Monday, February 27, 2017

Perspective: Which country to call home

4 years ago, David was a baby and everyone was asking me if/when we were planning on leaving Russia. I wrote about it in this post.

Now they're asking again, in addition to wanting to know our specific plans for school!

Back when I was having trouble getting a visa to stay in Russia long-term, I remember this issue coming up: If I get a full-time job to stay in Russia, then I can't do the things I was doing before. I wondered if it was worth all that time and effort. Other missionaries were starting to relocate and move towards similar ministry, but in a neighboring country.

Why would we pack up and leave? Russia is our home. There are people to love all over the world, but it's not like you can close your eyes and point at the map to choose where to go next. There has to be more direction than that. I've moved before, so I know what it's like and I've dealt with all sorts of bureaucracy before. It wouldn't stop me. But in order to be willing to do that, you need to be passionate about making the change. You might be doing it for someone you love, or just a higher purpose in general. Sometimes it's a temporary decision that turns into a big move.

Right now we have relatives all over the U.S., as well as in St. Petersburg and Kinshasa. That's just family members, not counting friends. Moving to yet another location makes it that much harder to see each other. Plus you have many different languages at play. Which languages would the kids speak, and where would they choose to live in the future?

I get Wanderlust a lot. I'm not sure if that's the right word for it, but I get in fantasy planning mode, where I start searching for our next travel accommodations, or a future house if we made a hypothetical move. It's sort of a hobby! Sometimes I use it to plan for actual trips, but more often it's just for fun. I might stay up half the night dreaming about it, but then a day or two later I've moved on to something else.

The thing is that I have a different full-time ministry right now anyway. So in a way it doesn't matter where we live, for the next several years, since I know what I'll be doing. Outside the window is the country that I have fought for, in a way. Fought to be close to. Built relationships and learned the language. But I'm not tied to the things I've done in the past. I like to be faithful and consistent and to persevere, but that doesn't mean I'll never move on.

The other reality is that we're not going anywhere without my in-laws. Andrei is an only child, after all. Would you like to emigrate at 70? Then again, many American retirees move south. The hassle of moving may be offset by the freedom and comfort of downsizing and relocating to a milder climate.

Maybe if you're American you've never thought about emigrating. Or maybe, with current events, you are thinking about it. But still, it's not as though your freedom is being challenged. Or is it? Or maybe you're thinking about the refugees who would be grateful to call ANY peaceful place home... and for some, Russia is an improvement. We all have our reasons for seeking change. And, as always, time will tell.


  1. Fun fact - that saying in English on the picture is almost a direct translation of a Dutch saying! :)

    1. The funny thing is that my Russian MIL made that, not sure where SHE got it!

  2. MY daydreams (as you can imagine) have always centered around finding a way to move to Russia. Now that Aidan and Lydia live in the Eastern US - well, more so than us....I have also daydreamed a bit about getting a job closer to them (especially as one of the pastors in the town Lydia lives in, is the brother of a priest who would give me a first-rate recommendation).....but MY mom is 95! I certainly can't leave HER! And then, I remember, too, all my friends, and support systems here. Sergei's great relationship with his master electrician. The respect that I have earned that I'd have to try and gain all over again elsewhere.

    And language.... Craig was very enthusiastic, after his year in Korea that we ALL move there - but I didn't see how I could do that to the Russian kids who had just (and not all that thoroughly) learned English.

    It really is hard being a grown up and realizing how much more complicated life is than you had imagined in earlier years.

    1. Yes, I sort of forgot that what I described is very familiar to adults (in the U.S. especially) who are helping out both their elderly parents AND their young adult kids. I guess things don't become less-complicated when the kids are grown? I've got siblings in CA, CO, FL, CT, D.C., and Congo. :) And my grandmother is turning 90 and living in PA, and my parents live in New England. I think having faith can provide some comfort in these situations, but at the same time prompt one to always be thinking of serving others, which makes it hard to choose among different options. Once you have loved ones all over, I suppose there is always SOMEONE to miss.


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