Friday, May 28, 2010

Urban Garden Paradise!

Wowzers. Remember that post a few weeks back about how I just had no clue about how to garden? Well, I still don't have a clue.

But I have started a garden! It started when I bought a pretty full grown tomato plant from Stop and Shop, and my roommate bought a basil plant. Then a co-worker gave me some tomato seedlings. Then I acquired some seeds of various sorts.

All my plants are in various stages, but it will be a fun journey!

From doing some research online, I discovered that tomatoes LOVE coffee grinds, so Ive been drinking coffee every morning for the sole purpose of feeding my tomatoes.

Im concerned that the seeds I planted this afternoon wont get enough sun or something. But my balcony gets tons of sun, so hopefully that works out.

My friend Casey is bringing me up some more awesome plants. Cant wait!

Anyone else enjoying a garden this summer? What's in yours?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Shameless Promotion: Friends

Well hey howdy hey! Today I'm in the mood for shameless promotion, but dont worry, its not shameless SELF promotion. There is a difference you know.

I thought this morning, why dont I let you all know about some of my awesome bloggy friends?! Today is all about muh real life friends!

Jake Buob
This summer Jake is blogging all about books (probably some other stuff too). His reading list includes books by Dever, Mahaney, Mohler, Sproul.. I mean could it get any better? Check it out!

Niki Brooks: There is No Place Like Home
Her blog is about "home." What is home? Where is home. She is an excellent writer!

Kimberly V (Im not going to spell her last name.)
She is an Baking/Pastry/Culinary major from JWU who lives in Germany but will be studying in France. I can imagine some interesting posts coming up!

Stephanie Gaddis: Stephanie's Mommy Brain
Great blog about mommy things, homeschooling, kitcheny delights, what to do in New England, home management, faith, book reviews, movies, music.. oh just a glory of awesome things!

Nancy Doucette: CapeCod Confessions
Nancy is a Travel major friend that I met freshman year. She is going on an adventure as she works with the National Park Service on Cape Cod! Cant wait to read about her explorations!

Corey McKeon
A recent Marketing grad from JWU, Corey is embarking on many new things in his life: relocating to Washington DC and attending Georgetown grad school. As I have thought about living in DC, it will be awesome to read his experiences in the city: finding a job, going to school, and getting an apartment. Corey will definitely be successful in all he does!

Ok! Hope you can check out all my friends. Stay tuned for some more of my favorite blogs!

Know of any blogs I should check out? Leave a link to your own blog in the comments. Im always looking for some awesome things to read!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Quick Departure, Long Journey

Well hello people!
After 31 straight hours of traveling, I arrived in Providence on Thursday evenning weary, delusional, and terribly smelly - typical side effects no doubt.

My departure happened just as fast as my arrival. Pastor Sasha gets to the apartment, throws my stuff in the car and says "ok lets go." Just like that. Im walking out of the building trying to hold back tears, which would  be to complicated to explain to my Russian friends.

We get to the train station in Nizhny Novgorod and I know I am in for a long night. My two bunkmates, older Russian men, change into pajamas and pass out, snoring obnoxiously loud. The lights are out. A third roommate comes into the room at the next stop, but its dark and we dont talk. I cant sleep due to the noise and the awkward closeness of being in a tiny room with 3 sleeping strangers.

Upon arrival in Moscow, my third roommate happens to be a Russian young lady who speaks English! Just my luck. We conversate and learn that we are going to the same metro stop. She even buys me my train ticket. From a scalper none the less, "Are these tickets going to work?" .."Hope so!" She exclaims. After getting on the metro we talk more and exchange thank-you's and business cards and then get off and go our separate ways.

I ride the Aero-Express to the Sheremetyevo International Airport, the most annoying airport in the world pretty much. I had a packed backpack, a heavy duffel bag, and another carryon with random things. The moral of the story is not to pack more than you can carry, but I had even left behind books, socks, boots, and toiletries. Walking 10 miles through the airport killed my arms and I was halfway exhausted already.

