Sunday, March 28, 2010

Top Ten

This week's loves:

1. Jam on cottage cheese
2. Cooking/baking blogs
3. Rain
4. Patty Griffin's "Making Pies"
5. Listening to my ipod on my way to work
6. Podcasts
7. Orange black tea
8. Reading at Frickadelki
9. My journal
10. Frozen/blended bananas

Easter People

"Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song."
Pope John Paul II

"...We are the Easter people and HALLELUJAH is our song."

Friday, March 26, 2010


You know what late night, solitary walks in the rain are good for? Washing away the idea that life can be perfect...that it can ever be perfect. They are good for melting away facades of courage and independence and having things figured out. They are good for cleansing the mind of life’s busyness…even good busyness.

Late night solitary walks in the rain are good for reminding me how important late night solitary walks in the rain are. While I find time to be alone, little of it is spent in solitude. There are thoughts I've been avoiding thinking, prayers I've neglected praying, and attitudes/habits I've denied altering.

This will change.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


I love Fridays. You know what I don't love?


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Lullabies to Sushi

When I was going into the sixth grade my family moved from a city about twenty minutes north of Seattle (Lynnwood) to a city about fifty minutes south of Seattle (Puyallup). Truthfully, the move was pretty traumatic for me. I missed my friends in Lynnwood and being shy, I found it very difficult to make friends at my new school. I would walk the track by myself during recess and count down the hours until I could go home. I can laugh at how pathetic that sounds now, but at the time life felt incredibly painful. Who knew loneliness could physically hurt.

Sunday nights were the worst. I'd feel sick with dread as I thought about the five days ahead of me that were sure to be filled with anxiety, feeling out of place, and longing for the friends and familiarity I had been forced to leave behind. On these difficult nights as I was trying to fall asleep and longing to be someone/somewhere else, I'd listen to a Kenny Loggins lullaby tape on my walkman. Maybe I was too old for songs about rainbows and wishes and unicorns but they provided a feeling of comfort and stability that I craved. To this day, whenever I hear Kenny sing "St. Judy's Comet" or "To-Ra-Loo-Ra"(don't judge) I feel a familiar sense of peace and comfort. Though the world around me felt lonely and out of control, my home was a place of refuge where life was safe and love could be found. These songs reminded me of this.

Tonight we out for sushi to celebrate my roommate’s, 25th birthday. It was the first time I've eaten sushi since being in Seattle and as soon as I took my first bite it immediately reminded me of home. Seattle is filled with a lot of excellent things(coffee, rain, art, bicyclists...) and sushi is certainly one of them. Eating it reminded me of late nights at Wasabi Bistro or heading to Blue C Sushi after work. It was like a little piece of home rolled up in rice and seaweed and it was so wonderful! I felt giddy thinking about my return as I was eating it.

If you're having a difficult time figuring out how I got from lullabies to sushi, I certanly wouldn't blame you. I'm not really sure I know how to articulate the connection. I just know that as I was lying here snuggled in bed-not feeling wonderful and sort of just wanting someone to take care of me- both of these things came to mind. As I thought about them, I was reminded of how exceptionally beautiful my life is.

I am so blessed to be able to look back on even the most difficult times of my life and never doubt that I was loved and supported. I am so lucky to be able taste home and feel joy instead of bitterness or hurt or disappointment as many in this world do. You know that cheesy saying, “home is where the heart is?” Well…it’s filled with some healthy bits of truth. Though I am far from home, the memories of it have traveled safely with me. And still, I realize as I prepare to head back to the place I love and call home in a few months, I will bring with me new memories of a new home. In the process of leaving home, I've realized how much I really love it. In the midst of needing home, I've realized it can exist simultaneously in more than one place.

Perhaps my roots have loosened a little. I've been told this happens as we grow. At times it is scary to think about where I might be transplanted and end up, though I can't feel a sadness about the uprooting process. Without it, I never would have discovered how beautiful and deep my roots truly are.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Skipping Work

So my current voice situation has reminded me of last year when I was in the same, but slightly less uncomfortable situation. I lost my voice so I called in sick to work (good luck controlling two year olds with no voice...they don't even listen when you have a voice....) but because I didn't feel sick, I played with my friends in Seattle. It's possible I should feel bad about this but I don't. Well, not really. The following pictures are dedicated to my P-town crew ;-)

Oh Friday...

Fridays, around 12:30pm are quite possibly one of my favorite times of the week. I only teach two classes on Fridays and so I arrive home just about this time with the worries of the work week behind me and the knowledge that the weekend awaits. This weekend is sure to be a busy one. It is Shannon's birthday on Sunday and Rachael and I have planned a few surprises for her (I feel safe in telling you this now because I'm 98% sure my roommates don't read my blog).

