It feels like a lifetime ago.
According to my calendar, it was the 20th of October when I boarded a plane to head into this dream. Today is only November 17th, so it must be less than a month.
So much has happened. The new job, the new students, the new food, the new constant walking, the new transportation, the new church friends, the new language.... the renewed sense that I am where I am supposed to be doing what I am supposed to be doing.
Not that I wasn't before. But before I wouldn't have expected this to be on the list of things I should do. Wanted to do, yes, but should? No. Yet here I am walking around this museum-city at perfect peace.
I have made many interesting new friends. Kellie, my flatmate, for example. A young woman who has traveled the world and says of her next destination, "God will let me know when and where." I admire that faith and hope to live it, also. We laugh at our inabilities and our successes together. We share our hopes and keep each other optimistic. It's so nice of God to give me a friend like her to keep me balanced and looking forward.
Then there is Sheri. Quiet, calm, constant also a good laughing friend. Answering my endless questions. Taking me hither and yon for this and that. Welcoming me into her home like family. And her family, of it's own right, are new friends, also. Anthony, her son, with all of his crazy stories and songs. Makes it easier to not see my angelbabies all the time. He pulls me into his world glad to have another set of listening ears. Robert, her husband, also quick to answer a thousand questions and offer sound advice. It seems wherever my life lands I find a family to adopt me. I guess it's their turn.
Almira, my twin from another country. We have only spent a few short hours together and yet our friendship feels like years. The same sense of humor, the same perspectives, the same wanting to learn from the world runs parallel in our hearts. Only God does that kind of thing.
My co-workers, also, especially Natalie with whom I share a classroom and a burden for these children set in our path. She is beautiful, strong, intelligent and driven to do more. Beside working full-time (and then some) she is taking classes at the university to further her education. She remembers everything and I can't imagine how. I am learning so much from her about Russian culture alone and blended cultures, also. I hope some day I can balance plates with that kind of grace.
I have been to Red Square now several times. It seems it's everyone's favorite place - not just mine. Here are some of my favorite pictures from time spent there.