Monday, February 20, 2017

Monday, February 20th

Just in case I haven't mentioned how much we walk, look at this!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Sunday, February 19th

Thank you, everyone, for wanting to join our blog!  I am trying to figure out how to make it private and then I will add all your names to it.

Every week is so long and so short, all at the same time.  I am enjoying my work very much.  I am working on real estate leases and issues in about nine countries (Ukraine, Georgia, Turkey, Latvia, Lithuania, Kazhakstan, Armenia, Bulgaria, and Belarus and one matter in Russia). It is very interesting to speak to attorneys from these countries and learn laws related to real estate.  It's mostly contract law, but there are some significant differences.

Russ is busy helping the young volunteers.  He's on the phone 3-6 hours a day between talking to the volunteers and the missionaries, and the medical doctor about their mutual issues.  He could do it from home, but he'd be all alone.  So instead he comes to work with me where they have given him an office and a computer.  We go to lunch every day together and he's not sick of me yet (at least he hasn't said so!)

We have settled into a routine, only to up and move this coming Friday to the Christensen's apartment, which is 5 Metro stops away from here and 3 Metro stops south of the stop we go to in order to get to work. We are currently two Metro stops north of that station.

  Image result for mitino station   Mitino Station--Current Station

Image result for molodezhnaya metro stop moscow         Molodyozhnaya Station--New Station

The apartment is in an older, closer to downtown Moscow, part of town. The streets, Metro stop, and construction is older.  Where we are now is in NW Moscow, in an area called Krasnogorsk, with cranes all over the place building, building, building.  Seven days a week. From early in the morning until late at night.  They simply put up very bright spotlights and work away.  Yesterday we saw groups of men by the side of contruction sites, looking as though they were hoping to get work.  So it may not matter where a person is in the world, the issues are the same.

Here is a link to a picture of our new apartment:

We met the neighbors last Friday night.  They are wonderful people and since there were eight of us, but only three could speak English, it was like a Pictionary Party! We were acting out what we were trying to say, exchanging phones with poorly-contructed Google Translate phrases, and laughing and laughing.  It was so wonderful of the Christensen's to include us so that we would move in knowing them.  The wives are going to teach me how to make pierogi and Kaaren, one of the husbands, is going to teach me how to make homemade sausage.  None of that store-bought stuff for us! ;-)

Pierogi z cebulkÄ….jpg

We finally got set up to live here!  On Saturday we went to Izmaylava Market, a famous market in Moscow.  We got hats, gloves, and ear muffs.  All around us snow is melting (creating very muddy streets which are ALWAYS being cleaned by SOMEONE!), so we may not need everything we got immediately.  However, it will snow again tomorrow, so by our measurements, spring is nowhere to be found.

     Izmaylava Market--Outside

Image result for izmaylovo market moscow russia   Ismaylava Market-Inside

This is just one example of what we could have bought at the market! So many crafts, clothing, souvenirs, and treats available!  We were there for warm clothes and figured that we have 16 1/2 more months to decide exactly what needs to be taken home.  Our friends are going home and have shipped four boxes, sent multiple suitcases with others, and are still traveling home with about seven suitcases, so clearly there are things to buy.

We made a new friend who lives in our building.  She talked to us first!  (I know what you're thinking!)  She has her own English-teaching enterprise going on and has students from around Mitino.  She's so cute and studied linguistics at university.  She travels and writes children's books about culture as well as teaches English.  So she loves talking to us about what she is doing and she is very curious about what we are doing here today. She is going to Sri Lanka tomorrow for two weeks, so we will not be living here when she returns.  But she will come over to see us and wants to show us parts of the city we haven't seen yet.  We put in our request for going places that do not require a forced march!  We have been walking at least two miles a day, every day, which is good, but takes a toll.  By the weekend, which is when all the excursions are planned, we are ready to rest and everyone else is ready to run! In our new place, the Metro and the shops are very close by, so we will likely walk and hurt less.

We are being warmly welcomed by our Russian Ward.  The young volunteers interpret the lessons and talks for us and the people are smiling at us, now that we've been there for three weeks. One babushka loves to run up to me and give me the warmest and most loving hugs! It's amazing.  We cannot speak to each other, but she loves me (for some odd reason!).  She just loves giving me hugs. So nice.  Reminds me of the loving and warm welcome we received in Canterbury 21 years ago.  How we miss our English friends! But we are gaining Russian friends! Who could blame us for being here?