I had plans to play pool with my good friend Arina this afternoon (she's teaching me) but I haven't been feeling well lately and my cough and sore throat have now turned into no voice and pain in my chest (don't worry mom, I'll steam). I've lost my voice before but it has never hurt...which concerns me slightly this time...but only a little. I seem to always have weird health things going on so I figure it's a little too early in the game to be too concerned.

Though I would much rather not have to cough every time I inhale or sound like a man every time I try to speak, there is something nice about having a reason to slow down, put your pajamas on before lunch, take a three hour nap, and drink tea all day. So that's all for now. My water is boiling and my bed is calling my name. Happy Friday.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


On a scale from one to ten, how terrible would it be of me to teach a lesson on the benefits of wearing deoderant?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Night on Nevskiy

Sometimes I forget why I'm here. Sometimes I forget how incredibly blessed I am to have this opportunity to experience so much! How careless it is of me to waste my time longing to be somewhere else or in different company.

So tonight I bundled up and headed to Nevskiy to walk the the streets. (Does that sound wrong?) I spent about an hour wondering around a huge bookstore in the center. I bought myself a new journal and on an impulse bought "The Catcher In The Rye"

When I was finished on Nevskiy I went to this little cafe where I ate a salad, wrote in my new journal, and just sat and people watched. It was perfect. I ususally prefer to share experiences like these with other people, but tonight, I wouldn't have changed a thing. It was a beautifully refreshing evening and now I feel even more motivated to not waste a single day that I have left here. In spite of my complaining and bad attitude at times, I truly do love my little Russian life.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Russian Rockstars

People who learn Russian are rockstars. They are. I'm not putting myself in that rockstar category because truthfully, I'm not sure I can say I'm "learning" much Russian. I have, however, learned how to be an excellent head nodder, subject changer and nervous laugher. So these lessons aren't a total waste.

I attribute my lack of learning/rockstarness to two main things:
1. I'm convinced I have a brain tumor that severly hinders any attempts I make to remember things.
2. I don't honestly try THAT hard.

But both of those factors are beside the point and they make my complaining sound less legitimate. So let's just forget about them. Below you a basic outline of my lesson tonight. If it sounds like a lot of blah blah blahing, then I'd say my re-telling skills are pretty strong.

Galina: Seechac cases.
Me: Uh oh.
Galina: Nyet, "uh oh" Elizabet. Nyet. Cases etta normalna. Genetive etta nemnolga trudna. Nemnolga.
Me: Ha. (Maybe for you!)
Galina: Blah, blah, blah, nomative, genetive, dative, accusitive, instrumental, prepositional, blah blah blah. Vaprosi, Elizabet?
Me: Uh. Well. Uh...nyet?
Galina: Blah, blah nyet mix. Nyet mix. Nyet. Panymiesh?
Me: Uh. Well. Uh...Da?
Galina: blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah....
(and so it continued for an hour and fifty minutes)

Mondays officially make me feel stupid.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Weekend in Review

Joy can't hide forever. This weekend I found it in the following nouns:

Video skype/my parents

Chili Night

Witnessing new experiences


Sunshine/blue sky

Not Pictured:
Bible study
Pizza Hut with Shannon and Arina
Journal shopping
Tea with students
BJ and Kendra's engagement

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Dear Jesus,

Could you come a little closer tonight? Could you remind me what I'm doing here? Could you remind me who I am? Better yet, could you remind me who YOU are?

Sometimes I forget.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Thanks, Linda

I'm really not sure how they got this video of me singing...I usually only do this act in private...

(You'll have to cut and paste because I couldn't figure out how to embed this little guy)

In Search of...

Joy. I think I set some of it down somewhere I can't seem to find it. The problem is, I didn't realize I had lost it until only recently. The good news is I'm on the lookout for it. I have a good feeling about this search.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Happy Women's Day To Me

Can it be? My Russian teacher is a no show??? No Russian lesson? Yes, God is good. Can I get an Amen!?


I have my Russian lesson in about 2.5 hours and I should probably study...which is exactly why I'm writing a blog. Here they are- life thoughts, happenings, and concerns as of lately.

1. Today is International Women's Day which I guess is a day to celebrate women. I, for one, celebrate how great it is to be a woman every day (with the exception of a few every month) though I do appreciate the day off from work.