The flight was 10 hours from Moscow to New York City, and not terrible, but I couldnt sleep. They played movies, Thank God, otherwise it would have been a lot more harder to get through those 10 long hours.

My friends Leeta and Niki picked me up and we spent 4.5 hours driving back to Providence, usually only a 3 hours drive -- Connecticut wasnt my friend.

I got home at 7:30pm. Took a much needed shower, and walked over to my pastors house to hang out with some people. Luckily, I was in bed by 10:30pm, and didnt have to be to work until noon the next day. Slept like a rock. God Bless America. I really miss Russia, but its good to be back.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Farewell for Now.

I never thought I would feel this sad to leave Russia. But I do, and it is basically uncontrollable.

Tonight we had a farewell party for me which consisted of all my English Club, and those from the church heading into the forest for a bon-fire, roasted hotdogs, and games. The mood was generally upbeat, and people kept saying “it’s a cheerful night, because we know we will see you again.” I have battled with God about that exact sentiment, and I believe it is true. When and how? Im not quite sure yet.

Three months is a pretty short time frame for someone like me. I am an observer, I take a while to dive into change and I need to assess situations before I really know how to handle them. Its basically taken me 2.5 months to get used to culture, people, and the language, and now its time to leave.  I did not fully realize how much I have fallen in love with the people here until this week. Their constant encouragement and gratitude has blown me away, and to see the work that God is doing here -- well, its just too much for words.

Tonight, I cry. Their hugs linger in my mind.
A 13 year old girl who has never spoken English to me, ran up today and gave me a big hug and said "I like you." My friend Ilya politely asked "May I?" And then proceeded to hug me for five minutes and just repeated "thank you thank you thank you." A young woman who I have especially gotten to know remembered that it was my birthday in a few weeks and gave me a beautiful necklace and she hugged me as she said goodbye.

The friendships made in these 3 months are deep. I know I have a family here. People from the community who had never step foot inside a church before coming to the English Club now know they have a family here.

And most importantly, they know who God is, and they want to know more.

Tomorrow (or should I say, later tonight) I leave in a car for Nizhny Novgorod where I will then take an overnight train to Moscow where I will fly into New York City and get picked up and head to Rhode Island. I will never be the same, and I am hoping and praying for God to continue his great work here in Zavolzh'ye as well as in my heart.

Thank you to everyone who has made this experience possible. Please keep Zavolzh'ye in your prayers, as well as clarity for me on future endeavors in Russia.  

More stories to come, just you wait. 

Friends and family, Catch ya on the flip side. 

Sunday, May 16, 2010

I wish it were easier...

Dial-up internet is just a common place thing here. Except, dial-up internet is finicky and most websites just crap out after 20 minutes of trying to load. 

I wish it were easier to blog. 

When I get home from a really awesome day, sometimes I just want to share a really great picture that captures it all, but it wont upload.  

To be honest, every blog post Ive written in the past 3 months has been written and scheduled in 2-3 week blocks... whenever I have time to go to Mike's apartment and use his high speed, I go blog crazy, writing everything I can think of, and then scheduling the posts for weeks out. It makes my blog feel empty and useless, like I'm not really here. But I am, I promise. And I love you all for keeping up with me and commenting. 

I wish a lot of things about living in Russia were easier. The cost of a plane ticket. The distance to the USA. Finding peanut butter. Learning the language. Trying to be polite about eating dill fish soup.  Not knowing how people really think of you. Not having summer clothes when its 80 degrees out. Ministry.
But despite the hardships, my good God is sufficient. He has provided me with real lifelong friendships. He has provided me with food that sustains me. He has provided me with such special people that support me and pray for me. He has provided me with a cool breeze during the humid days. He has provided me with His word that brings new life and breath into my crusty old bones. He has provided me with a salvation that promises life and joy. He has provided me with a mouth to share, and He has provided me with love, so that I may love. 