Family at Home News:
Our little Hannah has started smiling! She is so cute and her parents put up pictures and videos on Instagram. Mark has had croup, Lauren was in the hospital for a couple of days but is better now, Janna bought a car and is getting her license, Jeremy got his licence too. Michelle and Rachael are coming for Christmas. Scott moved to Montana to be an Assistant Athletic Director at the University of Montana.  Cora turned 6! Ben and Lori might build a house near where they live in Kansas.  April is in her last semester of her USU MBA program and will graduate in May.  Our granddaughter, Abby, and I talk almost every day on Hangouts, either right when she gets up before school or when she comes home.  That and Google Chat and FaceTime are helping us keep in touch with those we love.  If you want to do any of those, we'd love to hear from you!

We have to leave the country in order for the Russian Embassy to process a 3-year visa for us, so we are going to Riga, Latvia, in March for ten days.  That should be very interesting.

Image result for riga latvia

In June we will travel to Georgia for a religious freedom law conference.  That should also be very interesting.
Image result for tbilisi georgia

This is our last open blog post and I just want to say one last thing for Russ and me:

While we are having fun here, we are here for a very serious reason.  We are using the talents Heavenly Father let us gain to serve Him and others to help make this area of the world happier.  We miss our children and grandchildren and dear friends tremendously, but are focussing our thoughts and energy on serving in the best way we know how.  We love you tons and we will talk to you more on the other side of this blog now that it will become private.

Love Always, Eileen & Russ

Monday, February 13, 2017

Saturday, February 4th

We had a great day off yesterday.  We were not needed in the office, got to sleep in, go to the Vegas Mall to meet our friends, the Hansen's, who we came to Russia with. They are so great--happy to be here on their 2nd mission after an 18-month stint in Japan, cheerful, adaptive, and eager to learn everything they can here.  We love them!

Then we went to the home store and bought a mini-crock pot. We just need to be able to come home to a hot meal without having to cook at the end of the day.  Otherwise, cereal is just fine for dinner!

We went to the Bolshoi Theater today.  Sister Brown and Sister Buss accompanied us on the Metro.  They are great!

We went to see "La Traviata," an Italian opera by Verdi, based on the true story of a woman in Paris and her lover.  The music was beautiful.  The theater was beautiful.  The building is beautiful.  The conductor, Tugan Sokhiev, was as entertaining to watch as the actors on the stage.  He was completely immersed in the music, so expressive, and clearly loves what he is doing. Inspiring!

Then Pavel, our new friend here, drove us around in his car.  We drove by Red Square and the famous church there, the Kremlin, other churches, the Moscow River (which is frozen by our house and not as frozen down river), mega-office buildings, and home again.  It was great to see so much of Moscow.

I want to introduce you also to Thom and Kathryn Christensen.  Thom is training me to take over his legal projects and Kathryn has MADE our move so smooth and easy! She is amazing!

Monday, February 13th

Hi Everyone!

I know, it's been a long time since I have updated this.  We have run into a bit of a snag here in that we have been told that our blog has to be private.  :(

I have not ever had good experiences with private blogs b/c I was not able to log in, any passwords I was given did not work, and I never actually saw any postings my friends worked so hard to create. :(

So.....I have so many pictures and things to tell you all.....but.......I guess we will comply with the requirements and try to figure out how to make this private.  I will likely have time to do that in the next couple of days.  In the meantime, we are enjoying our time here.  Our work is proceeding.  I have inherited a complete caseload of legal cases, so I am running to keep up. Russ' load is building; he has 14 appointments this week and more coming every day it seems.

I will probably post on Facebook and invitation to join this blog as a private one.  You can email me at: to tell me that you want to join (Or whatever it is a person has to do) and I will make sure you are on the list, or added, or pixie dust sent your way so you miraculously see the blog!).

Or you can just choose to see what we put on Facebook.  We are pretty limited in any case as to what is said, how many details are provided, and certainly the tone.  So everything you see and read will be positive and happy!! That will be true, even if the nuanced details are not provided.

Just know that we love you and are praying for you and yours and hope that you will pray for us and ours!