2. Tomorrow is not Women's Day and thus, I will go to work. We will be discussing cultural gender roles and how they've got it sort of messed up here in Russia and that women are worth a lot more than their looks and ability to cook and clean for their man. So basically I'm seeking to impose my own personal beliefs on my students. And they will accept them. Or they will fail.

3. My neighbors are smoking inside and it is seeping in through the walls and I sort of hate it. Truthfully, I might as well just take up smoking while I'm here. I mean, why fight it? Eveyone's doing it...

4. I had a dream last night that an alligator was attacking me.

5. I know this doesn't speak very highly of my ability to focus on what truly matters in life...but I really miss my clothes.

6. My Dad and I have a date planned for when I return. We'll get coffee and then sit on a bench in the mall and make fun of people that walk by. Just like the old days. (You can't blame me for the way I turned's my parents' fault!)

7. I keep buying vegetables with the every intention of eating them. I keep throwing away squishy, hairy, moldy vegetables.

8. I've been thinking about home a lot lately. I need to stop. I have a little less than three months left in Russia and I need to live them to the fullest.

9. I continue to say and do awkward things. Really awkward things. I have this hope that you can grow out of awkwardness but I'm beginning to have my doubts.

10. Last week one of my students gave me chocolates as an apology for calling me profane names in an email he sent me while drunk on New Years. Sweet of him, huh?

11. I could eat dried fruit and nuts all day every day. Especially banana chips. And especially cashews.

12. I realized that since coming to Russia I make my bed every morning. I even feel a little disturbed if I leave my room and my bed is not made.

13. My friends are growing up and getting married. Uh...

14. I like the feeling of sore muscles after working out.

15. I've successfully put off studying my Russian for ten solid minutes. Go me.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Ohhhh life. Sometimes I just can't figure you out...

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Rambling Thoughts

I have thoughts today. Big thoughts. The kind of thoughts that often spend a lot of time in my head and come out sounding a lot less eloquent then they did before making their public debut. So don’t say I didn’t warn you.

I’ve been in Russia for sixth months now. Sixth months! You need two hands to count the number of months I’ve been in the Motherland so I feel okay about thinking that is a long time. I was talking to a friend the other week about coming home and she told me she had a feeling that I wouldn’t stick around for too long because I’m a lot more independent now. I had to laugh a little because life in Russia has made me feel like I’m anything but independent. I depend on others on a daily basis…to translate the language, to help me buy things, to give me directions. I still feel like a child, sounding out words and feeling victorious over simple things like ordering food by myself. Independent? No. Pathetic? Well, yeah…a little.

Everyone keeps telling me I’ll be different. Before I began this journey, those words excited me. Now they make me feel uneasy.
I’ve spent the past two months actively trying to figure out the location of the next year or so of my life. If you were unaware that I’ve been seriously considering staying overseas for another year, well…it’s probably because I didn’t tell you. I needed to feel like my decision was a result of God’s leading and not the thoughts or opinions of those I love. I can now say with confidence I am supposed to return to the states. I can say with hesitancy that I am excited about it.

There is a real sadness in all that I will leave behind; new relationships, unique opportunities, challenging lessons, good friends, and a world that was beginning to resemble home. My foreign life now feels strangely familiar. However, at the same time, the thought of being with my family and friends again fills me with great joy. There has been an aching in my heart ever since I left them. I plan on consuming an unhealthy amount of calories in food that actually has flavor and spending countless hours just sitting in coffee shops. I’ll drive a car and buy everything I need at one store and walk outside without feeling like my appendages are about to fall off.

And…then what?

I have no plans for life post May 31st. I guess this can be viewed as an exciting next step of the journey but honestly, it’s also a little unnerving. The only qualifications I really have are to teach and this is profession I’m not really wanting pursue any longer. I just long to do something that helps people...that improves their lives. Otherwise, mine is a waste. I haven’t forgotten God’s faithfulness in the past, or the ways he continues to provide for me. I’m just wary of the transition process…figuring out where it is I fit, what it is I’m supposed to do, and who it is I am now.

So like always, there are a lot of unknowns. I don’t know how Russia has changed me. I don’t know what the next chapter is. I don’t know where exactly I’m meant to be or what it is I’m supposed to be doing. But if my past is any indication of what the future might hold, it promises to be like nothing I could have planned or expected. Which is probably why I am a bit concerned…

Monday, March 1, 2010

It Almost Happened...

My concerns were validated today. I did a ridiculous dance on the ice. The only thing that kept me on my feet was the fact I was clinging to Rachael's arm as we walked to work. Thank God for roommates who don't let you down (please recognize the wit in this statement).