wedding ceremony, which gives a little taste of Post-Soviet Russian culture.

-Another low-frequency year, but for good reason: Along with a demanding teaching job, church ministry, and visiting orphanages, I was expecting our first child. And of course we decided we needed to purchase our first home before I left for the U.S. to give birth. I'm rather sad that I don't have more journal entries from that year. This post says it all: It was not only the summer, but the Year of David. The last quarter of 2012 was also very hectic because of getting stuck in Estonia obtaining a Russian visa for the new baby. A very memorable initiation into international parenting!

-In 2013 I wrote about parenting, struggling to find my place in the church as a parent, ongoing processes at Immigration, David's first birthday, our first wedding anniversary, and my battle with diastasis recti. According to my blog record, I also apparently received my permanent residency permit, after all that effort!

-David was a busy toddler and had his first hospital stay, and I wrote about the burn ward. Meanwhile, I tried to keep up some ministry connections, which meant finding those who could continue to volunteer even when I couldn't be involved on a regular basis.

-I wrote about a typical day here. By the end of the year I had traveled alone with David to the U.S. to get him a new visa. By Christmas we were expecting baby #2.

-It was my slowest blogging year ever. It is still so fresh that part of me doesn't even want to remember the morning sickness, gestational diabetes, international paperwork, etc. Also for about a month in the summer I was just being a mommy to David while we waited for Andrei and the birth. Here is a little taste of how that transition to two kids went.

-Continuing the theme, I blogged in January about how we'd gotten through the first few months with 2 kids, and are still surviving. But to come full circle, I also wrote a post about the Russian postal service. Because this is, after all, the story of my life in a foreign country. Hopefully my fingers will get used to typing again and I'll be able to post more frequent updates on here.

This got long! I'll probably go back later and add some more links. But for now...look around, if you like.

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