Love, Eileen & Russ xoxox

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Thursday, February 2nd

What a week we have had on the Metro!  I already described the first two adventures.  Yesterday we needed to go to the Russia Mission Home in NW Kragnogorsk by going on the blue line to the end station.  So we left the office early, walked across the street to get on the bus to take us down to the Vegas Mall, and proceeded to drive a completely different direction!  The bus went past the grocery store, over the freeway, and then turned left to get on the freeway! We thought it was going to make a U-turn and drive 1500 feet down the hill to the Mall. All the while I am texting the senior couple at the mission home waiting for us to let them know that we are on a runaway bus and have no idea where it is going!

So we hopped off the bus, crossed under the street to the other side, to look for a bus or taxi to take us where we were meant to be.  We saw this beautiful church, one of just many beautiful churches here:

Then Russ ordered an Uber car to drive us or we were going to be very late!  While we were on the freeway, we saw our apartment in the YE'S building from the freeway:

So we got to the mission home, learned all about visas, trips out of Russia to renew our 90-day visa in late March, and all things immigration and legal.  And you would THINK that that would be enough drama for one day, right??  NO NO NO NONO!!!

We went to the Christensen's for dinner and got off at the Metro stop where I was sure that they lived.  Called and texted them several times, but could not see anything that looked familiar from the one other time we were there.  Finally on our 3rd call, Thom asked me what Metro stop we were at.  Well, of course, we were at Strogino where I was sure that they lived.  NO NO NO NO!!! Don't make up addresses, Eileen!!  They actually live two Metro stops down the road and we are miles from them!! Appears that I can post the Metro map for you readers, BUT NOT READ IT MYSELF!!!!

We are going to move to this apartment in three weeks, so it would be good to know where it is!  We are going to live through this adventure; we are.  And when we come home, we are going to lock ourselves in our house and never go anywhere ever again!!!!  Well, maybe Russ is going to lock ME into the house and never rely on my directions again!! Either way......... :)

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Wednesday, February 1st 

First Day in the Office, lunch at a Georgian Restaurant in the Vegas Mall:

Our new friends: Arlen Woffinden, Boyce Fitzgerald, Joseph Brubaker, Tom & Kathryn Christensen, Olga Babushkova, Mark & Barb Taylor and us.

So today is like the fourth day in the office and it's already been wild!!

The Moscow Metro is amazing!!
beautiful moscow metro stations (1)

  beautiful moscow metro stations (19)   

It is clean, efficient, and the trains come frequently.  Good thing--we've gone one station too far on our way to work now two days in a row! But for different reasons.  Yesterday I forgot that we were supposed to get off because I was thinking of the station by the apartment we will move to at the end of the month.  Today we could NOT get through the absolute SEA of people!!!  So we went to the next stop, crossed the platform, and returned to the correct station.

Last week we tried to use Uber to get around.  We met really nice drivers, but because we can't read Russian, we often can't figure out where the drivers are.  Apparently they come to a RANGE, not a spot, like a taxi.  So we have to follow the app to figure out which of the mud-encrusted license plates is connected to the car that is meant to pick us up!

We work in a building with a Lenovo sign on it on one side, on the other.  On the 10th floor.  Russ got his own office on Monday with a view of the grocery store (a friend calls it K-Mart on steriods!).

My view is of the Moscow River (now frozen), government buildings and an indoor ski lift. Check it out:

Last night we were introduced at Senior Council to our new friends, about 8 other senior couples, who live all around Moscow.  I made up a fun crossword puzzle which had these clues:

Oakley/Small town south of Burley, ID
Oakland/City across the SF Bay
Children/Eight is Enough
BYU/Best university
FamilyTherapy/Helping related people in groups
Law/System of rules to regulate people and their actions
England/Birthplace of many of the first members of the Church
Canterbury/Family favorite place to live
Ireland/Blarney Stone
Russia/Many volunteers working here
Mustang/Best car in the world
Flowers/Gift from Heavenly Father to make us happy

Afterwards we all went down to the Vegas Mall for dinner.  The Vegas Mall is a trip.  It has sections that resemble Vegas, NYC, and other US places.  An ice rink and Rockefeller Center theme was in the part where we ate together. 

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We hope everyone is well and happy! Miss you! xxx