Friday, May 25, 2012

What I'll Miss

As we get closer and closer to the Big Day (August 28th is our estimated move date; it also happens to be our 8 year wedding anniversary), I'm starting to realize all the things I'm going to miss about our current home. Not the home itself, of course (we live in a rental duplex that John has hated from day one; note to self: never choose your future home when you're six months pregnant and in major nesting mode. Anything looks good at that point), but the area, and most importantly, the people.

I'm used to moving - I recently realized I've lived in ten houses in ten years. Yeesh - and I'm used to starting over in new places, but this time is different. I have this terrible feeling that I'm going to fall off the grid and be forgotten about, which isn't something I've ever really worried about before. Living in Russia shouldn't be that different from living anywhere else; I have the Internet to stay connected to all my friends and family, and even the blogosphere. But it's probably the first time we've ever moved anywhere where I literally won't know a single person besides John and Jack. And that scares the living daylights out of me.

And it's not just the area I'm going to miss. I'm going to miss the good ol' US of A - a lot. I've lived abroad (nine months in England, which some people would say hardly counts) and I know how much less convenient the rest of the world is. You can go ahead and knock our giant cars, fast food chains, six lane freeways, and mega stores, but I for one love being able to go to Target whenever I want and get everything I need, from clothing to shampoo to yogurt. I know I don't NEED to be able to find all those things in one place, but it sure is handy. Especially when you've got a toddler in tow.

But honestly, the thing I'm really going to miss is you guys, my friends and family members. I know I only see some of you once or twice a year at best, but knowing we're on the same continent helps. I don't expect anyone to come to Yekaterinburg, but perhaps we can meet somewhere in the middle. I hear Iceland is lovely.

Friday, May 11, 2012


A month or two ago I sent in a little update to the UC Davis alumni magazine, because I wanted John's amazing accomplishments to be included along with all the people writing books and starting companies and having babies. I finally heard back from someone the other day, and she had a few questions about our Foreign Service post and how long we'd be gone. We ended up emailing back and forth a few times, and I mentioned that I was nervous about the move, mainly because I don't speak Russian and because it's going to be so cold. She wrote back with this great little anecdote about meeting with a group of Russian politicians for a story she was working on:

"I have this vivid image of a distinguished Russian gentleman with a silver beard, and a beautiful accent, telling me a Russian proverb: He who doesn't risk never gets to drink champagne. I love that saying, though it doesn't necessarily make it easier to take those risks."

Isn't that a fabulous expression? And isn't it so cool that a random person I'll never meet in real life shared that story with me? That's one of the things I love so much about taking risks in life -- not only do you get to drink the champagne (or vodka, as the case may be) when those risks pay off, but you also get to meet wonderful people and experience new and unexpected things along the way.

So here's to the risks, and the rewards! Next up - Russian training, starting Monday. Can't wait to see how this goes. На здоровье!

Friday, May 4, 2012

What to Bring

On Wednesday, John got a list of all the furniture in our apartment, including everything from lamps to bookcases. The good news: the house is fully furnished. The bad news: the house is fully furnished. So while we don't HAVE to bring anything, we also CAN'T bring anything. They won't move furniture out of the apartment, so we're stuck with whatever is there. Of course, it's nice that the decision has been made for us, but I'm sad I can't bring my desk, since there's already one there. Or our velvet armchairs. Or our leather couch. At least we can bring our own artwork and linens (I'm going to have to get very creative with pillows to bring that place to life!).

Thank goodness there's an IKEA outside of Yekat, so at least we can buy things like extra lamps if we need them, or a coffee table (there are apparently two small tables in the living room; I'm not sure what that means). We're stuck with the twin beds in the second bedroom, but I plan on making that the guest room/gym/playroom, because that room is enormous and Jack doesn't need that much space (or twin beds in his room along with his toddler bed). I figure we can push the beds together if any couples come to visit us (hint, hint, Lauren and Mark). On the plus side, there's a walk-in closet in the master bedroom!

I've also decided to bring the treadmill. I've been told that even with a transformer/adaptor, appliances can get fried, but as someone else told me, you should bring everything that makes you happy, because the winters in Yekaterinburg are loooong. Knowing me, I'm not going to feel like suiting up just to walk a few blocks to the consulate gym if it's -30 outside. And with all the pirozhki and vodka I'll be consuming, I'll need to work out on a regular basis.

Also, I can't remember if I mentioned that we bought our car! We had to do it a little earlier than expected, since John's bro took our second car sooner than anticipated, but I have to admit that John was right: the 4Runner is awesome. Once we get all the kinks worked out (the DVD player is on the fritz, which is problematic because Jack now thinks he gets to watch Finding Nemo every time we go for a ten-minute car ride; the XM radio also ended three months earlier than it should have), it's going to be even more awesome.

So that's what we've decided in the past week or so. Less than two weeks until my Russian training begins. Eeek! Happy Friday everyone.