Thank you for sticking with me. Soon I wont have to rely on the "schedule your blog" feature. 
God is good. 

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Children's Circle Saturdays!

From Left to Right: Olya, Mark, Ira, Sasha, Elya, David, Dima
Every Saturday some kids come over for a little Bible Study! The first time they met me they were just so pumped about being able to use their English! Elya, the boy in the lower right hand corner, even brought his English/Russian dictionary the second time! Anya, my host roommate, leads the discussion with some fun games, and a lesson about something. As far as I can understand they are learning about the book of Exodus.
After the bible study they ALWAYS have tea and mini-cakes or cookies. Last week I made them popcorn and they were just so happy because they love popcorn but dont get to eat it often I guess.
I love these kids and will miss them alot!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I Have a Confession

Last year I saved all the seeds from the apples that I ate. I thought I would be able to plant them and grow apple trees. Needless to say, my plan didnt exactly work out.

Then my friends moved into an apartment with a spacious backyard garden area. My green thumb was itching.

My friend Casey has become a gardening fool this year. Im pretty sure she accidently is growing 300 plants.

I've been following some local Rhode Island CSA's and other gardeners on twitter and google reader.

Those arent my connfessions, but this is: I am DYING to garden. Except I have NO CLUE how to garden. I just want to start off with a few plants. Tomatoes, cilantro, cucumbers, squash. What else can you grow? I have a glorious balcony that YEARNS for a little garden. Is it too late to start when I get back to Rhode Island at the end of May? Please tell me its not.
Where the heck do I start?! HELP!
Anyone else here garden? Know a thing or two? Please Share!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

I Love My Mumsy!

Today marks the day to celebrate mothers across the USA. Mothers are a strong bunch, if you ask me. They birth a child. They do whatever it takes to keep it alive for 20 years, and then they let it wild and free, hoping that those 20 years were effective in imparting wisdom, so that the kid won’t go out into the world and be a stupid fool.
Speaking of imparting wisdom, I want to talk about my mom. She is a glorious and amazing woman who did whatever it took to keep me and my sister alive and happy through all sorts of trials and tribulations. She was always there for us, she knew who our friends where, she took us on spur of the moment road trips and she was always the cool mom, not to mention the BEST chaperone. My mom always had something crafty for us to do, weather it was making peanut butter birdfeeders, or painting blocks of wood. She said yes when we wanted to go camping into our teens, and she lets us do Chinese fire drills with our friends. She taught me everything I know about whipping up a meal, and she always had good books lying around the house. My mom always has good advice and knows when to cut the crap. She always tells her coworkers about my sister and I, and our newest endeavors- and her motherly pride shines.

I think I’m like my mom a lot, and that makes me happy to say.  Love you Mom! I couldn’t imagine, wouldn’t WANT to imagine, going through life with anyone else but you!

Happy Mother’s Day! =)
What do you love about your mom?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A Russian Picnic, with a little bit of BBQ!

Just a follow-up to my lame post from this past weekend. Russia celebrates Labor Day on May 3rd, and we all went out for a fun picnic by the Large Dam. I bought some BBQ sauce. There was chicken to be enjoyed, fellowship fun, exploring, and good times for all! It was also a great group because there were so many awesome English speakers! Good job Andre, Tanya, Elya, and Dima! Love these people =)


Saturday, May 1, 2010

Day of Spring and Labor

The Day of Spring and Labor / Праздник Весны и Труда (day off)
May 1, 2010
In 2010, the date falls on a Saturday and so May 3, a Monday, will also be a day off work.

Formerly International Worker's Solidarity Day under the old Communist system, it seems that everyone calls this one something different now. "Labor Day," "The May Holiday," and "Worker's Day" all seem to be used, but everyone at least uses the same date. It is celebrated with parades, concerts, food, and drink and traditionally kicks off the dacha season.

Taken from the this link.