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 cebulką.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

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