Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Almost 3am. Lately, I've been having bad dreams. Tonight's dream included a severed arm, a bloody foot, and two injured children in a car accident. This sort of thing makes sleep less appealing and a lot less enjoyable.

I think I'm going to look at pictures of ponies and rainbows before trying to go back to sleep...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Thou Knowest

Tonight Arina and I walked home from Nevsky, side by side, the same way we had eight months earlier; only this time, no longer strangers but friends. As we walked, we talked about how quickly time has passed. I remember when I first arrived, exiting the airport and inhaling the warm Russian air. It smelled like garbage and Ukraine and adventure, and I remember wondering if this foreign land would ever feel familiar to me.

And familiar, it now is. Not in a, this-feels-like-home kind of way but in a, you’ve-become-a-part-of-me kind of way. And maybe that is even better. I drink tea and talk about the temperature in Celsius and see God in the everyday victories. I read Cyrillic (slowly and painfully), know what kind of milk to buy and what kind of cheese to avoid, and on some days, when I’m standing amidst the crowds in the metro or walking down a quiet street, I catch a brief glimpse of utter clarity and it all makes sense. It is in these moments I can appreciate the enourmous gift of this beautifully challenging experience.

Tomorrow is April 26th- exactly one month from my date of departure. If my grandpa were here, he’d say, “Where did it all go?” And tonight I think I’d say, “I know, right?”

I have mixed emotions when I hear my friends and family talk of their excitement surrounding my return. On one hand, I’m counting down with them. There have been nights when my heart has literally hurt because I missed everyone so much and I longed to be back with them. My journal keeps record of all of the things I can’t wait to do as soon as I get back. And still, there is another part of me that feels frustrated and bothered when we talk of how great it will be when I return. Arrivals rarely exist without departures, beginnings often follow endings, and goodbyes are ever present. It’s just all so bittersweet.

And here is the tension. I am ready to be with the people who know and love me. I’m ready to be with the people I know and love. I’m ready to belong again- to not feel like an outsider or a bother everywhere I go. I’m ready to know how to act and what to say and how to say it. But I’m not ready for it to all be over. I'm not ready to say goodbye. I’m not ready to trade a life I don’t know quite how to live in, for a life I don’t quite know what to do with. The past two years have been spent if not in Russia, than thinking about Russia or planning for Russia. And in one short month, I will inhale air that no longer smells like anything to me, step onto a plane, and it will all be over.

Does this sound overly dramatic? Maybe it is, it’s certainly possible. But when I’ve gone to sleep at night lately, these are the thoughts that have filled my mind. Change and I are learning to get along, but I’m not sure we’ll ever be best friends. Afterall, it’s hard to be best friends with someone who is consistently breaking and hurting you. Even if it is in the name of growth.

Friday, April 23, 2010


Okay yes, I stole this from someone else's blog. But only because it was sooo good.

"Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being “in love” which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two."

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Today was a blessing. I could try explaining why but I suspect it wouldn't make sense or my words would just cheapen it. But it was good. Really good.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Skype pulled through and my heart is happy. SO happy.

darn the bad luck

It is a little after four in the morning here and I am awake with the hopes of being skyped into my cousin's wedding. These hopes are quickly fading.

My family (extended and all) is currently at the beach, spending time together and celebrating the marriage of Rachel and Aaron that is going down...oh...right about now. My brother is officiating the service.

I want to be there.

There are many things I love in life. Weddings and family are at the top of the list. I love weddings 1) because I'm a girl and they are weddings 2) they inspire and excite me 3) they remind me that love is a commitment that goes beyond fluctuating feelings. I love my family 1) because they are incredibly supportive and loving 2) they are made up of some of the funniest people I know and 3) because I just have the best family. I know you probably think that that YOU have the best family...and I don't blame you for thinking that as you've never been a part of mine...but just rest assured that you're wrong. Mine beats yours. And yes, it is a competition.

I do my best to be content with my present circumstances. But currently, my bed in St. Petersburg, Russia is the last place I want to be at a time like this. I miss being part of my family and I'm not a fan of missing once in a lifetime events. But nevertheless, I'm so excited for the changes that have occurred. So congratulations, Rachel and Aaron. Our family is growing and becoming even more awesome (if that's even possible). And that, my friends, is a very good thing.


There are moments in life, fleeting as they are, when everything feels perfect. And the only thing you can really do is breathe deeply, close your eyes, and thank God.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

At Last

Spring has come to St. Petersburg. I see it everywhere. On the bare sidewalks. In the warming temperatures. Even on the faces of those I pass on the street. It is as if winter is loosening its dark grip and people are beginning to remember what it feels like to be kind and happy and hopeful again.

Growing up in Washington, I've experienced some dark, rainy, winters. But they are nothing in comparison to this winter in St. Petersburg. After a while the darkness just wears on you. The cold takes it toll. And without noticing a change had even occurred, I found myself feeling down, pessimistic, and lethargic. Winters can be hard. Life can be hard.

I think that is what I like about so much about the changing seasons. They remind me that just like winter will eventually fade into spring one day, so will the difficulties and problems we are currently facing. For better or worse, change will never leave us to ourselves for too long. A new season is always on its way.

As the sun begins to shine on this beautiful city, in this country far from home, I am reminded things will not stay the same for much longer. In fact, change has already begun. The death and darkness that made itself at home during the winter will now stand witness to new life and light. Hope has risen and spring is here. And I can't say what, or why, or when, but I just get the feeling that this new season has the potential to be incredibly beautiful.

1.5 months left in Russia. Let's do this.


Spring has redeemed Russia for me. Details coming soon.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Stumbled upon this little gem this morning...

"...Since prayer is at the bottom of all this, what I want mostly is for men to pray-not shaking angry fists at enemies but raising holy hands to God. And I want women to get in there with the men in humility before God, not primping before a mirror or chasing the latest fashions but doing something beautiful for God and becoming beautiful doing it."
1 Timothy 2:8:10 The Message

...we are hunters, hunting for something that will make us okay...

I remember when I was little and my parents would tell me I was beautiful.

I remember laughing because I knew they had to say that. They’re my parents.

I remember having a conversation a few years back with a guy about girls and body image.

I remember him saying how stupid he thought it was that girls struggle with the way they view themselves.

I remember thinking his words were incredibly insensitive and completely true.

I remember a prayer that was prayed over the girls on the CIS team as we prepared to come overseas.

I remember it was a prayer of protection- that we wouldn’t fall into the false belief that is strongly felt here-that our worth comes from what the mirror or the scale says about us.

I remember coming to Russia and being amazed by all of the high heels, makeup, and tight clothing.

I remember thinking how ridiculous it is that a size four is borderline fat here.

I remember feeling sad that so many women here find their worth in how skinny they can be or how beautiful they can look.

You know what I don’t remember? When I first started believing those lies for myself.

God, I thought I could rise above these pressures without you. I thought I had a firm enough understanding of what truly matters in life. I thought I was confident in the fact that my worth comes from you. God, I was wrong.

Forgive me. Remind me. Help me.

Help us.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Birdcage Religion

"So slowly I'm losing
who I've sworn to be.
a promise in pencil
that years have made so hard to read.
I've spent my life building walls
brick by brick and bruise by bruise...
a birdcage religion that whispered me to sleep.

but time is spinning silk
that coils ruthlessly;
with the devil's patience,
it binds my hands so quietly
that soon it becomes a part of me.

so soften these edges and straighten out my tie.
and help me remember
the hope that i have compromised.

please be a broken record for me."

Sunday, April 4, 2010

"A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.
And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times when we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
And running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities dirty and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.

Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wineskins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory.

All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,
We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death."