Monday, March 23, 2020

The week that felt like a thousand years

Last Sunday, we went to church. I kind of figured it would be our last for awhile. By the way, we usually get around 15 people...but we do have to travel public transportation to get there. People were making plans and it was awkward feeling like we wouldn't likely follow through on them.

Anyway, that was a weird day, but not for the reasons you'd think. On the way to church, the tram wasn't working...then on the way home, the escalator broke down when we were halfway up! And I had the beginnings of a migraine. We stopped to eat on the way home...also probably our last time for awhile.

I was still checking the news every 5 minutes at that point. In the tram on the way home, I heard someone on the phone explaining that they were unable to drop something off at the orphanage because it was under "quarantine." First time I'd heard that word used around here in regards to COVID-19, although it's common to quarantine orphanages during a seasonal epidemic.

There wasn't much news all weekend, but I got a sense of something brewing under the surface...come Monday, something was going to surface.

And I was right. 

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Coronavirus in Russia Q&A (personal observations from a resident)

Hello from St. Petersburg! This isn't supposed to be a strictly factual OR deeply philosophical post... just a little journal entry during this strange life episode.

How many cases are there in Russia?

-Officially around 150, but it's unclear if there are enough tests available and at what point people are seeking medical attention. Pneumonia wards are pretty full, though.

Is there panic?

-Something shifted over the weekend and people started panic-buying, and some new quarantine measures were introduced at the beginning of the week. At this point people seem more skeptical and annoyed by it than scared. But a few people are nervous, especially if they have older relatives.

What are local people stocking up on?

-Mostly toilet paper and buckwheat. Other popular dried goods are oatmeal, flour and pasta. I found it interesting to see empty bread shelves in pictures of U.S. stores. What do you do with extra bread, put it in the freezer?

What protective measures are in place?

-You can read about it online, but the borders are closed and schools/universities are mostly switching to distance education. Behind the scenes there are vaccines and testing kits being worked on. Stores, restaurants, and other businesses are still open.

How are you keeping busy?

Friday, March 13, 2020

And so it begins (Lent and Lethargy)

A week or two ago I felt like I was coming down with something. It was a weird combination of symptoms: fatigue, sore throat, but also a bit of a GI bug.

It wasn't really progressing, but it was the middle of the week and I figured I had picked up something at church on Sunday. I just couldn't get my energy back, though! And suddenly I recognized the feeling. In the spring every year I usually have a period where I'm totally dragging all the time. Not the same as winter malaise, a special springtime variation where the sun is out, everything is good, and yet I just want to sleep all the time. I've been attempting late afternoon couch time, but that also happens to be Sophia's neediest time, go figure...maybe it makes her nervous when I lie down.

I have a few old posts on "avitaminosis"...I just checked them and they were written in May, BUT with the mild winter, maybe things are just happening a bit out of order this year?

To get some energy back, I determined to get more sleep. Sometimes I think it's ridiculous that I don't get enough sleep, since I don't get up early for work,'s always something.

Of course as soon as I decided I was going to sleep more, there were needing a cuddle, or the bedroom being too hot because it was warmer outside and the heat was still going full-blast. Etc. And then finally one night Andrei took over with Sophia, and when David got up early he quietly went about his business...a miracle! And I got some sleep. And then a few more nights after that I got probably 7 hours.

Monday, March 2, 2020

The month of change

I keep trying and failing  (timewise) to type up Finland notes, but meanwhile a month has passed since our trip, so it's time for an update. (Side note: Been having terrible trouble with Chrome, had to download Opera before I could get images to show up on here. Anyone else?)

I'm liking our schedule right now, and usually there is much more daylight by the end of February, so there is a different feeling in the air as the seasons change.

Spring sunshine/ The "clean" version of the living room...

Andrei has fewer class hours this semester, or at least they're scheduled differently. He's home most days by 6 instead of 8 pm. He teaches at 2 universities and even has a few foreign students that need instruction in English, which is great practice for him.

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...